Organizing Photos

Organization expert Pam Hix provides tips on organizing and storing photos.

When you first get your photos back, weed through them and throw out any that you don't really like. This will cut down on the amount of organizing and labeling you'll have to do later.
After discarding the unwanted photos, organize them by year. Store in large envelopes marked by year, and when you go back to organize past vacations, you'll be able to find all the photos easily and quickly.
Don't overload yourself with such a large project right away. Work your way back through the years. Start with more recent photos first, and whenever you have extra time, start organizing other photos from past years.
Whenever you find an unlabeled photo, label it. Even if you are not going to put it into a book, label it to the best of your memory. Make sure to use an acid-free photo-safe pencil or pen (available at photo processors and art-supply stores.).
If you don't have time to immediately label each photo, label the outside of the envelope with the date and events that are on the photos inside.
Photos don't have to be organized in chronological order. It is only one of the logical ways you can do it. Consider categorizing photos by event, such as holidays or parties, or do it by person--an album for each child in your family.
Separate the negatives from the photos. Place them in envelopes, and label the outside with date and subject. You could even write on them where the photos can be found for quick reference.
Store negatives in a fire-safe box. If something happens to the actual photos, at least the negatives will stay safe.
If you automatically order extra prints for relatives when developing your film, set up a system to get them to her before the baby in the photo is ready for college. Try pre-addressing photo-mailing envelopes so that when you pick them up, you can send them out at the same time.
Take your favorite photos to a photocopy center. Most will put them into an attractive calendar. They are great for family gifts.