It’s February 1st. Do you know where your photos are?

New Year’s resolutions are all well and good, but you have probably already slipped up some. (shhh. I won’t tell.Winking smile)  I have one that you can keep your promise on, right now!

It’s Sunday morning. And JANUARY 2015 is FINISHED. Let’s get organized!

  • MINIMUM EFFORTphonto2Find the cord to your phone and upload all the photos you took in January 2015 into a folder on your C drive called  2015-01-JAN (or something close). If you took photos with a real camera, grab those SD cards and upload all the photos you took into the same folder. (If you are feeling ambitious, make a folder that is 2014-ALL and get the rest of the photos off the phone now, too.) DO NOT DELETE or ERASE CARDS YET.
  • A BIT MORE EFFORT— Look at every photo you took in January 2015. Are there duplicates, or totally blurry or otherwise absolutely useless photos (like the photo of a recipe so you could go the store)? If so, delete them NOW from the folder.  Go ahead, be brutal. When you are done, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in to do some reading.  <—-Read this blog that I wrote a few years back about how I organize my photos.
  • More about HOW TO organize your photos

And then, read even more about it that I have written over the years.

I fear greatly that this generation coming up is not only going to be the most photographed, but also the generation with the fewest images accessible to them when they’re 64.

Technology is great! All those great movies and music on those eight-tracks cassette tapes  floppy disks CDs MP3s VHSs DVDs Blu-ray’s that we stream via the internet every day…

EXCEPT.

The year is 2060. Your grandson was downsized at work. He and his wife and his 13 year old twins are moving back across the country, following a job. They are staying in a friends basement while deciding if this is the right town for them.  While packing the most important things and putting the rest in storage, for a better time, he comes across a box full of antiquated media. A mish-mash of all the variety of storage devices he had seen in museums. Some has writing on the edges; cryptic information like “Daddy’s fishing boat photos”, but mostly they have nothing or simply dates. Although he smiles at the box; he recalls Grandma putting treasures into it when he was a child.

As he digs through the box, he sighs. There hasn’t been a player to watch some of this stuff in decades without having to go to a historical society. And while he recalls vaguely seeing old family photos, he wouldn’t have a clue where to start to locate them amidst  the dozens of disks in the box.  They have become Frisbees. He guesses he could probably go to a college, or contact a library to see if they have something that can still read these items.  But, does he have the time? He and his wife will be working more hours, trying to get back on their feet and the twins are insistent on getting back on sports teams when they move. The money and inclination to take random, unlabeled VHS or floppy disks or CD’ s or Blu-ray’s somewhere, pay to be told that they are hopelessly corrupted, or have the information transferred to the current media? His wife will go crazy if he spends more money that they don’t have having them transferred. Braces, the dentist said. Times two. And how disappointed will he be after spending all the time and effort to discover that the images rescued are of some people that must have been friends of friends of his great grandparents? This box heads to storage.

Discovering a dusty, even poorly maintained, horrible ‘magnetic’ photo album? A Buster Brown shoe box full of negatives and curling black and white photos of some dude who, wow, looks like his kids? Those actual printed photos? Shoeboxes full, even, will end up in the back of the minivan, because when he opened the lid, he saw a photo of his puppy from when he was seven. The box may end up on a shelf, half-heartedly sorted through on a random snow day far in the future.  But, one day, a child will ask about dad’s first pet, and he will be able to scrounge around, find the box, and spend hours laughing at the odd clothing and hysterical haircuts from the past.

Will it EVER get opened again? Will the rent stop arriving on the storage facility when the job doesn’t pan out? Because mortgages, electricity, gas, clothing for growing children, and a huge list of other bills will eventually be more important than THINGS they haven’t needed in months or years. Sold at auction, you can bet those disks are trash. phonto1

The same situation IS going to happen to your current storage devices, you know. It WILL. Forward progress. Whether the images mean something to YOU or not, when your kids are cleaning out your home after you die in 50 years, and they run across media they can not EASILY look at—will they take it home, tell their kids no vacation this year because the money is going toward seeing the treasures Grandma had on a (what turns out to be a corrupted) CD?

Have I scared you yet?

  • PRINT YOUR PHOTOS!  And by print, I DO mean have your photos PRINTED by a lab, photo paper, chemicals, the whole nine yards. Think you have a photo printer attached to your computer that does as well, as cheaply?  Photo inks are not stable enough. The inks are sprayed onto the top of the glossy paper.
  • Sign up to Shutterfly, Mpix, SmugMug, somewhere! and have some images printed. Not everything.  But some. The ones that are special, and sometimes the ones that are not. Photo books are great, too. If you have media that is readable still, look at it! Check to see that is is still usable, and send it to an online gallery for storage. Pass them around to far-flung family in a Valentines card.

