Photos can be a wonderful way to preserve memories and relive favorite past moments. However, they can also become a cluttered mess without an organized storage plan. Probably the most important tool to have when you begin your photo organization project is a trash can. Statistics show the average person develops one roll of 24 pictures a month but only seven are worth keeping. That being said, you'll probably find many photos in your collection that simply aren't worth keeping.
Another tool you'll need during your organization process is several manila envelopes. Do your best to sort the photos by year, and place each group in the envelope with the year clearly marked on it. Place these envelopes in a strong cardboard box or storage bin. You'll probably be able to store a decade's worth of photos in a single container. Collages and shadow boxes are great ways to display several photos from a selected year. Include mementos and keepsakes in the shadowbox to add a unique personality. Special photos should be enlarged and framed to be displayed around your home.
Take special care to purchase photo albums that are made with acid-free paper. The acid used in processing everyday paper can be very damaging to photographs over the long haul. Scrap booking is a growing trend and a clever and creative way to display your photos. Craft stores have an abundance of scrapbook supplies, including stencils, decorative scissors, background papers, rubber stamps and permanent markers. You can also utilize everyday items around your house such as ribbons, magazine clippings, and fabrics. Again, take care to ensure that the paper you use is acid-free or is displayed separately from your favorite photos. Lastly, just in case something should happen to your photos, make sure you have a backup plan to replace them. Store the negatives of your most important and cherished photographs in your safe deposit box to also protect against theft or destruction from elements such as fires or floods.