How to Manage Your Photo Backlog

How to manage your photo backlog and give memories the space they deserve.

We love taking pictures, but we never have time to organize them. They're stuffed in boxes, assuming we even had them developed, or just sitting on our hard drives. Here are quick, easy tips that'll help you finish the albums and (yes!) show them off.

SORTING PRINTS

1.  Get boxes, like the ones used for index cards. Each box should have photos for one album. Label with the child's name/year or theme.

2.  Create sub-categories, either by major event (e.g., seventh birthday) or general description (e.g., swimming lessons). Label dividers that came with the box (or, make your own by sticking small Post-Its on index cards).

3.  Insert photos in the appropriate box. Don't be overwhelmed: you can do this little by little (I eventually sorted through two years' worth of photos while watching television).

SORTING DIGITAL PHOTOS

1.  Sort as you go. Create one master folder for photos, with subfolders for each child or major event (e.g., Christmas 2009). Do this each time you upload photos.

2.  Get a photo management software. Try Picasa (download from the Internet). View thumbnails of your albums, use easy photo-editing functions --- crop, render images in sepia or black and white, or diffuse backgrounds. Picasa lets you manipulate pictures but saves under a different file so the original's intact.

3.  Back-up photos in archival-quality DVDs.

ALBUMS

Make sure all albums are acid-free. The cheap albums with sticky backing and peel-back plastic sheets turn your photos yellow. Use those with sleeve inserts.

SCRAPBOOKS

It's a huge trend, but can working moms find the time? Yes --- especially with pre-made embellishments. (It takes just minutes to cut and paste). Some tips:

1. Don't scrapbook everything. Just pick your favorite photos, and focus on making a beautiful page or including heartfelt journaling.

2.  Scraplift. In other words, just copy the layouts in books or on the web.

3.  Buy kits. They come with coordinated papers and embellishments for idiot-proof scrapbooking.

4.  Get kids to help. Then it becomes family bonding time, and develops their creativity, too.

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Shelly Mathis
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Posted on Jun 25, 2011