Remember when film was expensive, developing photos took weeks and even more money, and no one knew what lignin-free and acid-free meant? Ah, those were the good old days. Even though we always ordered doubles, most of us only had 24 or 36 pictures to organize every now and then.
Don’t believe me? It’s true. You can see how film photography used to work, as explained to modern kids. Two minutes that you need to have in your back pocket, just like the talk about the birds and the bees.
But today we have progress. We have technology. We have a big fat organizing mess when it comes to our photos. Talk about organizing in the age of endless!!!
The Challenge of Organizing Photos in the Modern Age
We are the first generation to cross over from trying to take enough pictures to leave a record of our lives. We are now able to document our entire lives, 24×7 if we wanted. Anyone remember The Truman Show? That was released in 1998, and it seemed far fetched. Now any one of us could easily film our life 24×7 without any specials skills.
You could keep memories of your entire life, but would that be valuable or interesting? The real trick is to edit and curate the very best of our personal collection. That’s what we will pass down to the next generation. Because what are photos, if not our way to remember and tell our story in the future?
How to Organize Photos Almost Painlessly
Instead of thinking of your photos as a single collection, first break it down into physical photos (both recent and older) and digital photos. These linked articles describe how to organize both types of photos. While it may seem like a big job, starting with today’s photos and working backwards in 30-minute increments can get it done.
But it’s worth doing. Have you ever held an old, unmarked photo in your hand and wondered about the story that has been lost? Have you ever wondered who those people are in your grandma’s black and whites? Have you ever seen a color photo from the 1970’s fading away, knowing that it is almost gone forever?
Organized Photos Tell Our Story
Truthfully, the hardest part of organizing photos for many people is just getting through it without stopping to relive every memory. Stay on task, because once you’ve organized your files, you’ll be able to create something really meaningful, whether it’s a collage to display, custom photo gift products, or a quality bound photo book. The photo book continues to be one of the best ways to not only store but also to share a personal story, because we all want to know where we came from, who we are connected to, and why we do the quirky things we do.
Research even suggests that the better a child know his or her family history, the better they do in life from a mental health standpoint. In this linked article on creating family yearbooks, one slick tip can make all the difference with whether you actually finish that baby book or safeguard memories the way you want to for your family. In the end, that family album may be worth more than you think.
Darla DeMorrow is a speaker, author of The Pregnant Entrepreneur, member the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO).
Be sure to visit the entire series of 31 ideas on how to get organized in the new year.