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Memory Overload

When Carter was born, my sister gave me a baby book to write down and capture all of those wonderful baby milestones. Being the procrastinator and lazy journalist that I am, I had a hard time keeping it up-to-date. A friend had suggested keeping it by the bedside and taking 10 minutes each day to write down my thoughts. I took her advice, kept it by the bedside, and every night, I silently vowed that I would update the book the next night.

When Carter approached his first birthday, I started a blog to keep our friends and family from across the country apprised of our lives. Despite its haphazard state, it has been the best way for me to capture his babyhood. Now that I have two boys, the blog is even that much more useful. Aside from the blog, I take a couple dozen of digital pictures a month, and less frequently take videos of the kids. Here’s the dilemma. The digital age is great, but I’m swimming in a sea of digital photos and boxes of unsorted print photos. How do you sort your photos (digital and print) and videos so they are organized and accessible? What systems have you created so that it doesn’t become overwhelming?


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we have found costco.com to be helpful. I create an album and label it. Every three months I print them out and put them in an album with a small note tag on the side. I'm not a scrapbook type, nor do I have a bone a creativity in me.
For big milestones like b-day's or month b-days under 1, I hang a sign in front of her i.e. "I'm six months old" and take a pic. That way I don't have to try and remember.

we take literally hundreds of photos every month, and we've used www.kodakgallery.com (formerly ofoto.com) for years and i loooove it. all of our friends and family share monthly online albums with each other and i just love the way this site is designed so you can see the photos better and bigger, edit easily, share easily, etc.

as far as organizing, i upload photos the day i take them both to kodak gallery and to my computer. i back up each month's photos on cd at the end of every month (or two), and i print out the photos every two or three months and just shove them into albums from target.

for organizing videos, check out www.firstyearfilms.com. my friend's fiance runs it with a mom entrepreneur in nyc. they'll take my dv tapes that sit sadly unedited in my office and edit them into beautiful documentaries of my son's life thus far. it's an awesome service that i plan to use after my son's second birthday. i love editing video, but who has the time when someone else can do it for you?

We do old-fashioned photo albums, and I try to really keep on top of it. I use Canson blank albums and those little two-sided stickie things to put the pictures in with, and then write a caption or two.

My inspiration for doing this was the photo albums my mother kept. They were terrible - haphazard, un-captioned, messy. I have to sit down with her to look at them, since I don't know who lots of the people in them are, or why they are important. I want to leave something for my kids and grandkids that will be easy for them to understand and fun to look at. Each person gets a first and last name the first time they appear in the album, neighbors addresses are noted, that kind of thing. I am scrupulous about dates.

I know that with some of these digital systems it might be a lot easier to keep it all on the computer, but I just can't warm up to the idea of cozying up to the monitor to look a pictures as a family, the way we all sit together on the couch to look at our albums.

I use shutterfly.com for shaing and uploading pictures for family. They can buy prints right out of the email I send if they choose. You can aslo set up a webbased collection for people to bookmark and check back for new pictures. It's a great way to share with those that don't live locally. Prints are pretty inexpensive as well.

For storing video, we opt to just keep buying new tapes instead of dumping the video onto the computer. It saves memory space and we always have a tape backup should our computer die...again.

I lack in any sort of photo organization (or organization in general) and don't even have that many prints. I keep everything digital. I'm trying to get better at adding things to her baby book. For now I keep a small calendar next to her changing table with a pen and mark things that happen on the date, so one day when I have time (ha!) I can transfer it all over to the book. This has been great so far.

I must just be sentimental, but I'm all about scrapbooks--it's something you can put your hands on and something I think everyone enjoys looking through, even if they dont know your family. Anders is less than 2 years old, but for months now, one of his favorite things to do is to look at pictures, it's one of the rare times of the day when he'll sit still for a few minutes to comb through our wedding album or his baby book.

After I went to a couple of Creative Memories parties, my husband started calling it "Expensive Memories" and then moved on to "Creative Spending" but you really do not have to spend much money to put together a really nice scrapbook that preserves your photos, documents them, and puts them all into one book that can be passed around and shared with everyone. You also do not have to be super creative, or spend a lot of time on them, unless you want to! There's a great little paper/scrapbooking store near my house in the "downtown" part of the Kenton neighborhood that has a great inventory of scrapbooking supplies and they offer classes and workshops too.

As far as prints go, I've found a site called Clark Color Labs online that I think does a great job at the best value. You can buy just a few prints at a time, or you can pre-pay for a chunk and they are less than 10 cents each.

I have stacks and stacks of print photos still waiting to be sorted one day. I'm just using a stop-gap method for now until I have time to do some real organization. When I get back my photos from the store, on the folder, I write down the range of dates that the packet specifically covers. Then, I jot down generally what occasions and what people are included in that packet of photos. Then, I place the pack in chronological order in one of those photo boxes. It helps me to track down a specific photo more easily than if I had no notations anywhere.

For a while now, we have uploaded our pictures to http://www.snapfish.com, and we use it to share with family. We also order our prints from snapfish, and now you can pick them up at a nearby Walgreens (that's kinda neat). I credit my husband with doing to photo-printing and albuming. Nothing fancy, but every year-end, he orders a ton of pictures, maybe 150 or so, for the year, and he puts them into an album. He once bought about 20 of the same albums (different colors and exteriors), so we have some semblance of order or coordination (not that it's necessary...).

I use snapfish for uploading, sharing, and ordering, and have been pleased (especially since they keep lowering the price of prints!). I also use Flickr for uploading photos that I want to use online like as an avatar. At one time I ordered prints from Ofoto or Shutterfly or something and they came with the captions from each picture printed on the back of the print - an excellent idea. I'm finding that now I'm putting the prints into albums, I have to keep running back and forth to the computer to check dates and such. I'd like to find an online digital photo printing place that prints the captions, it would be easier to organize the pics into albums. Anyone?

With Luke, I had great intentions of keeping up with an organized photo album/baby book/scrapbook ... I finally put it all together when I was 6 months pg with #2 - he was almost 3! One thing that I did do that was helpful was to use the "notes" section of my week at a glance. It was a good place to jot down things from the day or week - and not so much room that you felt guilty if it didn't get filled. Trying to do that with Baby, but once again, the 2nd one is getting the short end of the stick ... some entries, but not as many (sigh ...)

Check out this site my husband and I are building. We sure could use some help from some more mamas and hopefully the site would help you out too!

Hi, Emily! I used to work with your husband, Franz. Your site looks really cool! I'll check it out!

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