Your pictures and memories are precious to you, but they still aren’t organized. In this post I’ll explain why and I’ll help you fix it.
If you remember how to dial a telephone, you likely have at least 30 years of photo memories in your possession. You may also have slides, videotapes and old home movies as well. Not to mention 20 years of digital photos.
I’ve been helping people manage their pictures and memories for 20 years, and I’ve seen some people make great progress. I’ve also noticed some people don’t make that great progress, and there are a few common reasons for that.
In this article, I’ve broken down why I think you haven’t organized your photos yet, and also, what you can do to fix it.
You haven’t committed the time
It took your photos many years to get into their current condition and situation. It won’t take nearly as long to get them organized, but it will take time. Deep down you probably know that and are overwhelmed by that whole idea.
Most people ignore their pictures and memories for many years. Some people make a conscious decision to permanently ignore them and figure their kids can handle them once they are gone. Problem solved, they think.
But it’s not solved. It’s just delayed, passed on. The truth of the matter is that your children are likely to toss boxes of disorganized photos and mementos. It happens every day, and there are a few scientific reasons for it.
- Your children are in a different stage of life than you are, and their nostalgia is naturally lower.
- They grew up in a different time period than you did, and they don’t tend to value physical items in the same way.
- When you’re gone, your children will be grieving your loss at the same time they will be dealing with your property. They simply may not have the emotional bandwidth, nor the time, given their other responsibilities, to deal with anything that would require that much more work.
It’s not that your children don’t care about the memories. I truly believe that they do. There are in a different biological and psychosocial stage of life than you are. Getting your pictures and memories organized now would be a supreme act of love.
How can you fix this?
If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you don’t want to leave a photo mess for your children or next of kin. You want to get your pictures and memories organized, and you’re looking for help.
If you really don’t have the time to organize your pictures and memories, you can hire me or another professional photo manager. And let me repeat – it is an act of love to create a meaningful collection to leave for future generations.
If you’d rather DIY your photo management, you don’t have to commit your whole life to it. Small bits of time scheduled regularly will still give you the progress you want and need.
I have created a free Getting Started Checklist to help you with the first steps of getting started. You can download that Checklist here.
You don’t have a plan
You may have the desire to get your photo memories organized, but you don’t have an action plan.
Most people confuse the sheer number of items, or the large number of photo formats, with the complexity of the project. Yes, you may have printed photos, digital photos, slides, old home movies, videotapes and memorabilia, but that does not make the plan more complex. Those are just variables that will be handled within the plan. But this confusion can lead to overwhelm, which can then lead to paralysis.
A plan acts as a roadmap that you can use to guide you on this journey of photo management. To make that plan, you will need to make some decisions. But you may feel you don’t have enough information or knowledge to make those decisions, or the best decisions, or the right decisions.
How can you fix this?
I like to break the process down into 6 easy steps:
1. Set your Goals
Every good project management process starts with envisioning the end goal (or goals). This gives us a direction in which to head. It’s kind of like knowing where you are going on vacation. You know where you want to go, and then you make a plan to get there. And after that you figure out the details – where you’re going to stay, eat, shop, visit, etc.
2. Choose Your Digital Photo Hub
Your Digital Photo Hub is where ALL your digitized photo memories will live. This includes scanned photos, videos, heritage documents and more. It will be organized and easy to search (but don’t get ahead of yourself – that comes later). For now, you need to decide where it is going to live.
3. Choose Your Backup System
The Photo Managers and others in Digital Asset Management recommend a 3-2-1 Backup System. What this means is that you should have 3 copies of your data. The original set is the first copy (your Digital Photo Hub), and then there should be two identical copies to that. One of them can be in the same location (e.g. your home), but on another drive or device. The third copy should be kept offsite in case something happens to your home, and it takes out both of the copies there.
4. Take an Inventory
Once you have completed the above-steps, you are ready to take an inventory of your pictures and memories. I like to break everything up into these 4 categories:
- All your printed photos
- All your digital photo photos & videos
- All your recorded memories (think VHS, cassette tapes, etc.)
- All your keepsakes (certificates, trophies, kids’ artwork, etc.)
5. Choose Where to Start
Now it’s time to choose which category to start with. Best practice teaches starting with the digital photos when organizing family pictures. But you may have reasons to start with your printed photos or memorabilia.
6. Commit Your Time and Space
The last and most important step is to commit to the process of organizing family pictures. This means committing your time and your space to working on this project.
If you feel you don’t have enough information or knowledge to make those decisions, I have a 20-page Guide that can help.
You keep getting stuck and stopping
So many people reach out to me and tell me that they started and stopped so many times over the years. Sometimes it’s because the commitment died out, or because they got stuck on a question they had and didn’t know who to ask. Sometimes life got in the way, and then it was too hard to get back to it.
But then they realize that the road ahead is much shorter than the road behind. And they realize they must do it, and they must do it now. So the determination is often there, but the knowledge may still have gaps, especially with the speed of technological change these days.
How can you fix this?
Many people looking for help have found me on the internet (maybe you, too?). I have found myself answering the same questions over and over. I’ve done my best to answer as many of the questions as I can on my blog.
But I’ve realized, especially when it comes to technology, many people can’t quite figure it out from reading. What they need is someone to teach them exactly how to do something.
And this is why I founded The Family Photo Keeper Academy. The Academy is a low-cost, subscription-based, membership learning community. It’s filled with people just like you, family photo keepers with a lifetime of old family photos containing precious memories. The Academy will take you from photo memory chaos in boxes and bins to an organized collection that will bring you peace and joy.
It’s a place where you can learn how to manage your memories, at your own pace, in a like-minded community. No more trying to figure this out on your own, or thinking you already should know how to do it.
In the Academy, you’ll learn how to manage all your memories – no matter the format – with easy-to-follow tutorials, proven systems and expert advice. Plus, you’ll have access to professional support whenever you’re stuck.
You can learn more about the Academy here.
What’s next for your pictures and memories?
I’m sure after reading this article you can see why you may not be getting your photos organized. Hopefully, now you have some ideas on what you can do to tackle your collection once and for all.
If you’d like to discuss your pictures and memories with me, book a free, non-salesy call. I’d love to find out what you have and what you are struggling with so we can get you on the road to success.