Everyone has pictures! Unfortunately, not everyone preserves them. In the “olden days” as I like to call them, we would take a pictures on film and not see them for weeks or months until we printed them when we got the film developed. We’re in a funny place now where we take pictures and see them immediately but don’t print or preserve them, so we often never see them again. What happened? Why the disconnect? What is it about digital photos that has made us forget to preserve them? I find that there are several myths surrounding memory-keeping that are preventing the majority of us from preserving pictures. What do you tell yourself about preserving pictures that isn’t true?
What Do You Mean, “Preserving?”
My quick answer to this question is usually, “Preserving a photo means getting it out of digital form into a place where it can be seen and loved, complete with its story (your memories).” While I stand by that definition, I think it’s important to look a little deeper. “Preserving” means “saving.” So if you’re preserving your pictures, you’re saving them. Saving them from what?
Now that’s something to think about! Digital photos come with a whole set of potential problems: computer crashes, corrupted files, phones dropped in water, etc. Another problem with digital photos is that they don’t leave us a place to write thoughts or memories or details about the photo. (Unfortunately, this will eventually make them worthless. I know that’s a hard pill to swallow! #truth)
Digital photos also come with an even bigger problem: overwhelm. Digital photos are so easy to take that many people just amass them instead of mindfully taking them. With thousands upon thousands of digital photos, it’s no wonder that preserving them can be daunting. If you’re overwhelmed with just the amount of photos you have, help yourself out by reading When Photo Overload Becomes Photo Overwhelm.
Why You Should Care
Photos, memories, and family stories have been shown to increase self-esteem, lower rates of depression and anxiety, foster a sense of purpose and belonging, reduce stress, increase present happiness, and contribute to greater resiliency, healing, and coping. As time goes on, we are in more and more need of the things that memory-keeping provides: connection, grounding, peace, comfort, and happiness. We need to take time to process life, and there’s not an easier way to do that than sitting down with your pictures and writing a little something about them. Reminiscing is powerful for the mind and the heart.
Start there and then you’ll be ready to tackle the four common memory-keeping myths. I’ve busted them all for you, in fact! (Click to read each one.)
Busting Myth #1: “I’m not creative.”
Busting Myth #2: “I don’t preserve my photos because I’m not a scrapbooker.”
Think about this one. Photography has been around for 200 years, scrapbooking for about 30. This one is obviously a myth!
Busting Myth #3: “I don’t have time.”
We say this one so much that you probably don’t believe me when I say this is a myth! Read on!
And now for the final myth of our #familyhistoryfriday #flashbackfriday –one I don’t hear often, but enough to make the myth list:
Busting Myth #4: “I can’t preserve my photos and memories because I don’t know what to write.”
How to Actually Do It
We tend to make things complicated with too many pictures and visions of Ultra Creative Scrapbooking. It doesn’t need to be that hard! Here are my three favorite suggestions to help you go from suffocating under your photos to enjoying them and letting them be the best kind of retail therapy there is!
- Declutter and organize your photos (or use this video tutorial on organizing digital photos). Either way, organize then just choose your favorites to preserve so you’re not overwhelmed.
- Set aside time. Here’s a suggestion for making it a family tradition instead of an item on Mom’s to-do list, and here’s a HUGE collection of ideas for making time for yourself and getting together with others for memory-keeping. (I even have an online group you can join–it’s free, and you can find the information at that link.)
- Do what you love. Whether you like printed pictures or digital ones, there’s something for everyone. This is the easiest way I know of to preserve pictures that are already printed. (I mean, ridiculously fast!) I personally am in love with digital scrap pages–and that link is a video showing how I do it and why I picked the company/method I have. Digital scrap pages are literally the reason I’m caught up preserving my memories and photos! No joke. And for people who are really overwhelmed with the amount of photos they have, digital yearbooks are my go-to, hands down! This video, How to Stop Being Overwhelmed by Your Pictures: a yearbook tutorial, shows you the yearbooks but has an extra bonus of some quick decluttering tips to make your photos manageable. And one last suggestion–here’s an extra simple way to preserve your photos in a digital book without any fluff (but higher quality than run-of-the-mill online “photobooks”).
Whatever you do, #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs ! Don’t tell yourself anything about preserving pictures that isn’t true. Let pictures and memories and life’s stories be the therapeutic benefit they can be for your heart and soul.
Find many more tips for catching up on your photos here.
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