This will not protect you from fire or flood, though. GIVE some family photos to other family members. Connection AND insurance. And have an online presence. Some online is better than other online. You do not want to only do this— if they go out of business (Kodak Gallery) you are out of luck. Free places tend to be more iffy; so…. Of course, you do then have the “braces this month or pay my yearly online fee” conundrum…. My thought is the cost of the year of storage is less than the cost of a half dozen rolls of film and developing.

  • ONLINE, UNLIMITED STORAGE, plus the ability to order PRINTS of all your images! This is where I have all my photos; my photo web-page rteest42.com is powered by Smugmug! If you sign up USING THIS LINK, there are DISCOUNTS involved! Galleries can be totally locked down so that no one or only those with the code can get into them. (when you go look at my site you will see a fraction of the galleries I have) ( Pricing and features of Smugmug)
  • Or go to Flickr. BUT MAKE SURE YOU CHANGE all the options to be private and right-click protected. The last thing you want is for your family photos to be accessible to just anyone. (Facebook notwithstanding, you really don’t want EVERYTHING out there…)
  • phontoNegatives. Just don’t throw them away, ok? Seriously, how much room do they take up? It’s hard to sort them, but look at the bright side, you are probably not making more! Take the envelopes, open and glance. Can you get a year based on the images? Date the outside, and put into a big old shoe box. If you don’t get around to doing anything ever with them, let your grandkids decide to trash them. Who knows, you may want to have something printed. Even if you trash the photos, the negatives are available. (My negatives from 1983 until 2004.)

Oh, right. I said don’t delete from the phone yet. So, having read all of the above, (coffee topped off?) have you a backup plan? Once you have burned a CD or DVD (properly labeled as to be retrievable), and uploaded to your fancy-pants new online photo storage, hit that delete button!  I was with someone the other day who I haven’t seen for a YEAR. She STILL had photos from the last time we got together on her phone. One minute of distraction and the phone is gone….

 

PS. THIS IS A DO AS I SAY, not as I do post, meant to motivate ME to finish as much as to get you to START!!

PPS Someone on Facebook posted this the other day…”I was cleaning out yet another part of the house and happened upon a folder I hadn’t seen since I moved away to college inside I found all these moments of my families past I wasn’t even aware of…” I doubt if she had run into a CD she would have even glanced at it; as it was when I ran across her thread, with photos, there was a healthy conversation happening about the photos from different family members.

Cyber-flinging…

No, I don’t mean getting to hurl your computer across the room, no matter how much the idea appeals to you!

Let’s fling files, and junk mail and old, out of date folders. This could get messy, folks— make sure you are paying attention, because you don’t want to lose something important.

First, email. Junk mail, advertisements, message board memberships, forwarded jokes and the like.

Have more than one email address!! It doesn’t have to be with your internet service—Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail— there are plenty of places to open free accounts. Choose the one (or more) that works the way you like. Open a second or third account. You can make it easy on yourself and just call it “Firstname.LastName1” (Mary.Smith1, Mary.Smith2, etc) Why?

Because the next time you go to a store, or fill out some survey or buy online, you can use the address that you choose to be for marketing purposes. You want this to be different than the one you give to family and friends. You should check it often, for special sales and such, (and who doesn’t love a sale!!) but it won’t clutter your daily, personal email. If you are newly doing this, then every time you receive some sale message, IF YOU STILL WANT TO RECEIVE MAIL FROM THEM, go to their site and change your address.

Second, DO you still want to receive mail from them? You ordered a sweater for a gift from a company you don’t normally shop at, and now they bombard you daily? Unsubscribe!! Usually right at the bottom of the message, you have a link. (A low-impact way to do this is what I have been doing. Each day, at least ONE piece of marketing email is either unsubscribed or re-subscribed to a different box.)

If you are a member on a message board, can your Email program sort these messages into folders, so you can read at your leisure? If so, take the time to set them up properly. If not, consider changing programs!!!

Then, take a look at the message boards themselves. Are you not really involved in all of them? Remove your membership! Don’t be a slave to it. Choose those that fit best.

Now, onto the harder stuff.

(All the following assumes you have a good command of your computer, and I am unable to give precise direction as so many things are different….)

Your C drive—is it sluggish and slow? Do you have folder after folder of writing, memos, and other files just cluttered here and there? Do you NEED them any longer? (Itinerary for a trip taken two years back? At best, print it and store with your photos and other souvenirs. You haven’t printed the photos yet? Store the file in a folder labeled Archives-Various.)

