Making a Plan to Catch Up on Your Photos

Like many things, catching up on your photos is just a worthy goal until you have an actual plan to do it.  If you have photos on phones, cameras, hard drives, and clouds, making time and making a plan to preserve them in a tangible form can be a little overwhelming.  Once you have a plan, though, you can move forward.  Even big tasks can be accomplished when you know how you’re going to do it.  So let’s get you on that road.

What I Mean by “Catching Up on Your Photos”

As I like to say, “Don’t let your babies grow up to be JPEGs.”  Digital photo storage is still just storage.  Photos need to be seen in order to be known.

The sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them.  In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”  ~Linda Henkel, psychological scientist

So if you’ve been amassing some photos, getting them out of digital form into something tangible is the only way they will be interacted with and loved.  It’s how memories stick with us.  It’s literally preserving memories.

When I say “catch up on your photos,” I mean be current.  If you have photos on your phone/camera/computer from 2012 that haven’t been preserved in a tangible way, I’d like to help you catch up.  Memories are best preserved when they’re fresh.  My goal in this month’s #familyhistoryfriday posts is to get you there.

Setting Aside Time is Key

In the Tips on Bringing Photos to Life I posted a few months ago, I said that an hour a week makes a difference.  Have you ever thought about what kind of progress you could make if you worked on preserving your photos for 52 hours this year?

I think one of the most critical parts of setting aside time to catch up on your photos is to recognize what would give you the most success.  What works for someone else might not work for you.  Do you work best with other people or by yourself?  Do you work best in smaller spurts or bigger chunks?

Consider which of these ideas for setting aside time for photos would work best for you, then pull out your calendar RIGHT NOW and mark it with pen!

  • 1-2 hours on a regular basis (like every Friday night or Sunday morning)
  • 3-5 hours one day a month
  • involving family members in organizing, sorting, writing down memories
  • attending a regular memory-keeping event (The ones I host are detailed here, but I also host online ones through my Facebook group so everyone who isn’t local can attend.)
  • create your own tribe; invite a group of friends to get together for memory-keeping on a regular basis

If you missed the Two-in-One Plan I talked about (last week) in my live online class, Conquer Your Photos, don’t worry–I’ll be posting a recording of it as well as a printable in a couple of weeks.  Once you’ve set aside time for photos on your calendar, the simple Two-in-One Plan will give you a specific way to accomplish it.

Helps for Making Time

“I don’t have time” is a common phrase these days.  More is coming at us in a given day than it was in a whole month 20 years ago.  Over the years as I’ve coached people with their memory-keeping, I’ve learned and then written a lot about time, time management, how the average American spends time, and the false idea behind the phrase “finding time.”

In fact, I wrote just this week about what I learned about time from the work of two women, Success Coach Lanette Pottle and Productivity Expert Julie Miller Davis.  If you struggle to find time, feel overwhelmed, feel like your calendar controls you instead of the other way around, READ THIS POST!  Thank me later.  Pottle has some great things to say about our mindset about time and how shifting it gives us more time.  Davis has three tools to use when you consider ANY activity on your calendar, and she also drops a truth bomb on multitasking that blew me away.

For some additional perspective on time, both this article, “Selective is the New Smart,” and the great article it was based on, “Busy is the New Stupid,” give some really helpful food for thought on how we look at busy.

Why It’s Worth the Time

The truth is:

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Multiple trips to the grocery store each week, hours spent scrolling social media, TV watching, laundry, child care– they all take time.  Some things are worth more of our time than others.  As Thoreau said, we determine how valuable something is based on the amount of life–or time–we exchange for it.

Memory-keeping is worth the time it requires.  Recorded memories and stories have been shown to increase self-esteem, lower stress, increase resilience, and create a sense of belonging and purpose.  It’s good for the heart and soul.  That’s worth everything.


Digital storybook shown was created and published here.  Not all memory-keeping methods require a lot of time; see great options here and here.


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Jennifer Wise

consultant at Heritage Makers
I'm Jennifer, and I'm passionate about connections.I enjoy helping people discover the very real benefits of preserving stories, photos, and memories because of the impact they have on children, families, and individuals. I blog weekly at sharing tips, ideas, solutions, and inspiration, and I'm over at, too. Learn more about me at the "About" tab.

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6 thoughts on “Making a Plan to Catch Up on Your Photos

    • I know! The “old days” were so good. I feel like people who don’t “scrapbook” feel like there’s nothing they can do with their memories and photos–but it’s not true! We need our photos, and memories, and simple albums. 🙂 I hope you found some helps here you can use.

    • You’re not alone! Busy-ness in general is a very common thing these days! But, yes, those times when we see our printed photos remind us how fantastic they really are and how much we really need them. 🙂 <3

  1. Jennifer, I’ve got photos in a plastic tub that go back to when the kids were babies. It’s an overwhelming task, but I know I need to get ’em out and start going through them. I plan to scan and put them on a thumb drive or something. Guess I need to make a plan! Thanks for your wonderful ideas. 🙂

    • A lot of people are in your boat. It really can become overwhelming, so I’m glad these ideas helped. I have a lot more (and a lot of ways to really simplify things), so stay tuned. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting.