What do you do with the hundreds/thousands of digital photographs taking up space on your very vulnerable computer?  How do you organize them so that you can find them when you need them?
Let’s keep this simple. Because simple is good and makes it much more likely that you’ll actually DO it!  Here are 4 EASY steps to get those memories protected. (and free up some valuable hard drive space.  BONUS!)

1.    Hunt and Gather

a.    WHERE are your pictures?  Still on your camera? On your computer? Still on the memory card in the bottom of your purse? Photo-sharing website maybe? Bringing all of your photos together in one place will help with the next step.

2.    Make Some Hard Choices

a.    Digital photography makes it too easy to take a bazillion pictures.  Sometimes multiples of the SAME PICTURE.  It can get out of control pretty quickly.  Set aside some time to go through your pics and get rid of duplicates, blinks, blurs, and blanks.

3.    Organize (I know, bad word!)

a.    Be aware that this will take more time than any other step.

b.    Be aware that spending time on this step is SO worth it!

c.    This step is going to be different for everyone.  Your categories will mean something to you and may not mean anything to anyone else.  It’s okay.  Some people have folders for each child and a sub-folder for each month/year/milestone for each child.  If you don’t take a lot of pictures (liar) you may just want to create a folder for each year.

d.    Give each photo a descriptive name.  Get rid of the IMG_2384 label.  How do you know which picture that is without having to open it?  Try file names like: mallory11bday1.  I like to keep files I need to get to often on my desktop.  Other folders go to the “My Picture” file.

4.    Back Up!  Make Copies!  Do It!!!

a.    If you skip this step you might as well skip all the others!

b.    Burn a CD/DVD and label them.  Even better, make two copies and send one to your mom or a friend or relative. 

c.    Use an external hard drive.  This can be a flash drive or a desktop drive.

d.    Make prints of your favorites.  GET THEM ON THE WALL!

COMPUTERS CRASH ALL THE TIME!  Make sure that when (not if) yours does you still have your memories.