Hello Everyone, Angie from Architecturally Organized here.  

Did you know that September is National Save your Photos Month?

How often do you sort through your photos and save them?  I do not do this enough and figure I need to get a better system in gear.  My current system …. Would consist of me taking a ton of photos on my phone or my “good” camera – printing out the pics I want – and then uploading them all to Amazon Photos.  Sometimes I will put them into albums….but that’s about it… I should be ashamed of myself lol.

I have a few old photos from when I was little… and some from before my time… pics of my grandfather and my nunny that I would like to preserve. I would be devastated if I lost them in a flood/fire/natural disaster.  Figure – I try to organize everything else around me.. Why haven’t I completed organizing my photos??  I don’t know the answer to that.  But since It is “Save your Photos Month” I figured now is as good of a time as any to try and sort through, organize, and back up my hard copy and digital photos!! Join along!!

My first steps…
Finding any and all albums and removing the photos.  I will sort these photos into a few different piles.  

The first pile – which hopefully is the largest – is my TOSS Pile. Any blurry photos or duplicate photos I have will go in this pile.  Any Photos that I look at for more than a second and really have to sit and think about what was special about the photo – it goes in the Toss pile.  Now my Toss pile is a 2 part pile – because as I am sorting through the duplicates – if there are pictures of friends/family who I think would love to have the picture – I will set it aside for them.

The second pile  – This pile is going to be the Best photos out of the Albums.  These are the photos that went into that album with loving care.  These are the photos that I would be extremely sad if I lost them.  These are the photos that I need to make sure I scan to archive them!!!!  

This second pile I will have a hard time with.  I take way too many photos.  I take even more scenic photos when we go on trips.  This is where I need to learn to knock it off, and really just to keep the best scenic shot, not all 150 of them!!  You do not need 300 photos of the Gulf of Maine!!!!!

The third pile – These are for the photos that aren’t trash… but they are not your absolute favorite either, yet you can’t bear to toss them.  These are photos that help support your second pile memories.  These photos probably won’t get scanned in for archiving.

The fourth Pile is for leftover photos that, well it may not be of a specific friend or family member or family vacation – but it is a memory from a moment in time that leaves you laughing (or crying) at the thought of it.  These are odd photos that have a lot of meaning behind them.  These are photos that we will scan and archive!!

The fifth pile  – welcome to the unknown!!! This is the fun pile….  These are the photos of friends or family that you have no idea who it is.   That sounds horrible, but in all seriousness – in life you end up with photos of the unknown. So what do you do? You take some time to visit your mom and/or dad.. Your siblings… your grandparents or great aunt.. And  go through the photos with them.  They may remember that photo – and say o ya, that is a picture of your older cousin Joey when he was a baby.  Take a walk down memory lane!!

The next steps..
Making the piles is mostly the easy part.  The next steps are a bit more laborious…. and time consuming…. and thought inducing… Now we scan and Organize!!!

Scanning – now if you have a scanner, you can do this yourself (like I said – Laborious and time consuming!!!) or you can send them out to have them scanned (FYI Architecturally Organized performs this service). When scanning make sure you wipe away any dust or debri that might be on the photo.  Now is also the time to understand how you will be organizing the photos so that you can save the document correctly.

Should you organize them by date? By Theme? By family? There are numerous ways that you can save the files, the key is finding the best way that works for you.  I like to save them in chronological order.  Now sometimes I will just have the date of the year for a group of photos and sometimes I will have months and days too – I try not to get too picky about it so long as I have them within the right year.  A bonus of doing it chronologically is that it creates a timeline of you and your family’s life.

Organizing via events is easier sometimes as all the christmas photos are in a pile, it is often easier to identify the photos and tagging them and using keywords are easier as well.  Tagging and keywords… that is a BIG thing here.  Try to save as much information to the photo as you can: Dates, Names, Locations, etc.  You want to make these photos easy to find and search for when looking for them!

So what do I do with all the hard copy photos? You can put them back in an album or put them in a box made for photos.  And you make sure to back up all of your digital photos (be it the cloud or a hard drive). Lastly – you make it a habit!! If you do it on a regular basis you won’t be blasted with a ton of pictures to organize and it will make it easier!!

By organizing your photos you are helping yourself and your family out for the future.  Think of all the great photo gifts you can send out, think of the future when your great grandkids are looking through albums and they will know who they are looking at because the photos are so well documented – OK I know I am getting a little cheesy here – but come on.. It’s true!

I hope this was helpful!

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