I wouldn’t consider myself a minimalist, but I’ve discovered that too much “stuff” and clutter makes me anxious. This realization came to me a few years ago when we moved out of a large home into a much smaller, temporary rental in preparation for a major move across country. I had to let go and get rid of a LOT of stuff. And the more I tossed or donated, the lighter and freer I felt.
When I started to downsize and purge, I started to appreciate more the things I chose to keep. I felt lighter and dare I say happier with cupboards, closets and drawers that weren’t stuffed with things I rarely used. I have a love of kitchen gadgets, but once I got rid of the duplicates, worn out or rarely used things in my kitchen drawers, it became so much easier to find things when I needed them. And I actually looked forward to making meals in my kitchen.
Can you Relate?
You might be wondering just how sharing these insights about myself has anything at all to do with photos. Well, these same feelings and principles hold true for my photo collection. Having photos everywhere and in all sorts of formats both physical and digital makes me feel overwhelmed and anxious. Can you relate? Unorganized photos prevented me from doing anything with them. My scrapbooking and album making slowed and stopped when I quit printing photos. I embraced digital books early on, but not having an organizing system for the digital files made even creating the annual Christmas letter a chore.
Our two big moves in two years really pushed me to address my own photo overwhelm and look for the best photo storage solutions available. In that same timeframe, I retired from my full-time corporate career. I turned my passion and “side-hustle” into a business. While working full time and sharing my love of photos and memory keeping in my “spare” time, I focused on sharing and teaching digital scapbooking. I recognized a common theme with my family, friends and clients. They all loved the IDEA of books, albums, photo gifts, personalized cards, etc. But one major factor holding many of them back from creating these priceless treasures and truly enjoying and celebrating their memories was a sense of overwhelm. Before they could embrace story telling and photo projects, they wanted and needed to feel in control of their photos.
Before they could embrace story telling and photo projects, they wanted and needed to feel in control of their photos.
I knew what I needed to do. First, I had to find a place for my own photos that I had complete confidence in. Second, I had to have a process and a system that I could teach others. I knew that some would choose to hire me to do the work, but others would choose to do it themselves. They needed a photo coach and a “helper”. A business and a brand was born – Your Photo Helper.
Where to start
As with almost any project, getting started is often the hardest step. But having an end in mind, a vision of what I wanted my photo collection to look like was the first step. I thought about where I wanted my photos to live, how I wanted to search and find files. And I considered how I wanted to be able to share files and ultimately how I would pass my collection on to future generations. Creating a plan, considering all these things before touching a single photo will save you time and frustration.
A Wish-list for My Photo Storage Solutions
- Downsize my physical photos and memorabilia – keep only the best and most important photos. I knew that if I left the mess, most photos and other things would end up in the trash.
- Find archival storage containers for my photos, albums, negatives that I did decide to keep
- Get all my physical photos, slides, negatives, video, audio digitized so that they are protected from natural disasters beyond my control like flood, fire, tornado, etc.
- Store digital photos and files in a safe, secure, private online/cloud storage account that I do not have to rent (pay a monthly fee to keep access to the data stored there)
- Photos need to be accessible from whatever device I’m using – phone, computer, ipad
- Files need to be easy to share with friends and family if I choose to
- Easy to search and find specific photos quickly
- Automatically snyc and send new photos I take on my phone to my cloud storage. Must work with iphone and android as we are a house divided.
- Preservation options so that I can determine who has access to and what happens to the photos when I pass away; assurance that my photos will last, live and be accessible for generations
- Easy to organize – put in folders, sub-folders, add tags, change dates, and add other information or metadata that is attached and stored with the digital images
- Facial recognition technology to help identify people in my photos more easily
- Design and print interface or software that makes printing photos and creating books and other product with my photos seamless
- Great customer service and support when I have questions
- A guarantee that my photos and videos will always be viewable…even if technology evolves and file formats change. I do not want my grandchildren or great grandchildren to have to re-digitize files. Future generations should not have to invest in new hardware to access the memories. I could not have imagined this as a possibility until I discovered a company that includes this in their promise to their customers!
This is a long and lofty wish list. I have explored and tried many different software and services over the years! As a Certified Pro with The Photo Managers, I have had access to experts and companies blazing the way in the quickly growing and ever-changing area of photo organizing and memory keeping.
The BEST system is the one you will USE!
Let’s face it, there are trade-offs, and you usually have to decide what you’re willing to give up and what you will not compromise on. The absolute most important thing is to choose a photo storage solution, system, and process that works for YOU and to stick with it! Getting and keeping your photos organized is a process that requires commitment, but it can be done in small steps.
Are you curious about what I have chosen for my photo storage solutions? You can click here to see the products I use for my permanent digital photo storage as well as my favorite archival storage boxes for the printed photos that I’ve chosen to keep.
A PLAN is Crucial to create the Best Photo Storage Solutions that work for you.
I want to help you create a plan and think through the options for photo storage solutions, digitization, sharing and more. To do this, I’ve created a free guide that you can download. Thinking about and taking action on these 4 Steps will help you transform your photo chaos by creating a Photo Storage solution that will work for you. You will create a priceless photo legacy for your family and future generations.
If you feel overwhelmed with your current photo storage solution or don’t even know where to start, this guide is for you. Following these steps can take you from overwhelm to joy with your photo organization system. I call my guide 4 Steps from Chaos to Priceless. To learn more and get your copy – click here.
Years ago, I decided that I would be the memory keeper for our family. I did it to leave a legacy for my daughter who would never meet three of her four grandparents. I did it to give her a connection to her past and where she came from. That personal mission has evolved into a business…a dedication, a passion to help other memory keepers and family historians preserve the photos and stories of their families. Don’t let overwhelm prevent you from creating a photo storage solution that helps you feel in control. Once you are confident that your photos are safe, protected and easily accessible it’s so much fun to get creative. Photo books, home decor and photo gifts are priceless treasures to celebrate your memories.
There are lots of ways to connect with me. When you download my Free Guide, you’ll be added to my email list. If you’re on Facebook, like Your Photo Helper business page. Are you looking for a community to support you with your photo challenges? Join my private Facebook group, Debbie’s Photo Helper Group. You can also schedule a call with me through the contact form on the website. I can’t wait to help you transform your photo chaos into a family treasure!