The new year has been ushered in and for some of us, it is an opportunity to hit the reset button. When I talk to clients about organizing their photos, my primary mission is preserving their family memories not just for the current need, but for generations. So to kick off the new year, here is my best advice for hitting the reset button to preserve your family's memories for generations:
1. Organize Forward. A few years ago, I introduced the concept of 'organizing forward', which basically suggests that instead of focusing on your entire mess of beautiful memories, set up a process to manage your photos starting now and going forward. This might be contrary to what you think my advice might be, but stay with me. Once you have accomplished this, it gives you confidence. It also gives you a "system" to work within. Tackling a lifetime of photos can be overwhelming and taking it in pieces is the best way to be successful.
2. Get all of your digital photos into one place. Most people have photos on phones, computers, DVDs, external hard drives, flashdrives, old phones, old computers, etc. You get the picture (haha). It is impossible to manage a collection, let alone do anything awesome with it, if you can't find your pictures.
3. Backup, backup, backup (I'm seriously a broken record on this topic). 80% of you have photos at risk, particularly if you haven't accomplished #2. The best thing you can do for your peace of mind is to get backup in place. There are several ways to accomplish this. I'm all for easy, so my backup of choice is one where I have to do NOTHING. I use a company called Backblaze to automatically backup my computer whenever it's on and connected to the internet. There are several other backup options, as well, please choose one!
4. Scan your favorite printed photos. Backup is equally important for your printed photos, but it's different and in the short-term, a bit of work. I recommend choosing your favorites (not all of them...that's more work) and getting them scanned. The future is digital and our kids prefer it.
5. Stop putting off transferring your old VCR tapes, slides and film reels. I know it is an investment in both time and money. I TOTALLY get that. However, my concern is that if we wait too long, the quality and the ability to transfer those memories will be lost. Start with just a few and work from there. Hearing those voices and seeing those live movements is magical.
While it sounds a little alarmist, preserving history for future generations is currently at risk. Because no one prints pictures anymore, eventually, there will be no boxes of family memories discovered in attics and basements. We need to do a better job taking care of the trillion photos we are currently taking, as well as those that our ancestors took (oh...and deleting some of those trillions...but that's another blog).
Your families memories matter. They connect you. They strengthen your family bonds. #memoriestouchhearts
Happy New Year!