When I got going on this year's spring cleaning, the ritual started with my laptop. There weren't any dust bunnies between the keys, but when I opened my digital photo library, you would think I was a likely candidate for a TV show on hoarding. I needed to get the chaos under control, but the organizing task seemed more daunting than tackling closets or even our garage.
I signed up for a group iPhoto session at my local Apple retail store and happily got support but not just the techie kind. As we attendees introduced ourselves, the woman next to me unapologetically admitted that her digital photo library had surged like a tsunami from 5,000 to 22,000 images since the birth of her grandchild. I immediatley started to feel better.
Inspired to clear out my digital clutter, I decided to tame the images while on a visit to my 87-year-old mom's home in California. "I've never seen that one," she'd say over my shoulder as I clicked through pictures of three years of milestones, meals and family trips. Once I had flagged 50 of her "must haves," including downloads I snitched from her grandkids' Facebook pages, it hit me that instead of making prints, I could "publish" a photo book for a unique Mother's Day gift.
Easy to create through computer programs, photo-sharing sites, discount stores and pharmacies, a collection of photos can come together in a nifty thin volume starting at $10. Get started now, and you'll have the treasured coffee-table book in time for
Think of more themes for other reasonably priced books that will get your photos out of hiding. It's another way to make them worth taking in the first place.
Here are some ideas:
New baby in the house? Keep a file of the best shots of the year, and make a book annually on your child's birthday. Send it to grandparents and great-grandparents. As their annual collection grows, enjoy thumbing through the photo yearbooks with your kids when you stop by for a visit.
Vacation memories 2012. Create a book this year and in years to come featuring a trip you enjoy with your kids or with extended family. Make copies for each family for a holiday gift this December.
Mark a 2012 milestone. Assemble all the photos from your child's graduation celebration, sports season or other event, and put the milestone under one cover.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."