How to Organize and Archive Family Photos and Videos

Psychologists have been warning us for years that clutter and disorganization can lead to stress and anxiety. Sitting in a messy room can start to make our brains feel messy and chaotic, too.

How does that translate to digital disorganization? And what happens when the clutter we’re concerned about is both digital and physical?

That’s right, we’re talking about all of your family photos. You know, the ones that are tucked away in envelopes in your attic and saved in nonsensical files on your computer.

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways that you can organize and store old photos so that they’re easy to access–and aren’t contributing to your stress.

Take a Look at Your Computer

Before you begin organizing all of those family photos, it’s important to assess your computer and see what kind of storage you’re working with.

This can help you decide whether or not you want to save everything to your computer’s internal hard drive or if another system is more practical.

How do you decode your computer’s remaining storage? Head to this link to find out how to check storage on Mac products.

Keep in mind that even if you’re rolling in spare storage, you may want to back up your photos to an external source.

Whether you want to use thumb drives or something more akin to the Cloud system, it’s important to keep copies.

That way, if something happens to your Mac, you can rest assured that all of your memories are safe and sound.

Tackle Those Film Photos

When it comes to your old film photos, we have two recommendations that are both worth following up on.

The first is to scan everything. That’s right, scan every film photo you have so that you have a digital copy. It may be time-consuming, but it’s worth it.

While you’re scanning your film photos, you can start to organize the physical copies by date, event, or subject matter. That will help you prepare for our second recommendation, which is to invest in some good old fashioned photo albums.

It may be old school, but there’s nothing like flipping through the pages of a photo album to take you down memory lane!

Make Folders the Right Way

If you haven’t organized your digital photos in a long time, we would venture to guess that each photo dump from your camera or phone created its own file folder.

Those file folders probably have names that look like random jumbles of letters and numbers that only make sense to your computer.

Plus, you may have all sorts of unrelated things in each one.

Take a deep breath. Now, make a folder for each year starting with the earliest pictures you have on your computer.

Once that’s done, consider making folders within those folders for significant dates, events, or subject matter. For example, your 1999 folder might contain other folders titled, “Trip to Disney,” and, “Christmas at Grandma’s“.

When you use a system like this, you’re basically creating easy-to-navigate maps on your computer. In order to find the pictures you’re looking for, you don’t have to scroll through JPEG after JPEG. You can just locate the correct folder and voila!

Store Your Family Photos Online

Remember what we said about having backups? It’s all well and good to use thumb drives, but the digital age has offered up some easier solutions. When you store your photos in an online archive, you can access them from any internet-connected device whenever you need to.

One option to consider is Google Photos. As long as you have a registered Gmail account, you’ve already got a Google Photos account that is ready and waiting for you to use. (If you don’t have a Gmail account, they’re easy to make and come in handy if you want to use any of Google’s many services.)

Once you’ve opened up Google Photos, it’s time to start uploading your content. Google Photos will allow you to divide up all of your photos in a folder system much like your computer.

For easiest use, we recommend using the same file folder system online as you did on your computer.

Consider Social Media Your Personal Photo Library

Social media, specifically Facebook, lets you upload an unlimited number of photos. You can tag your friends and relatives, share them on your newsfeed, and more.

If you know that some of your friends or relatives are dying to see the photos you’ve hung onto all these years, you may want to go ahead and upload them in albums to your Facebook. This will save you the trouble of sending them out to each interested party in an individual email.

If you’re not comfortable with just anyone seeing your family photos, take advantage of Facebook’s different privacy settings. Not only can you limit your viewers to the people on your Friends list but you can actually make albums entirely private.

That means that you are the only one who can see them even though they’re stored on the platform.

If you want to get really technical, Facebook now lets you limit who can see your photos among your Friends list.

For example, if you want to share an album with members of your family but not with other people on your Friends list, you can make that happen.

All you need to do is scroll the available settings for your photo albums and you’ll find all of these privacy options.

Don’t Stress, Organize the Mess

We all have enough to worry about as it is. Why let our family photos contribute to our daily woes?

Use our tips to get your family photos organized. It may take some time, but in the end, it will be time well spent.

Looking for things to do now that you’ve finished organizing and you’re feeling stress-free? Take a look at some more of our content and get inspired for a weekend of entertainment, food, and libations!

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