Have you ever thought about exactly why you take and save photos, and save other memorabilia? One thing I liked about It's All About the Memories, by Gretchen Fatouros, is that she asks that question — and other good ones as well:
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you see? Completed photo albums for every member of your family? Framed pictures around your house? Organized pictures that can be easily found? ...Of course, there's more to this book than just good questions; there's plenty of solid advice, too.
Now, realistically, what do you really want to do with your photos? What's important? Why? What will you look at again? ...
What do you want to be able to do with your digital photo files? Print them? Scrapbook them? ... Just store them electronically, so you are able to view them again when you want? Have your favorites in a digital photo frame?
When it comes to sorting all those many photos — especially printed photos — Gretchen's advice matches my own: chronological sorting isn't the only answer. You may want to sort by holidays, by vacation spots, by child, etc. If you do want to sort chronologically, "you don't need to sort it perfectly" — and you can you use "a more loose chronological order, such as by decades."
And when it comes to storing the photos you've sorted through, Gretchen does a nice job of explaining the dangers of using storage materials containing acid, lignin or PVC. And I love her emphasis on backing up your digital photo files.
Another thing Gretchen mentions is something so many of us neglect:
As we take more pictures, we tend to tell less of the stories behind the pictures. ... So, while you are collecting, sorting, and storing your photos and memorabilia, don't forget to write.While I'm not fond of the look of this book, there's plenty of solid content. I'm glad I added it to my bookshelf.