In 2014, according to Mary Meeker's annual Internet Trends report, people uploaded an average of 1.8 billion digital images every single day. That was five years ago, and I think we would all agree that number has significantly increased for all of us since then, right? We have better cameras, picture-based social media is more intimately tied to our lifestyle, our jobs, or real-life community, and we get more free data than ever before, so might as well snap away!

All this documenting of our lives is important, and valuable in the short and long term, BUT if we don’t care for these images, we jeopardize their existence. That’s right, here is your reminder: digital files that are not cared for, will eventually be lost… possibly forever.

1- files corrupt - this is just a plain fact. It happens sometimes and it is often not fixable, so save your files, and save in more than one place, automatically or make it a once a month practice. For example, have your photos in Google Photos and the Apple iCloud. You can also use Dropbox, or Google Drive to store files and photos. You can easily setup an auto sync process to your computer or phone.

2- How to keep it all organized - Create a filing system that makes sense for you. For me, I make folders by year, then by category like: “Documentary Family Photos”, “Events”, “Personal Photos”. Then in each one is a subfolder: “Smith Family, Johnson Family, etc” , “Sophia’s 1st birthday party”, London’s Christening, etc”, “Our Guatemala trip, Xmas in North Carolina", etc.”

3- Get started - I know it seems like we are working backwards here, but now that you’ve considered points 1 & 2, you are ready to consider point 3, how to get started. Google has gotten so good these days at organizing your photos for you, with face and location recognition. You can quickly have Google search through your photos by year, and locate people or places to start making your folders. Once you’ve done this, figure out your back up method as referenced in step 1 and do the organizing referenced in step 2.

It’s daunting, but actually super simple. It just may take a little time initially. It’s important! Good luck!