Remember, use the folders to your advantage, just like a real filing cabinet. Make the categories relevant and useful to YOU, and FLING the stuff that is out of date!

CAVAETS:

  1. Do not go digging into places you shouldn’t be. Be careful that your flinging doesn’t go so overboard that you need to call in the computer repair person of your choice to put you back together!!!! (While MY computer repair person seems to think nothing of 11PM house calls, yours may not…)
  2. PHOTOS. Don’t just fling. And, by the way, this could take TIME!!!! Take a break. Work a bit at a time. It didn’t get this way in a week, you probably can’t undo it in a week.

PHOTOS: Make sure all your photos are in one folder on C.

Then, make additional folders and label by year (2010, 2009, etc).

Inside each year folder, make a month folder ( 2009-JAN, 2009-FEB, etc)

Gather all photos that are on C, sort by DATE TAKEN. Select all images taken in Feb of 2009 and move to C:Pictures/2009/2009-FEB. (At this moment we are sorting; you don’t need to look at images for whether they are worth keeping. That can come later. Once you have established a system, however, you shouldn’t put ‘bad’ photos in it.)

Do this for all the photos you have. Make a file for photos others have sent you/things you have collected online, etc.

If you find that in May of 2009 you went to cousin Jim’s wedding and took a lot of photos, you can make a folder called 2009-MAY_JimWedding and put those photos in there ( C:Pictures/2009/2009-MAY/2009-MAY_JimWedding) The rest of the photos taken in May will simply stay in C:Pictures/2009/2009-MAY. You can do this for any special occasion, vacation, etc, where you have a good number of photos of a particular subject (that cutie pie grandchild for example!)

Continue until all photos are in folders, by year and month.

Using your photo viewer, (of whatever type you use, I can’t give specific direction) look at everything, and do this,folder by slow folder:

Fling any photo that is obviously out of focus, dark, blurry, or otherwise an epic fail. If it is with the subjects eyes closed, and the photo following has their eyes open. If the group shot was taken 13 times, save the 2 or 3 that are ok. Do you have images that are really meant for the recycle bin? Then FLING them. Right into the recycle bin. If someone’s expression is good only for blackmail, either blackmail them already or fling it. Not so quickly, however, with photos of YOU. Don’t edit yourself out of the family by being overly critical of images of yourself. Your grandchildren will thank you.

The only reason to save a really bad image is—IT IS THE ONLY PHOTOGRAPH YOU HAVE OF THE EVENT OR THE PERSON. AND IT HAS GREAT HISTORIC SIGNIFANCE. See, that eliminates most of the reasons for saving the bad ones.

Now, Rename the images you have saved. Select all images, and sort by date taken. Find your select all/rename option and call all the images you just sorted through and found worthy: 2009-MAY_JimWedding The program will add a number to the end of that for you automatically.

Next, do photo editing if you do such a thing, burn CD, order prints, send to family, BACK UP images.

Is there any image you would like to print?  Print them. Order prints. Today. Sign up for Kodak Gallery, or Shutterfly, or Snapfish or load them back onto a card and take them to Target or to wherever, but get them PRINTED. After all, WHY did you take the picture in the first place?

Burn a CD. Back up in some fashion. Create a second set of these images. Grab a fine point sharpie, LABEL the CD in the center, 2010-JAN, photos. 1 of … . Put the CD into a jewel case, and create a spot to store it. Important images? Maybe  burn a CD that will stay in someone else’s home as well.

Also, create offsite storage online for additional backup protection. Use the online gallery at Kodak (about $20 a year IF you don’t order photos from them) or whichever place floats your boat… Smugmug is my choice. I am thrilled with all the options I have there. My account is at the pro level, but you can purchase lower level accounts (less bells and whistles, but still same storage facilities and ability to print.) Use this coupon code  and save $5.00 if you choose to go with them. PMfvFGKyQzxgg

Whatever you do, don’t trust the fact that you have never had a computer crash. In this age of digital cameras, and every moment being recorded, we have a true opportunity to end up with no images if we are cavalier about their care and storage. Old negatives may be shoved into the backs of dresser drawers, and get scratched and stick together, but they can still be printed. A file, lost in the computer, if not backed up, no longer exists if you haven’t at least printed it, or emailed it to someone or burned a CD/DVD or backed it up in cyber-space.

Now, a quick note about access, then I will leave you alone. Images you have shot belong to YOU. You possess the COPYRIGHT and control whether other people may print it or borrow it, or put it up on their blog. Just as you go to my photo account, you will find you can’t right click and save. Those images are MINE.

