Between our social media accounts, external hard drives, and camera phones I think we would all agree that 99% of those pictures are still in digital form.
I mean on my Facebook account alone I have about 70 albums and at least 1,000 miscellaneous pictures.
And that's not even taking into count the pictures from my Nikon, saved to our computer.
"Hi, my name is Julia and I have a picture hoarding problem."
A little over 2 months ago, I started to think about what would happen if my Facebook account, or Instagram or even our hard drive, randomly shut down or got deleted.
I could literally lose every picture.
Plus isn't there something so special and nostalgic about flipping through a photo album?
It's a beautiful way to show your family history.
So I decided to start at the beginning and just print them.
At first the idea overwhelmed me, but once I got into it, it really wasn't that hard - or that time consuming.
So here are 5 super easy steps to get your digital masses of pictures to print.
Step 1: Decide how you're going to want your pictures organized in the albums.
Since our boys look SO much alike as babies, for us it made sense to have an album (or multiple) for each boy so that we can keep their pictures straight. We also did an album for Jake and I.
Step 2: Create new folders on your desktop, corresponding to the albums you want.
Having a separate folder for them will REALLY help when it comes time to order/print them.
Step 3: Starting choosing your pictures.
Although we have all of the pictures saved to our hard drive, I actually preferred to use our Facebook accounts to get most of them.
Since they were already in "albums" on Facebook it just helped to make sure I wasn't missing any event or moment.
I also went back through our hard drive and Instagram accounts.
A note about printing from your Instagram!!
Since Instagram crops your pictures into a square and not a rectangle, if you go to a source outside of ones designed for printing from Instagram (like Walmart/Costco) your prints will come back missing the top portion of the image. They also can come back over pixilated if they have a heavy filter.
But don't worry!!
If you want to print from Instagram click HERE for some great sources.
PS If you are saving a printing more that 75-100 pictures/category I recommend starting a new folder for the additional prints to help keep everything organized.
Step 4: Submit your pictures for printing.
Obviously there are ways to print from home, but if you are doing doing a ton of pictures, submitting them is a lot easier.
I used Walmart Photo Center because their price for a 4X6 is .09 cents and Costco's price for a 4X6 is .13 cents.
And Walmart will ship the prints to your house for free.
I ordered all my prints as 4X6s. Obviously there are some I want as bigger prints, but my goal was just to get them printed and in albums.
When submitting your pictures, submitting several small orders rather that just one large order, will help ensure you get all the prints you want. I found that loading too many in one order meant that some didn't load correctly.
Also each separate order (at least through Walmart's photo center) is boxed and mailed separately so if you are trying to keep pictures categorized that will help SO much, verse getting one large order and having all the prints mixed together. And since shipping is free it's not a big deal!
Step 5: Buy your albums and get your pictures in them!
I had a hard time finding albums in the store. And actually so did the sales associates.
Strangely enough, the photo albums were not in the photo section at Walmart. They were by the wedding stuff. Go figure.
I found some basic black albums for 4X6s for $5 each.
When I ordered my pictures, I kept the orders separate for each person, but not by event. So when they arrived I had all of Rhett's pictures for example, but they were mixed birth through now.
I didn't worry about getting them perfectly in chronological order.
For me it worked to separate them into three piles, baby, toddler and now.
Depending on your family and your pictures three piles/categories seem to be an easy way to get some sense of chronological order without going crazy trying to get it exact.
But here are a few more tips.
1. OMG how will I EVER HAVE TIME TO DO THIS?!?!
Don't feel overwhelmed!! I did this over a week, whenever I had 15 minutes I would go through safe some pictures to the right folders and then come back to it later. It really was fun going back and seeing pictures we hadn't looked at in forever.
2. This all sounds great, but what if I don't have it in my budget to print a bazallion pictures?
If your budget doesn't allow to print them all at once, don't stress! It's awesome that 4X6's are .09 cents. Total I spent about $65 to get the boy pictures printed (this included the albums) but I haven't printed the pictures of Jake and I yet. It wasn't in our budget, but at least now they are organized so when I go next month to get them printed, it will be just submitting them and getting them in the albums.
3. So it's great that I'm now caught up, but what about all the pictures I'll be taking in the future?
What we are doing is every time we need to clear our phones to create more space, I put all the new pictures into new folders, one for each family member. We also clear our Nikon then too. Now that I'm caught up, it takes me less that 5 minutes to do organize them and I can spend some where between $5 and $10 a month on printing the most recent pictures so that we can enjoy them somewhere besides our computer screen.