Going Digital

You know that weeding thing applies to your digital photos, too, right? Not only do unnecessary photos waste memory, they just get in the way when you’re looking for something. Digital organization is mostly a matter of creating folders and naming files. I like to make folders for each year, then subfolders for each trip/event/group, but that doesn’t always work when I’m hunting for, say photos of food or flowers, so those get their own folders. One thing that does work is to establish naming conventions. For example, if you just want to keep all your 2011 photos together start all the file names with “2011” so when you sort alphabetically they’ll stay together.

Step 3: Back It Up

It’s likely that the majority of your photos would not lead to anguish should they disappear forever. It’s also likely that there are some that would. I have a group shot of my father, brother, and two older nephews taken not long before both my father and brother died. That picture cannot be recreated this side of heaven, so I scanned it and dropped the digital version on a flash drive which I keep in my safe deposit box. Some things are worth a little extra trouble. As long as your precious photos are in at least two locations—and those locations are not close enough to each other to be prone to the same disaster—you should be fine.

The Rewards

Some years ago I used some unexpected “free” time between jobs to organize my boxes of photos. In the process, I ran across a wonderful candid photo of my parents. At the time my father had just been moved into a nursing home an hour away from where my mother lived. I enlarged that photo and gave a framed copy to each of my parents for Christmas that year. It gave them both a happy memory to focus on while they were apart. Now both my parents are gone and one of those framed photos sits on a table in my home. If I hadn’t dumped that box on the floor and started sorting, none of us would have known that picture even existed, much less been able to enjoy it all these years.

If you’re inspired by your photos to take up scrapbooking, that’s a whole other level of organization (not to mention expense and time) but it can also be extremely satisfying. I tend to scrapbook my travels; I like to picture myself when I’m old and forgetful, flipping through the pages of my adventures thinking, “I don’t know who those people are, but boy, did they have fun!”


Susan Ellingburg is a natural-born Texan who sings at every opportunity, reads as much as possible, and cherishes every day she gets to spend with friends. She's a serious foodie and not-so-serious gardener who is determined not to let being single stand in the way of living an amazing life. Read Susan's blog at TastingGod.wordpress.com.