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March 04, 2006



i'm buried in photos and have been sorting them into boxes even as we speak. i've done scrapbook-type pages for each of the (5) kids' first couple of years. after that, it's straight albums with room only for memo/notes. i also keep a sibling set of albums for all the shots where more than one of them appear. i'm pretty good about making copies for family, not so good about handing said copies. it's an ongoing battle, but not really an unpleasant one.

Wicked Stepmom

I use Kodak Gallery to upload, store and order prints from my digital pictures. They also let you create bound photobooks which I am thinking of doing for my kids. My first project is creating one to commemorate my daughter's birth this past November. I have collected all of the digital pix from the week in the hospital and now am just organizing and editing them to make it pretty. If all goes well, I will order a mini photo book for each child on their birthday with photos from that year.

I have TONS of photos on my computer which I am thinking I should burn onto CD in case something horrific happens to my PC!


Dear Amy,
I've been a position just like you and wondered the same thing. I found the most important thing to do is dive in where you are now and start simply.

Don't take on too much and get overwhelmed or you will make absolutely no dent in the project.

First, from the latest batch of pics you took, pick only a few photos from each event to scrapbook... Let go of the feeling that you have to scrapbook every single picture because you really don't and shouldn't or like many people, you'll never do it.

Then, just be sure to journal at least the basics - who and when. If you can do that in your own handwriting that is what is most treasured later on by your kids.

While the trend you may see on tv and magazines is to do work-of-art scrapbook pages, that is not what will matter most to your kids - the who and when is critical (take it from someone who inherited boxes of unknown pics from her mother). Again, have fun with it and embellish the pages as you see fit, but don't feel that they have to be perfect or you won't do them. (And in my humble opinion, the pics should always be the "hero" on the page, not a bunch of extra elements.)

If you have photos stored digitially, while I've used Shutterfly and love their archival storage properties, the least expensive way to print them I've found is Costco - even cheaper than printing them at home.

And again, try to even print out just a few of your favorites on a monthly basis so that you can keep up with the task of scrapbooking them going forward.

As far as catching up on boxes of old photos, if you could get a hold of archival acid free boxes to store your photos and get them out of acidic cardboard shoeboxes, that is critical.

These usually have dividers in them. You can sort by category like bday parties or trips or chronologically. You can start with broad categories and go back and narrow it down later.

The most important thing is to make a note of who is in the pictures and approx. from when the pics are from on archival paper to tuck in with them for journaling later. Or use a photo safe pen to write on the back but I'm always hesitant to do that myself and would rather just tuck a note in.

If you make it manageable and pull a box out at a time, you can do this sorting while doing things you normally do like watching tv.

My mother had boxes of pics and was overwhelmed with the task and kept saying that she'd do this when she retired and sadly she died in a kayaking accident before it ever got done. It's really so sad to have lost so much of our family history. Any effort you can make will be so appreciated by your kids. It doesn't have to be fancy to be functional.

I think it's kind of like exercise. Once you get going and do it, it's not so bad and can be even fun...you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. One thing about photos/scrapbooking you'll notice is that they are very uplifting - you take pics of the happy times in life.

Be sure to use acid free scrapbooks. Not all scrapbooks sold today are safe. I originally did my daughters all in magnetic page albums with the sticky background and the plastic over the top. I found out that they aren't archivally safe and have had to take them all out. (Infact had to redo other old albums that were done the same way.)

Hope this helps. If you'd like any more information, you can always email me to get on my newsletter list as I'm quite into all this stuff. ;)

Take care,


Picasa and Shutterfly are my faves, too. My method is to upload what's on my camera, organize and order them all at once. Otherwise it will never get done. Since all grandparents live out of town, I set up to order the same sets on Shutterfly to send to them all at the same time.

When I get the prints, I put them in a photo album. I don't have the time or desire to do anything creative.

I still have boxes of negatives and photos from before we had kids and before digital cameras were around. I'm thinking of throwing all the negatives away, except for the B&W ones that I could print myself someday. It's so easy to scan and order stuff digitally now.


Picasa is a wonderful tool for organising photos on the computer. It has 'quick edit' features - basic but they don't actually alter the original print, and are great for cropping or straightening, and can then be exported to another folder for printing. It lets you organise for a CD too.

As for the prints, I just put those in albums by year - I've found over the years that works best for me. I try and remember to annotate them too so I don't forget relevant details. But then I'm not a creative type! If I had small children now, I think I'd probably make a private blog for each of them with photos and descriptions of what they do from day to day.

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