Shopping Alert

Organizing both online and printed photos -- I need help!

I'm sending out an SOS! I got my act together last year when I finished purging our whole house using the Konmari method. It's one of the best things I've ever done for our home.

BUT I ignored a small section of the house. Going through our photos was too overwhelming at the time and I knew it would take me at least a month. So I told myself I would tackle it later. Later has come and I'm totally intimidated by the thought of it.

This is what I'm going to tackle over the next few weeks:

That's not even all of it -- the rest goes back into the corner of the closet. As you can see, most of it is at least in some kind of box. MOST. When we try to access something up there at least ten photos rain down on us. :) 

Although it doesn't look like it, I treasure these so much. I actually have quite a few old, vintage photos from our family (on all sides) through the generations. Because my home life was crappy for a few years in my teens, I lost pretty much everything from my childhood. All I have left is in a small storage box and these photos -- so I want to do them justice. 

The only part of this that is slightly put together (although it doesn't look like it) are the boxes I use for our son's school artwork and papers:
Organizing and storing kids papers and artwork

I get them every year at the Container Store and use one box for each grade. It's super easy to slip art and papers in the box -- we keep it on our shelves in the kitchen:
Pretty and useful kitchen organization

Someday I'd like to do even more with that, but for now the photos -- those are my nemesis. And the thing is, we've barely added any photos over the past ten years and that's something I'd like to change. I know...I've got enough to deal with here, but I actually want to add to the photos because everything sits on our computers and phones. I really want to start printing them out and adding them to photo albums. 

So I HAVE to get this figured out. This is my plan and then I need some advice on my questions below: 

1. Take everything out of the closet. 
Loose photos need to go into boxes -- I don't even care what box at this point, I just want them put away. 
2. Go through every single photo. 
This is going to take forever. I just know there are so many random pics that we really don't need to keep, as well as plenty of duplicates. (Remember when we used to get film developed and got doubles? Yeah, I did that a lot.)
3. Organize the photos by box. 
I actually did this years ago -- those photo boxes used to have labels. No idea where those went along the way. 😳 I had a box for travel, one for high school, college, family...etc. Need to do that all over again. 
4. Go through boxes and start filling photo albums. 
I'm not sure I want to get a ton of photo albums and fill those, or use the boxes for most of the pictures. How do you do it? I DO want to fill a few albums (I already have them) because I know we would pull them out to look at them a lot more often than heavy boxes.
5. Organized large photos
I have quite a few old family photos that are especially large. I think I have a solution for that but I'll let you know how that turns out.

Number five is why I really want to tackle this -- I realized recently that our son doesn't often see photos of himself from years ago unless we show him something from Facebook or our old phones. It makes me sad! I want him to be able to go through the albums with us and I want the albums organized so he can have them someday if he wants them. 

This is where I need help!
  • Do you use boxes or albums for your photos and why? 
  • Do you print photos off your phone on a normal basis? My sister uses the Meijer app and is SO good about sending off some to be printed on a regular basis. I want to do the same. Is there an app you like or a store that does it? 
  • Where do you store your photos online? I used to use Photobucket for personal photos but haven't really done that for years since most of our photos are on our phones. (Although I think they have an app -- I need to look into that.) Are there apps you like that store photos? 
  • I'd really love to start making the photo books I see out there -- maybe for specific trips or for a year at a time. Do any of you do the printed books on a regular basis? Is there one you love? 
  • How do you store photos long term -- on your computer? An external drive? Online? 

Whew! See? I need help! I want to get this part of our life under control, but I also want us to start enjoying all of these memories a bit more. 

I feel like this is the final organizing frontier in our home...everything else has a place and is organized fairly well. Once I get this under control I know I will feel great about it. And this is another one of those things that I want to have organized for our kids -- I try to be cognizant of what we're leaving them. (God forbid if anything happens to us.) But even long term, I want to have our memories put together for them in the future. 

I'd love your advice! You are all a wealth of information so please feel free to share! :)

via Thrifty Decor Chick