Now that it’s getting colder, it’s time to start tackling that list of indoor projects. And what better project could you do on a snowy day than sort through old photos and create albums and collections? It may seem like a daunting task, but with a few easy steps, you’ll find organizing your photos is not so bad.
The Photo Organization Process
So pull out the Swiss Miss, those shoe boxes of pictures, and get ready to do the preparation needed to digitize old photos. Here are a few steps to make organizing and digitizing photos a breeze.
Step 1: Gather Up Photos
Visit the attic, the basement, the storage unit, the closets, under the bed, and unpack your grandmother’s trunk. You know there are hoards of photos in all those places, and gathering them up is the first step to digitize photos. When it comes to digitizing photos, this is often the longest part of the process!
Step 2: Create Goals for Your Photo Collection
This may sound more complicated than it is, but you need to figure out what you want to achieve once you have digitized photos in one convenient place. Create an organization system, which you can easily achieve by asking yourself a few questions:
What do you ultimately want to do with your photos? Create albums, showcase them?
If you plan on printing photos, other than an online storage system, where do you want to store albums or boxes of pictures? Where will you enjoy them most?
This can help determine what kind of storage you want them in and help you create piles. For example, photos of the whole family in books in the living room, landscape portraits to be printed and framed in bedrooms, or generations of family photos to be framed in the hall. If you plan on printing your digitized photos, figure out where you’ll enjoy them most and separate accordingly for easy retrieval.
Is your goal simply to preserve and protect by digitizing photos?
If so, you may not need to do tons of sorting! Just ship them to a photo scanning service, and you’ve successfully preserved and protected memories for generations to come! You don’t even have to move onto step 3, which is…
Step 3: Create a Sorting Scheme(s)
Once you know what you want to do with photos after digitizing them and storing them electronically, narrow down how you want them divided up wherever you’ll be keeping them. Even if you’re storing them only online and electronically, you can further create a manageable system.
Try a “loose” chronological system.
Sometimes sorting chronologically gets tedious, so instead of sorting by years or months, focus on decades, seasons, or holidays. If you want to stick to a tighter yet easier chronological system, sort by person using baby and childhood years, teens, 20’s or college years, and then moving onto big life events like the first ten years of marriage.
Sort by events.
If you don’t have a large family, break down chronologically by events and celebrations, or use this as your main system. Think weddings, holidays, vacations, or places lived.
Sort according to who you want to share photos with.
If you plan giving printed photos to friends or family or on DVD’s or online albums, sort according to what photos you’re giving away, to whom, and which ones you’re keeping for yourself.
Preserve Your Memories
Whatever you plan on doing with photos, just remember that the first step is preserving them by getting old photos digitized. If you lose all of your pictures, you won’t have anything to sort through, a much bigger problem than deciding on what to print and where you’ll store it.