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Help You Dwell is a home and workspace organizing service based in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Digital Photo Organizing Idea

taryn mcLean

Today when I checked my photo software on my computer, I had 29,083 photos. The first problem here is that I need to get many of them off my computer & onto a hard drive so my computer doesn't go kaput on me, but that's a post for another day. The second deal here is,

"How in the world will I ever organize that many photos?!?"

Well, I'll be honest here, I don't plan to go back & organize all 29,083. Thankfully my software does organize them by date so that helps. Over the years, the digital photo world has made gift ideas, especially for grandparents, much easier. I can always go back, by date, & find just the photos I need for a calendar, a mug, a mouse pad, a photo book or a framed photo. Just to be able to do that has been great. But so many times I was just making gifts for other households & not my own. How was I to get these photos into books in my own house?

Many years ago, I took a scrapbooking class from a friend who talked about the importance of our handwriting in a photo book. Now the online books are great, don't get me wrong. They're quicker than making a scrapbook, colorful, & fairly easy to make. However, you don't get to write in them like you do scrapbook that you place photos in by hand.

About 8 years ago, when my oldest turned 5, I had an idea. (Of course, this is before Pinterest when I still had my own ideas.) I had my son make his own scrapbook of the his favorite photos from his first 5 years. I had him write captions in it, add stickers he liked at that age & just let go of any expectations I had for how it would look. It turned out great! At that point, I decided that I would encourage each of my kids to create their own book every 5 years. So far, we've gotten 4 books done & my middle child turns 10 in a couple weeks & we're already gathering photos on a file with her name on it to get printed to make the 5th book.

So, no there are not thousands of photos printed in dozens of books or frames. In fact, we've missed a bunch, but there are these treasures that will be with them forever. And my kids each have books that remind them who they are. They see their own handwriting at 5, 10 & eventually 15. They have looked at those books more than any other book in our house. They show them to their friends, laugh out loud, tell stories about the photos & enjoy them thoroughly. It wouldn't be the same if I had made them or had them done online.

This would also work for us big people too. Take the pressure off yourself of trying to organize all of them. The next time you're inspired, pick a year or three or five or maybe one event & start a file labeled "photos for book," start pulling in your favorites, get them printed & have at it. It doesn't have to be fancy with all the stickers & such, just your photos, your handwriting, your story. Trust me, that's the best one to tell.