Be careful if you are storing/backing up your images someplace like Flickr/Picassa Web/Photobucket/Facebook—the more descriptors you put on the images, the more opportunities you provide for someone to steal your images. You don’t want someone’s innocent child to have photos taken and used in ways that are not appropriate. Choosing a place that has passwords, and that the general public can’t just peer around in is something to consider.

Oh, and by the way? You need to do this to ALL your computers. Good luck!

One month in…

How is your 27 Thing Fling working for you? Are you looking at things differently? Do you find yourself flinging from a spot that we haven’t even started? (Or do you want to leave it solely to be able to count ‘later’? If so, fling it and add it to whatever place you are counting. 🙂 )Are you questioning your purchases?

By the way, this is NOT a ‘no shopping’ exercise. What it is is a ‘Do I NEED it’ exercise, ‘Is it worth working another 5 hours of my life away’ exercise, an ‘Am I buying it because it’s easier than looking for the old one’ exercise, and a ‘Where am I going to put it exercise’….  (Ok, officially exhausted. Haven’t exercised that much in forever!)

I have purchased (other than food, etc) a few pairs of pants, a nice stack of CD’s, some sweaters/tops in colors that I found worked well with my leaner, more organized closet (All from Goodwill. I just LOVE my Goodwill!!!)

And, some Christmas stuff on mega clearance that I KNEW I could use. (Like wrapping paper. Once I make it into the guest room, where the wrapping paper lives, I will be flinging some things there, and HOW could you turn down 90% off?)

Yes, faulty logic, and possibly how my house got to the state it is in. But, being that my Christmas things were just out….

Ah, see how easily we can delude ourselves? (Gotta watch those KNEW/HOW equations. But in this case, I feel confident.)

I bought a few house decorations too. My father was selling this tea set on his site and I couldn’t resist buying it. Its precious, isn’t it? And so me!

patches

So, we are all on the same page, right? This is not about denying yourself, but about trying to find yourself, amidst all the ‘stuff’.

The next category is: File cabinets. Yeah, this one should keep you busy for a while. And what perfect timing, as Tax Season is upon us.

Is your shredder up to the task? And by the way, you don’t get a pass simply because you keep your financial and paper life in something other than a filing cabinet. Any box, basket, drawer or pile otherwise unnamed counts here. But, I will give you a day or so to contemplate this next project.

Because I believe I promised a little deviation to the list.

Its computer clutter. It’s digital images. Let’s grab the bull by the horns, ok? (This is not about past behaviors. We will get to that. Photographs have their own category! We are going to establish new behaviors.)

Tomorrow is February 1. What needs to occur is this: (And for some of you, it’s so much a non-issue, you may not believe I am bothering.)

Get your cameras. All of them, phone too, if you use it as a camera.

FIRST. Have you uploaded all the images you took in ‘JAN 2010’? If not, do so. Create a folder with that date, put everything there. After you take whatever photos you may plan on taking today, Jan 31. (Happy birthday, Andrew!)

NEXT. LOOK at the images. Are there blurry, dark, or other obviously bad images there; images that are really meant for the recycle bin? Then FLING them. Right into the recycle bin.

THIRD. Rename them. I don’t know how to do so particularly in your program or your computer, so I will tell you this–Name all the images 2010-JAN_ Or JAN 2010_ or whatever suits you best. But get the date in there. (If they are all pictures of the cat, then possibly 2010- CAT….) What I am suggesting is ESTABLISH a naming system, and NAME every file in your JAN 2010 picture folder. But only the ones worth keeping.

NOW. Is there any image you would like to print? (If you do photo editing, then insert this step here.) Print them. Order prints. Today. Sign up for Kodak Gallery, or Shutterfly, or Snapfish or load them back onto a card and take them to Target or to wherever, but get them PRINTED. After all, WHY did you take the picture in the first place?

LASTLY.  Burn a CD. Back up in some fashion. Create a second set of these images. Grab a fine point sharpie, LABEL the CD in the center, 2010-JAN, photos. 1 of … . Put the CD into a jewel case, and create a spot to store it. Create offsite storage online for additional backup protection. Use the online gallery at Kodak (about $20 a year IF you don’t order photos from them) or whichever place floats your boat… (Smugmug is my choice. REFERRAL LINK GETS YOU a DISCOUNT when you sign up USING THIS LINK ONLY)

Because it is only January, it’s a DOABLE number of photos. Most people take very few images in January. But we are establishing something that is going to be important later in the flinging.

But before I do that, I am heading outside with my camera to take pictures of the snow!!! Looks like a foot or so!