Laptop computer on a green desk

Family Memories

Store your photos like a pro. There are several ways to do this, but our favorite way keeps it simple.

Photos are moments frozen in time. They show where you’ve been, how you’ve lived and what happened through all your seasons. Things don’t stay the same for long—especially when babies are new, families are changing and today so quickly becomes yesterday. New technology makes documenting your family history easy. But saving those images for years takes some thought. Don’t chance having pictures vanish because of a damaged or missing phone or losing them when a computer crashes. Take our advice for organizing your keepsake photos.

Photo prints are still valued in this digital world. Keep prints archived by year.
Photo prints are still valued in this digital world. Keep prints archived by year.

The setup

Save yourself extra work by creating a storage system for your collection before you start importing picture files to your computer. With an easy-to-understand system suited to your needs, you won’t stress over your tech skills every time you want to upload photos. Our simple system works for a PC or a Mac.

First, open the Pictures folder on your computer. Pressing the Start button reveals Pictures in a list on most PCs and it is found in the Users folder on Macs. Within Pictures, create folders for every year that you have photos to organize. Add three to five folders for future years. Next, create a subfolder for every month within every year, using a MM-YYYY format (ex: 01-2014). The computer sorts folders numerically, so they will stay in chronological order. Within each month subfolder, create subfolders for large events, such as Laura’s Party or Tyler’s Baptism. Inside each event folder, create three subfolders labeled Originals, Prints and Rejects.

A camera memory card on a tracking document

Download our tracking document to help you stay up-to-date >

Consolidate

Import images from all of the devices where they are currently stored. This may include your camera, cell phone, iPad, flash drives, memory cards, computers or other devices.

Edit them down

Sort images into the Originals, Prints and Rejects subfolders. Test shots and problem shots, such as those that are too blurry, can be deleted. But don’t toss too freely. You may want to keep a picture of your aunt’s dog in the Rejects folder for now. It may gain sentimental value over time.

Clearly label storage devices, such as this hard drive, so you can find your photos quickly.
Clearly label storage devices, such as this hard drive, so you can find your photos quickly.

Back up

Beware: Computers fail and operating systems change. If you don’t back up your digital pictures, the day may come when they will be irretrievably lost. Duplicates of images should be stored away from your computer. It is best to use an external hard drive for storage; they are relatively cheap and reliable.

Gallery Wall: Create an eye-catching gallery of your own photography. Use black-and-white prints and white frames hung close together to create a cohesive focal point. Move framed art around on a flat surface to find the best arrangement before mounting photos on a wall.
Gallery Wall: Create an eye-catching gallery of your own photography. Use black-and-white prints and white frames hung close together to create a cohesive focal point. Move framed art around on a flat surface to find the best arrangement before mounting photos on a wall.