Have you ever thought to yourself “I love my pictures but I can’t enjoy them because they’re in too many places”? Or maybe you know someone who is always sharing pictures and stories and you wish yours were as easy to access as theirs? Or maybe you know you can get them managed but you can’t seem to sit down and get started because it’s so overwhelming. If you can relate to any of this, I’m writing to YOU; there’s hope and I’m here if you want help!

Making memories is important and when we make the choice of capturing them, it’s because we want to remember and share them. You don’t want to miss out on life because you’re too busy sorting and managing the past. Instead it’s possible to strike a balance of reminiscing and sharing favorite moments while making new ones in the process. But first you have to ask yourself: If I want new results, am I willing to try something new or even ask for help?

Here’s the first step for folks who know they have memories captured in all different places: GATHER. Lesson complete.

Seriously, I didn’t say sort first. You can’t sort what you can’t see!!!  Think of it in terms of cleaning a closet. Would you sort the top shelf of your closet while ignoring the other shelves and spaces? That’s a quick formula for working harder, not smarter. Good logic is emptying out the closet to group similar items together so you know how much you have before you start stocking, purging or re-purposing any duplicates. Same goes for memories. Get them all in one space, whether a spare room, a dining table or other space. Make sure you give yourself permission to have a temporary mess and make sure the area is clear of other projects, foods or potential spills from kids, pets and cooking/eating areas.

Here’s how to set up that designated (temporary) area:

  • Make sure you choose a place that can be left overnight or for a period of time (even better if you can close the door and not be side tracked while working there or bothered by passing by it when you’re doing other things.)
  • Choose some storage bins and label them any category of formats: Technology (old cameras, cell phones, memory cards and any connecting cables that fit them,) Albums, Loose Photos, Slides, Negatives (if negatives are still held in envelopes of photos- leave them there) Films, Video tapes and misc items.
  • Do nothing about purging or sorting until EVERYTHING has been collected in this area.
  • If you have other memories in another site (storage unit, another house, etc) consider doing this process for each location so you feel a sense of completion. Progress encourages more progress!
  • When you’re finished, congratulate yourself! Now you’re ready to start the sorting process. If it’s too much, ask a pro for help!