There’s a lot of things in life I’m behind on. My mantle still has Valentine decorations on it. I literally don’t remember the last time I cleaned the shower. We have a stray cat that adopted us 9 months ago that we still haven’t gotten fixed (anyone want a cat?!) It seems that there are 3 things to add for every 1 thing I cross off my to-do list and many days I feel like I’ll never get everything done.
But one thing I must say I do a pretty fabulous job on is keeping up with photos. When I was a little girl I loved to get my parent’s photo albums out and look through the pictures. Many years ago I scrapbooked, but that got expensive and time-consuming. A few years ago I switched to all-digital and I have a pretty good system down now.
All of my pictures are on Shutterfly. It’s been so long that I don’t remember exactly why I chose that site, but I know I did a lot of research back then and that was the one that stood out to me. After years of using them my only complaint is that they compress your photos, so if you try to print a picture larger than a 4X6 it turns out grainy. I learned that when I want to print a large picture I need to do that from the original image and not the one on Shutterfly. Besides that they’re great. They also have great apps for both iOS and Android. The app allows you to upload, view pictures, and order products directly from your device.
Shutterfly allows you to create unlimited folders and albums within those folders. I create a folder for each year. In the past I created albums by event- for example, a wedding or a trip. Now I create albums for each month and/or special event.
Of course Shutterfly has dozens of projects you can create. I usually make a couple of calendars each year, but my favorite is their photo books. I LOVE their photo books!! I make one for our family each year. Besides the obvious stuff, I also include things like popular songs/movies, major news stories, and average prices for consumer goods. I made Wiggles’ baby book on Shutterfly and am in the process of making The Baby’s. For their books, I have a page spread for each month that includes pictures and milestones they achieved. I also have pictures from my pregnancy/showers, their birth stories, their 1st birthday parties and so on. I didn’t want our Ethiopian kids to feel left out so I’m also creating books for their first year home. I do theirs in a similar fashion- page spreads for each month, plus additional pages for special events like the first day of school or their sports. All this means I am making FOUR books this year!! It would be totally overwhelming if I didn’t keep up with it, which is exactly why I try to make this a priority. Every month I go into each book and add photos and milestones. Since I am diligent about doing it each month, it only takes maybe an hour tops. Here’s a couple examples of my current books:
These books can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. You can choose from dozens of templates and then just drag and drop your pictures in. Or if you’re a control freak like me, you can start with a totally blank slate and select your layout, arrange the pages, add more pages, design the cover, and put words on the spine of the book. You can layer things, rotate things, resize things. You can select backgrounds, stickers, and quotes, and if you don’t like the ones that come preloaded you can search by color, theme, keyword, anything really. Some of those things have a minor cost associated with them but there are literally thousands for free. I usually end up spending around $40 or $50 for a totally custom digital photo album. I love that if the albums ever get destroyed by something like a fire, flood, or kids I can replace it easily.
We keep the albums out in the living room and the kids love looking through them, just like I did back when I was a kid. How do you keep your photos organized?