When I tell people I am pretty consistently caught up on preserving my pictures and memories, their reactions are usually a combination of surprise and envy. Being caught up is a great feeling, and preserving the story and experiences of your family benefits you and them in meaningful, lasting ways. This is something I truly want to share! So this month on Evolve I’ll be sharing with you HOW I stay caught up. Each #familyhistoryfriday I’ll tell you about my own experience and practices. By getting a peek into what I do and what methods work for me, I hope you’ll not only be inspired but also come away with some useful tools so that YOU can say, “I’m pretty consistently caught up on preserving my pictures and memories,” and reap the benefits.
My Three Keys
I have three keys to avoid getting behind on preserving my photos and memories. I’ll go into more detail on each one over the next three weeks. I’ve decided to do something different, too: I’m going to be actually showing you each of my keys via video! So you can literally watch my process as I implement each of these three keys:
- First, I organize my photos. I will show you my organizational method because I think it makes photos really easy to find and therefore use in a photo album or memory book. I have learned that this is something that many people aren’t sure how to do, and since it’s really the first step, let’s start there.
- Next, I use a memory-keeping method I love (and am addicted to). This may seem like an obvious step, but I can’t tell you how many people say, “I can’t preserve my photos and memories because I’m not a scrapbooker.” Scrapbooking is one of many methods to memory-keeping– it’s not the only one! It is absolutely vital to find a method you will love and therefore do. In the video, we will brainstorm and explore a few different options so you can find something that’s a good fit for you.
- Last, I DO IT! I’ll actually do some memory-keeping so you can see it in action. This will be a fun video. I’ll show you what method I use, why I love it, and why I have chosen it for my everyday memory-keeping. It may be my best-kept secret for staying caught up on preserving pictures.
How to Start
If you haven’t been preserving photos and memories for a while, you may be a little overwhelmed and not even know where to start. I always encourage people to start with whatever makes the most sense to THEM. If you’re trying to do something that works for someone else but doesn’t work for you, you probably won’t get very far. See which of these suggestions sounds the most do-able to you:
- Start recently. If you just got back from a trip or if you just had a celebration, your memories will be fresh of that event. It may be easiest for you to record and document something that recently happened.
- Start chronologically. For some people, it may be easiest to start where they left off. If you were really good at preserving your photos and memories until 2012, you might want to start at 2012 and work forward.
- Start recently AND chronologically. Did you see the Two-In-One Plan I posted a few weeks ago on #familyhistoryfriday? It’s a great way to start preserving photos and memories where you are right now AND previous years at the same time. It’s the perfect catch-up method.
- Start with the nagging. If there’s something you feel that you need to do before you can start everything else, start there. Before my mom passed away, she gave me a few boxes of mementos with the charge to do something with them. I decided to make a life story book about her using those mementos. When I started creating the book, I –of course– still had my usual, everyday photos and memory-keeping to do. I did both for a while, but my mom’s book was always in the back of my head. Kinda nagging. So eventually I dedicated time to focus on that instead, and I found I could get more done on the book when I wasn’t trying to do multiple projects at once. After I completed the book, going back to my regular memory-keeping was easier, too.
Whatever You Do, Start Easy.
Whichever of those four suggestions makes the most sense to you is probably the one you should do. The most important thing is to start easy. Choose a do-able project first, something you can finish rather quickly so that you can feel your progress and use its momentum. If you start with something huge and overwhelming, it’s easy to quit before you begin –or at least before you get very far. So START EASY!
There are a few more tips on bringing your photos to life right here, including how to find time and other ideas on starting, if you need some.
Next Week: Organizing Photos
Don’t forget that next week on #familyhistoryfriday I’ll be showing you on video how I organize my photos. It’s key to how I stay caught up preserving my pictures and memories. Organizing the photos is the first important step to doing something with them. And THAT’S the real goal! Having accessible photos to see, hold, and enjoy makes all the difference.