Ah, the joy of memories. A single glance at one of your personal photos can trigger a tidal wave of festive vibes. Unquestionably, the beauty of having access to a plethora of pleasant reminders is a blessing. However, it’s not uncommon for a few to become lost in the ever-growing shuffle. But by taking the time to organize your online and paper photo albums, photos dating back 20 years can be tracked down in the flash of a camera!

Start by gathering all your boxes of photos together, and dragging every miscellaneous digital picture into one folder on your computer. The more you can dig up — the richer the memento you’ll create! Once you’re satisfied with what you’ve found, devote an entire day to sitting down and sorting through them. Some great ideas for separating a large collection are by year, season or event. Keep these new sub-collections in clear plastic bags for the time being.

Next, for referencing purposes, flip each photo over and write down an approximate date for the event; be sure to use a thin pen that won’t bleed! Next decide where all the sorted images are going. Would you prefer to keep them in hardcover albums, paper scrapbooks or individual frames? For computer images, store them in a special hard drive folder and then back everything up on CDs. You can even upload the files to a photo-sharing Web site; your loved ones will appreciate having instant access to them!

Once the keepsakes are finished, place the decorative-looking albums on your bookshelves and put the rest in sturdy boxes; check to ensure that the storage products are acid and lignin free. Nothing should tarnish your hard work — or cloud those precious memories!