Preservation: Get Organized and Record Your Family’s Memories

momhome management

“Moms Make Memories”. Those were the three little words embroidered across a lovely pillow my husband gave me on my very first Mother’s Day. Our daughter was six months old at the time and I was giddy – yes, giddy - with the mothering possibilities that lay ahead. Our son was born two years later, and I enthusiastically threw myself into every aspect of raising our kids.

In pursuit of my memory-making role in our family, I was Room Mom, Team Mom, Scout Mom, Band Mom, Sunday School Mom, PTA Mom, School Play Mom, Whatever Mom! If there was an opportunity to get involved or volunteer, I grabbed it. I was helping make memories, it was FUN for my kids and me, and I loved doing it. While I wasn’t a Tiger Mom, my kids turned out OK. They’re in college now, and they seem to be happy, healthy, confident, thoughtful, hard-working, positive contributors to society. What more could I (or they) ask, right?

Wrong! If only my husband had given me a “Moms PRESERVE Memories” pillow! Our family has great memories – in fact, wonderful memories - but with all of the busy that came with making those memories, I never got around to actually preserving them for my kids, or sharing them with our extended family. Don’t get me wrong, we have pictures, lots and lots of pictures. They are in boxes, and cabinets, and files on my computer, but there are no dates or stories to go with them and without that organization, it’s hard for our kids to remember the specific events of their childhoods.

I know it’s silly, but I feel that I’ve failed miserably in my role as our family’s Chief Memory Maker, even though I’ve been a really good mom. What’s the point of creating a memory if your kids can’t actually remember it? So I’m writing this cautionary tale to keep others from making the same mistake I did. Make your memories, but preserve and share them as you go. Don’t wait until it’s an overwhelming job to make those photo albums and memory books.

Because she’s such a kind and encouraging person, and she assures me that I haven’t failed and am not alone, Photo Organizer Cathi Nelson has the following great tips.

Tips to Help You Preserve Memories

Eliminate the Guilt and Anxiety

  • Think about why you took the photos in the first place: to remember. You don’t need to remember everything. Think instead about the lessons you want to impart or the traditions you would like to pass on, like favorite family holidays, people who love you, or my wish for you.
  • Gather the photos that relate to a theme and create one photo album. You don’t need hundreds of photos; just find the photos that tell the story.
  • Write a few notes that capture why these memories are important and add them to the album.
  • Scan your boxes of photos so they are in a digital format.

Adopt a Simple Plan

  • Download photos within a day or so after an event, deleting the duplicate and bad shots right away.
  • Use the ABCs of photo organizing: A photos go into an Album, B photos go back in a photo safe Box or are Backed up, C photos go in the “Can or recycle bin” because they really aren’t necessary. How do you sort the gems from the garbage? Choose photos to keep based on the S, do they tell a Story?
  • Sort your photos by theme, rather than by date. Your photos are then ready for future album creation.

How do you organize and record your family's memories? What are some helpful tips and tricks that have helped you keep everything recorded?

[Photo Credit]

Cathi Nelson has been helping clients with their photos for over 17 years. She is the founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers with members throughout the US, Canada & Australia and the owner of her own photo organizing business, PhotoSimplified. She is a mom, sister, wife and lover of photos and stories. is an online family management system that provides ONE place to safely store and manage memories and household information, including education, health, possession, contact records and more.  It then makes that information work for you by auto-magically producing family newsletters, hard copy photo memory books, paper greeting cards that mail themselves, college application info summaries, caregiver instructions, home and vehicle maintenance summaries, and capital gains reports.

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Jen Tilley


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