Although shoeboxes aren’t the best way to store photos, many people do this. When you discovered 30 years of your memories stored in a dozen or so shoeboxes, you laughed, cried, and felt pangs of embarrassment about the bellbottoms and wild polyester shirts you wore freshman year in high school. Then you put the boxes back under your bed, where they collected dust for a few more years until you decided to get them digitized. You were on quite a roll, so you also digitized old home movies and favorite VHS tapes. This was such a satisfying box to check off your to-do list and took little energy to accomplish since you sent everything out to be converted professionally.
Best Way to Store Digital Photos
Now that you’ve digitized shoeboxes of memories, you may have questions about how to store digital photos. Replacing shoeboxes of memories with disorganized digital folders and semi-cloud-synced albums from every smartphone you’ve ever owned isn’t the best tactic. These are the most common storage solutions:
- Folders on your computer
- External hard drives
- Cloud storage
- Flash or USB drives
While you don’t have to name every digital file, organizing folders by name is essential. No matter how many photos you shot or videos you digitized, folders should be labeled so you can retrieve them efficiently. For example, if you visited NYC every other year for 10 years, you could simply label the folders NYC 2004, etc. Other people like to organize folders by subject manner and date. This approach works well for specific types of images and even movies. For digitized VHS movies, you could label folders with obvious tags such as drama, comedy, foreign, and horror. Or if you collect only one genre, you could organize the folders by date and/or movie star.
Backing up Photos
External hard drives are small, fast, and plug straight into your computer. The worst-case scenario is when your hard drive crashes and you can’t retrieve the content, or you need to pay a computer professional thousands of dollars to recover precious memories. Backing up content to an external hard drive is a wise idea for all types of files.
Storing Files in the Cloud
Cloud storage is appealing, convenient, and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s also an easy way to share content with family and friends. But an ever-expanding number of choices can be somewhat daunting for first-time cloud users. A few popular options include Google Drive, Amazon, and Dropbox. Amazon cloud pictures are an affordable choice if you’re already a Prime member because you receive free, unlimited, full-resolution storage and 5GB video storage. Although you can’t upload DVDs to Amazon Cloud, uploading digital files allows you to stream movies anytime you wish on laptops, smartphones, tablets, and HDTVs. And if you’re an amateur or professional photographer, Flickr offers the most visually attractive platform because it was designed originally for this purpose.
How to Store Flash Drives
Storing unmarked flash drives in a cluttered desk drawer is no better than completely unorganized shoeboxes under your bed! Here are a few ideas on how to label flash drives so you can readily find content when you need it:
- Lightweight metal rim key tags
- Small white stickers/labels
- Small white paper marking tags with strings
- Resealable plastic bags labeled with a permanent marker
What to Do With Old-Fashioned Memories in a Box
Now that your images are digitized, you can select the best hard copies to keep and pare down those dozen shoeboxes to one. Think about all the space you’ll free up under your bed for pets or old high school clothes you kept! If you have a paper shredder, go ahead and shred unwanted photos to your heart’s content. That’s a better option than throwing out all those photos and seeing your unfortunate teenage fashion choices posted online one day! Here are a few other ideas on what to do with old-fashioned and digitized formats:
- Creative craft projects using old VHS tapes or movie reels
- Digital scrapbooks
- Digital photo frames
- Creating albums using online image hosting sites (e.g. Snapfish, Shutterfly)
- Hardcover photo books created online with templates and digital images
If you haven’t digitized photos and movies yet, get started today with the best in the business!