This is a topic so big that I’ve seen entire classes built upon it, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there are books. “How do you organize and store your photos?” is a HUGE question!
The short answer is: you should use whatever system will work for you! Right now my photos are well, a mess. But I know what I want to do and it is this:
- Have photos organized/grouped by approximate year
- Throw away all the nonsense prints (blurry, duplicate, etc) that are taking up tons of room
- Have “to scrapbook” photos set by topic/date in smaller more specific containers
In short, I want to make this incredibly simple and I do not particularly care if within a given year/time period photos are in order or all together by event. I want to have a lot LESS photos of some time periods where I seriously over-printed! I will share a little bit more about what I am doing, but first let me disclose that this is NOT “the best” way to do this, nor do I think everyone should go about it this way. This is what I know will work for me, and in case it works for someone else, I’m sharing.
Huge tip: break this down by SMALL pieces. I simply got my photos “to scrapbook” broken down in general ways today. Next week I will get more specific. The week after that I will tackle ONE photo box in storage, etc. BREAK IT DOWN! If I get overwhelmed, I quit! So I definitely don’t want to do that.
- When I get a few months worth (or a big trip) of photos I place an order usually 4×6, occasionally 3 1/2 x 5 from persnicketyprints.com. I do not trust technology to save my digital photos – so if I WANT a picture… I print it.
- These photos then either get put right into albums, or into small photo storage containers (like above). Once I’ve scrapbooked a subject IN THEORY… any leftover prints need to move to the permanent/photo storage area of closet. I say in theory because welll… it doesn’t always happen that way. This is a VITAL part of my process because it removes photos from my “what shall I scrapbook today?” area.
In other words, things that go into deep photo storage generally stay there! The good news is that because of my system of filling photo storage boxes most of the pictures I have stored are pretty much in order – within a year or two at worst. I don’t intend to label, micro organize, or sort those deep past pictures either. Just clear out the junk, and have them sorted nicely enough that someone could go looking for a vague time/place easily.
The pictures I’ve shared so far here today are of my “to scrapbook” piles that have really built up over the last few years. My immediate goal is these photos, and dividing up what stories I have, and which I want to tell. I am testing out writing some dates/labels on small photo storage containers to help when I have BIG batches of photos or want to generally see what I’m grabbing for… but obviously if I scrapbook a lot of them then the label becomes obsolete. I can cross it out easily, or label over, or change year… we will see.
For me when it comes to organization there is one rule: it must be simple. Being overly fussy or detailed will only ensure I fail! I do when I have a specific album or project for photos put sticky notes or otherwise divide those by story… but that’s another organization topic for another day!
If you’ve got storage or re-organization tips for photos please DO share here! Starting this project is a huge undertaking and is overwhelming! So I would love your best tips and thoughts.