6 Tips to Organize and Protect a Lifetime of Photos

Are all of your photos from last year’s Thanksgiving dinner still sitting in the same desktop folder as last summer’s vacation photos? Do you have a box full of family photos waiting to be displayed in a photo album? It’s time to get organized! And there’s no better time than now to do it. While the task may seem daunting, we gathered a few top tips on how to organize those precious memories.

1. Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Organizing a lifetime of photos can be overwhelming. Start small and work your way through. Take it one step at a time. Your family will appreciate your efforts to keep your family memories alive…and organized!

2. Choose the Right Album/Photo Storage Box
  • When choosing the right album, stay away from plastic or plastic coverings as they can ruin easily and fall apart with use.  
  • Make sure your albums/photo storage is acid free and safe for photos.
  • Invest in a set of matching photo albums and photo boxes. This will make it easy to organize your photos over the years. 

3. Enlarge your Special Moments
Enlarge photos that put a smile on your face. Cherish those moments and make them the focal point of your album. If you plan to hang and frame them, try to place them on a wall that won't get the direct sunlight, which fades photos quickly. You can use blinds and draperies to control the light.

4. Not Every Photo has To Be The Same
When you get photographs printed, you may find that some photos are bigger than others. This will make your album look diverse and full of memories that have all made up pieces of your life. 

5. Protect Your Photos
  • Avoid storing photos in basements or attics, where temperatures and humidity fluctuate. Keep photos and photo albums away from sunlight in a cool, dry area.
  • Glue, paper clips, rubber bands and tape should not be used on photos unless they are marked photo safe.
  • Check labels on anything you use to store photos. Make sure your photo album pages, storage boxes, plastic bags, photo matte material are acid-free to avoid permanently damage photos. 
  • Don’t use glue. Instead, use sticky backed photo sleeves. This enables you to stick your photos in place, but they can easily be removed so you won’t damage the photograph if you ever move on to a new or bigger album in the future.
6. Digital Photo Storage/Organization
In our digital age, where so many moments are captured by the convenience of our handy smart phones, we can create an avalanche of photos and the task of organizing them can seem never ending. The best way to tackle and conquer is to create a system and follow it.  Here are a few quick steps.

Download. Set aside a time each month to download photos from your camera and/or phone to your computer. Send the images directly into a photo management program like iPhoto, Windows Live Photo Gallery or Google’s Picasa.

Review. Review the photos you've downloaded on screen, deleting duplicate and poor-quality shots. 

Create Folders. Organize your photos either chronologically or by them and then create named folders.

Back Up. Experts recommend using at least two of the following methods: an external drive, an online storage service or prints.