You’re so busy with life’s daily demands that downloading your camera’s memory card is a cause for celebration. Sound familiar? These hectic times make it all to easy to push family memory keeping to the back burner.
Fortunately, there are small steps anyone can take to grab the reigns on a disheveled photo library. Use these tips to prioritize your energy and build momentum for new routines in memory keeping.
1. Make a list. While most everyone is using digital cameras these days, all but the youngest family photographers have traditional film prints and even negatives hanging around. Roughly inventory your entire photo library to get the lay of the land.
2. Download, now. If you found that some of your images are still living on photo memory cards, change that right now. Start a habit of downloading your photos within 24 hours of snapping the pic so there is no burdensome backlog.
3. Don’t overthink. There are an endless array of software solutions for photo organization and storage, but not everyone needs them or has the time to leverage their capabilities. Start with a simple folder system before jumping into complex applications.
4. Skim the surface. When you have a lot of photos to sort, don’t focus on the details such as tagging each image. Think about the big picture and work at that level of get things in a baseline sense of order. You can always come back later to add tags or sub-folders.
5. Start labeling. It’s often easiest to work backward. Start with your most recent digital folder and decide on a labeling scheme. Use both the date and the event title in a folder for easy retrieval later.
6. Multitask. Scanning can seem like such a repetitive chore. Set up your laptop and scanner on a card table in the living room so you can stay entertained while making progress.
7. Backup. Every hard drive will eventually fail. Keep your images in at least 2, preferably 3, locations to ensure their safety. Remember that offsite storage, whether at your office, out of town, or online will add a layer of protection.
8. Be patient. A lifetime of memories cannot be organized overnight. Consider your effort a work in progress and be OK with that. Work in blocks of 15 or 30 minutes to feel the most accomplished.
Organizing your photos need not be a monumental task. Just getting started will help you feel in control and reduce your memory-keeping anxiety. Stay focused and keep it simple to find more time for what you love.
This post previously appeared on Complete Organizing Solutions.