September is Save Your Photos Month, an initiative created by APPO “to teach individuals how they can preserve life’s irreplaceable photos, videos, and documents, in case of an unforeseen accident or disaster.” This past week has definitely provided examples of unforeseen accident or disaster in the cases of evacuees from Hurricane Florence and in the cases of 80 homeowners in the Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover areas affected by the Columbia Gas explosions last Thursday. I am here today to teach you about how to preserve your memories.
- Gather all of your photos into one place (one place for print photos and another place for all digital photos). If this sounds daunting, start with your digital photos first. You can’t save your photos is they are located all over your house and across multiple devices.
- Backup the mess. Buy an external hard drive or subscribe to a service like Backblaze or Carbonite and create a backup of your digital images. Best practice is 3-2-1: 3 copies of your digital image, video, and document files, kept on 2 different types of media or hard drives, with 1 copy kept offsite (as in not in your house!).
- Decide if you are organizing chronologically or by theme. Sometimes a combination of both works. Example: 2018 folder with an inside theme folder of Holidays. Create a set of empty folders (or boxes) to dump photos into, including an “Unsorted” folder that everything will initially go into.
- Too many duplicates? Use a duplicate finder app to help you find and delete them. If you are going through prints, these are the first pictures to let go of.
- Follow the ABCs. Cathi Nelson, Founder of APPO, came up with this easy way to sort and purge photos. Your “A” photos are your best photos worthy of being on your wall or in an album; you would be most devastated losing these images. Your “B” photos are good photos but not necessarily the best. Your “C” photos are duplicates, blurry shots, most landscapes, unidentifiable (and unrelated!), and overall not a great photo. These are photos that end up in the trashcan. Finally, you have your “s” photos that evoke a story.
- Focus on organizing, digitizing and backing up your “A” photos. Then rest easier because you have finally protected your most valuable memories.
Making time to complete the steps to save your photos can be daunting but the outcome will allow you to be more at peace and better prepared to handle a disaster that might be headed your way.