Thursday, October 27, 2011

Organizing and Preserving Your Precious Photos

Photo by Derrick Story of The Digital Story, found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons.

Photo organizing — involving either printed photos or digital photos — can be overwhelming, so I'm always glad to find useful resources to share. Today I've got two: a podcast with some good ideas, and some products.

The podcast is called Organizing and Archiving Your Photos, from Derrick Story of The Digital Story. (Thanks to Karen on the Unclutterer Forums for the pointer.) Derrick covers a lot of territory — and points you to his titles at, which have much more information than this free podcast.

But even the free podcast has some good information. Derrick suggests some simple ways to organize your digital photos, but the part I really liked was when he offered his opinion on what to do with all those old photos you've got, that aren't organized:
For now, you just let it be the way that it is. Make sure that it's protected, make sure that it's backed up, but in terms of organization, just let if be for the moment. And start your new system fresh, today, after you've designed it. ...

When you start a new system, whatever your system's going to be, you're going to tinker with it a bit. You're going to adjust it, you're going to learn things along the way. ... It's a lot easier to develop your new system with just a few hundred images as they're coming in, instead of trying to deals with tens of thousands of images. ...

It's sort of like: Today's the first day of the rest of your organizing life.

After a while, once you feel pretty confident that you have a system that you like, and that you can stick to, then you can go back into your archives, into that legacy material, and start pulling it into the new system, a little bit at a time, as you have time.

Notice -  Practical Archivist store now open

The products are those included in the limited-time offer from Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist. For the month of October only — yes, just a few more days — you can order her Preservation Kits: one for children's art work, and one for family archives (mostly photographs, but also other special papers).

Update on Nov. 4, 2011: The kits are still for sale, so I guess Sally extended the offer.

The Family Archivist Survival Kit is intended to help you start a family archive, by providing one box of each size you're likely to need, and the envelopes and folders that go into those boxes. There's also a Photo Rescue Kit (available by itself, or as part of the family archive kit) to help you "rescue photographs from those horrible sticky magnetic albums, also known as The Chemical Sandwich of Dooooom."

Sally's been my go-to resource for understanding what products are really "archival" — which ones will truly protect your photos through the years. If you want storage boxes but don't want her kits, you can go to some of the suppliers she recommends: Hollinger Metal Edge, Gaylord and Light Impressions.

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