Whether you are new to the world of scrapbooking, memory keeping, documenting, or you have been doing it for years, there is without a doubt a box of printed photos somewhere in the back of a closet in your home.
The thought of that box, at times, makes it on to your to do list, and other times it, sadly, does not.
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Even if the task of actually getting those photos into a book is daunting at the time, an hour on a Sunday afternoon can easily be dedicated to, at the very least, organizing them.
I am happy to share the best tips and tricks for organizing photos that have helped me to make a dent in that pile in the back of the closet.
Organize your Photos by Year, and then Month
I tend to have a handy storage box for each year at a time, and then within that I try to tab out the months. These boxes from Amazon are really pretty too, so I like to be able to display them instead of having them tucked up in a closet.
Sometimes it is as simple as a post-it note to mark off one month, or year, from another.
Organize Photos by a Special Trip or Vacation
We love Disney, and a Disneyland or Walt Disney World Trip absolutely warrants its own scrapbooking session. Having those photos ready to go as a complete package makes for a fun filled scrap retreat.
Organize by Families
Did you inherit a lot of old family photos and aren’t quite sure who everyone is? The parking lot method from The Family Curator, of sorting photos can be a huge help!
This method is a wonderful, step by step guide for how to handle those precious memories. In short, it involves looking through photos until faces become familiar, and then start grouping them into families.
Then label a storage box for each family (or generation of each family) and sort them accordingly.
Digitally Store Copies of Old Photographs
Speaking of not wanting to lose photos, there’s always a risk of that happening with old photos that you only have physical copies of.
Don’t forget to scan old photos to create digital copies.
Pick up an inexpensive flatbed scanner (like this one under $100 from Amazon), if you don't already own one.
Flatbed scanners also can be used to preserve irreplaceable historical documents, such as birth certificates, marriages licenses, a child or grandchild's handprint or drawing, newspaper articles, and cherished letters and deeds, as well as images of a sentimental keepsake like grandma's favorite broach or a great uncle's pocket watch.
Depending on how many photos you have, be aware this process might take a long time.
OR, You might also invest in a multifunction printer, which is usually an inkjet printer, scanner, photocopier and sometimes a fax machine, too — all in one unit.
When scanning the photos facedown, keep in mind the higher the dots per inch (DPI), the better the resolution will be. For example, 300 DPI is OK for photos, but 600 DPI is recommended to ensure you get all the details in your pictures.
Do not forget to scan both the photo AND any handwritten notes on the back.
Once you have them organized, you can create a schedule (i.e. one box per week or month) to get through them.
Securely Store Irreplaceable Old Photos
Once old photographs have been scanned, you can store them in a box that will protect them from air and light – ideally a fire proof box. A fire-proof document bag is also a great space saver!
Some choose to include these in a safe deposit box to ensure that they are preserved for future generations.
Implement a System for Digital Photo Organization
Once photos have been stored on your computer, ensure to organize and name them in a way that makes sense. Tidymom.net has a fail-proof naming system:
Create a folder for each year
Create a folder for each month
Within each month folder, name the files with the month, day and include a description of the photos.
For instance, If it is a picture of little Jake riding a pony at the fair on the 4th of July, name the photo “07042020_JakeRidingPonyatFair”
Organize your Photos on your Device
When it comes to digital copies on your mobile device, if you’re anything like me, you may take a dozen (or two) photos of nearly the same pose to get the picture you want. But there’s no need to keep all of those pictures! Pick your favourite image or two, and delete the rest. The fewer photos you have, the more you’ll appreciate them.
If you’re feeling inundated and don’t know what to do with all those iPhone photos, take heart. You can organize all of them using albums
In Photos, tap the Albums tab, then tap .
Choose to create a New Album or New Shared Album.
Name the album, then tap Save.
Choose the photos you want to add, then tap Done.
To create a shared album, see Share photos with Shared Albums in iCloud.
Scrapbook on the Go, on your Phone
Create the odd quick page with the Project Life App for your iPhone (search for it in the Appstore). This app has revolutionized how we scrapbook and document our days and years. I would commonly create a page while nursing my baby in the wee hours of the night.
Backup, backup, backup
There are many options for backing up photos. Some popular choices include Google Photo Amazon Photo, and DropBox. Choose the one that works best for your storage needs, but do not forget this important step.