A couple of weeks ago, I had a scare…  (Thankfully it wasn’t the kind of scare I had in my younger days… you know, one that involved the calendar.)  This scare involved something like the blue screen of death. I was working at home and was in the middle of searching for a graphic for my job when I clicked on a site and my entire computer locked up and turned blue.  I was petrified that I’d suddenly gotten one of those viruses that force you to restart, and when you do, it eats your hard drive, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I do back up my computer regularly.  About three times a year, I burn the entire hard drive to roughly twenty DVDs.  And at least once a week, usually more often, I put only the latest versions of the important stuff (documents, recipes, and most importantly, my manuscripts!) to cloud storage.  But the thing that takes up so much space… the thing that’s too large to put on (free) cloud storage, is my massive collection of photos.

A few years ago, my son Jeremy asked how he could get access to “every photo that was ever taken of him.”  Challenge accepted!  He soon forgot all about his request, but I did not.  I made it my mission to scan in every photo every taken of him.  I started by making year folders for every year since I was pregnant with him…

Then within each year’s folder, I made a folder for each month…

But I didn’t limit my scans to only include photos, I also added school work, report cards, etc…

(By the way, I’m not insane with the desire to be über-organized… It took me nearly a year to complete Jeremy’s project!)  When I was done with Jeremy’s photos, I copied his folders to my daughter, Stefani’s file, and deleted any photos that she was not in, then I added her photos.  (Because I had a lot of hers scanned in where she was in the photo with her brother, hers only took me about five months.)  That seemed like the best way to organize my children’s memories, and even though some months have empty folders, it’s kind of neat how sometimes they get filled this many years later.  For example, my daughter’s former stepmom recently put an old picture of both my kids on her Facebook wall.  I’d never seen the photo before, and it was so cool to add that to my “collection.”  (Of course I copied it twice, once for each kid.)  And recently, I was at my birth mom’s house and we found an envelope of pictures my Grandma took of my kids when they were little that she’d never shown me.  It feels almost like finding buried treasure when this happens.

Of course, after I started my children’s projects, I wanted to scan in my grandparents’ photos.  However, unlike my kids, I had no desire to attempt to organize each of them by month and year…  (Grandma was never one to write dates on the back, so that would have been impossible.)

So for each of them, I made folders such as Grandma Alone, Grandma & Her Siblings, Grandma & Her Children, Grandma & Her Grandchildren, Grandma & Her Great-Grandchildren, Grandma & Friends/Other Family, Grandma & Granddaddy’s Wartime Correspondence (yes, I scanned in their letters to each other. Okay, actually, I photographed them on a black blanket because that was faster than scanning them.), and Grandma’s Cool Stuff…

“Cool Stuff” includes just about anything that isn’t a photo, and it’s also stuff that my birth mom, uncle, cousins, or my own children might want copies of.  For example, I photographed Granddaddy’s track letterman’s letters and his trophies and ribbons.  For Grandma, I added her high school diploma and a short story that I recently found which she apparently wrote shortly after she was married in the 1940s.  (How cool that she, too, fancied herself a writer… a well-kept secret that neither of her children or I ever knew!)

So these days, unless I get the rare treat of one of my kids allowing me to do a photo shoot of them, I mainly add to the “collection” when I find a new photo (generally a selfie they post on their Facebook, which, with me being a professional photographer, makes me cringe!)..  And that’s the main reason I panicked when I clicked on that bad website and thought I got a fatal hard drive virus.

Thankfully, after I rebooted, I ran a virus and malware scan, and haven’t had any problems since.

Time to talk:  Do you keep your photos well organized?  Do you scan your old photos that were not digital?  Do you regularly back up the photos on your phone and camera?  When was the last time you had a computer virus?

28 thoughts on “SCARED!

  1. Wow! We barely have any photos. I gave it up after Kodachrome died. This is a cool system to keep everything neat. Paper and film aren’t really any safer with floods, fires, mildews, etc.

  2. You’re very lucky the computer wasn’t dead. The blue screen of death is the worst! I back up after any day I’ve written. I learned this the hard way when I dropped a glass of water on my Mac, and I was sailing in the Bahamas, and I had not way to get another computer. Talk about a bad day. i bought a hard drive and use is any day I’ve worked. This of course, backs up my photos too. I am sort of organized with photos. I go through phases…

  3. Thankfully I have a Mac which I believe are more, if not totally, immune to viruses. I remember having some kind of computer scare where my husband was pretty frightened that we had lost all of our iPhotos and I think now there is some kind of automatic back up going on. Kind of makes you nostalgic for the days of photo albums.

      • I have no idea. That would be a question for my husband. We do have some kind of back up I believe but I think it was something my husband had to install after we got the computer.

  4. I like having the real tangible thing, so for years, my girlfriends and I would get together once a month, and scrapbook for hours. Eventually we all got too busy for that so now I download all my pics to and make picture albums digitally. Last year my computer bombed out on me (I never backed up!) and I lost ALL my photos. Luckily I had most saved on shutterfly. Now I save all my videos to discs, too. Though I’m not very good at it. I should probably play catch-up with that today. Thanks for the reminder. 😉

  5. Very organized, Rachel. Back up so important. I have a 2 TB external hard drive for backup. Had a hard drive crash on a 5 year old PC computer and don’t want to experience that again. Changed to an iMac. No problems now! Christine

  6. Very impressive! 🙂 My paper photos used to be “somewhat” organized in a box until I dropped the box and just put them all back in out of order. I’m not nearly as good at backing up as I should be. 😦

    • I recently got all my grandma’s old photos, and she inherited many of hers from other people – NONE of whom ever wrote a name or date on the back, so now I have a ton of old pictures of people who I don’t even know. 😦

      • Exactly. I am in the early DE cluttering so that we can move into a smaller house. (In Portugal if I get my way.)

  7. You are my organizational hero!! I have all my hard copy photos in albums in chronological order. I don’t have a scanner. All my digital photos are by date. I’m usually more organized than that, but the sheer number of photos I have to organize freaks me out. It’d be such a massive undertaking.

    • LOL! Thanks. Yeah, this was daunting when I started, but that’s why I didn’t give myself a deadline. I just worked on it a few minutes here and there when I could and took about a year for the first set. 🙂

    • Oh, you’re quite intelligent! You’re just busy doing something awesome to make the world a better place, and that’s more important anyway. 🙂 BTW, I read a magazine article last night that made me think of you. It was about a coffee shop that hired 2 homeless teenagers or young adults each year, for one year, and gave them a small apartment for that time over the shop, and taught them appropriate social skills that they likely weren’t taught at home, since many of the kids came from parents who were drug abusers, etc., and had been on the streets since an early age. The success rate was overwhelming, and most of the kids who couldn’t get or keep a job before, then worked there and after the year, moved on to either going back to school, or getting good jobs elsewhere. Pretty cool huh? ❤

  8. I’m so totally not organized with photos! We have drawers full of old photos, and my mom has a bunch of old photos, too. Actually, I should get hers and scan them, since she can’t see them now very well anyway. 😦 The ones on my computer are not organized very well except for when I purposely made an album. I love that you’ve also scanned photos of objects–that’s a very cool idea!

  9. I have the live photos I take, Rachel, with my iPhone and iPad. And I have the photos of old photos I take. And then I have the really nice photos that my dear friend Rachel touches up and makes look spectacular and sends back to me. ❤ Yes, I have folders on my iPad by subject, and I back them up on the iCloud storage, and they also get sent automatically onto my iPhone, which has way more storeage space than even my iPad.

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