My pictures are very important to me. Figuring out a photo storage solution for tiny living has been one of the most difficult decisions to make. When we decided to travel full-time in our RV I needed to find a storage solution that would not only keep my digital photos organized but also let me enjoy my photo albums that I had created before digital. I have spent countless hours and a ton of money scrapbooking and making my family albums. The dilemma? What is the best photo storage solution? How do I take my albums on the road? There are too many and they are too heavy! I can give them to my children and I will, but how could keep and enjoy them while I was living a tiny life.
I created many scrapbook photo albums. These albums are the only pictures I have of my children. It would be a great loss to lose them in a fire or similar disaster. Downsizing to tiny living meant I had to come up with a solution.
Photo Organization For Tiny Living
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After the company, I was using to do both paper and digital scrapbooking closed its door, I found a company that had a great concept of photo storage. Since I had gone digital and wasn’t paper scrapbooking anymore, I was using a software that helped me create digital pages. I was still printing the pages I created through and filling up bulky albums. The company Forever believes in protecting our pictures and helping us create storybooks (photo album books) with them. They had developed the awesome software I was using to do my photo scrapbooking called Artisan.
Photo & Photo Album Storage Solutions
Forever’s tagline is Collect, Curate and Celebrate Your Memories Now and for Generations. Inspiring right? I didn’t work so hard preserving my family's memories to just let them rot. Not when there was a solution. Forever offers scanning and media conversion to help you get your pictures out of boxes and storage and into a format you can use. They also offer permanent storage… Storage that is yours and will-able to your children for 100 years! It will hold all of your family memories and you can give access to others to share your pictures, albums, and pages. It also guarantees that as the types of media changes (i.e. jpg, mp3, mp4, png, etc) your pictures will be moved to that media so your great grandchildren will have them in a current media form.
I had always been skeptical of free cloud storage. Yes, they gave me free GB but what if one day they took it away? I had no rights, I didn’t own it. Storage that would be downsized at a company's whim to control their virtual storage needs and costs. I was shocked when I read an from Forever article by Shelley Murray about cloud storage. So often we click to agree to the terms of service and don't even know what we're agreeing to. I am so guilty of that. who has time to read the terms of service? The three things that I learned that set off warnings in me:
“#1 – No Privacy or Security: Digital Rights & Data Mining
This is important. When you upload your photos to these sites, they immediately claim ownership of the digital rights to your photos. To my knowledge, all cloud storage sites are like this, with the exception of Dropbox. To follow are some excerpts from the Terms of Service from several popular photo storage companies as of Feb. 2016:
Google: “When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host store, reproduce, modify, communicate and publicly display such content.” Also, “Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails). … This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”
#2 – No Permanence
Do you trust that your photos will be available on these sites tomorrow? You should. Yet, according to the Terms of Service, there are no guarantees.
iCloud: “Apple may at any time, under certain circumstances and without prior notice, immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Account.”
Shutterfly: “We may terminate your access to our Sites and Apps and to your account at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice.”
Drop Box: “We also reserve the right to suspend or end the Services at any time at our discretion and without notice.”
#3 – No Succession Plan
What happens to your photos if you die? Will your loved ones know which sites they are stored on? What about the passwords? What if you have them stored on a site in which you pay a monthly fee? Will your family know to continue paying that bill for the next 50 years? What happens if your monthly payments are not made? Yes, your account will be terminated. Your photos, taken down. Sadly your photos will not outlive you; none of these sites guarantee a succession plan. Basically, according to all of the available Terms of Service, these accounts terminate upon your death and they cannot be transferred to anyone else.
iCloud: “You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Content within your Account terminate upon your death.”
Nothing is ever free. These terms of service can even be there when we pay for storage. Read your terms carefully and decide if you can live with possibilities.
I had a personal friend who used Shutterfly to make many photo books. she uploaded her photos to the site, created these books, paid to print the books and got them to enjoy. A couple years later, she went back into her account to get a few pictures to share with someone in her family she discovered; 3 things:
- There were pictures missing from her projects. She called support and they told her that she could no longer access the pictures because they weren’t stored anymore.
- When she did download another picture to print, it was not the same quality as when she uploaded it.
- If they still had pictures she wanted to download, she had to pay for them.
Forever can help you in many ways, no matter how you currently handle your printed or digital photos and albums.
My Tiny Living Photo Storage Solution
I purchased a Forever account and started my Forever Photo Storage journey. I scanned in all my albums so I can view them anytime, from wherever I am. I gave my physical albums to my children to enjoy while they last. I am happy to know that my family will enjoy my hard work and wonderful memories for a 100 years or more. I feel secure in the fact that these adventures my husband and I are creating will be there to inspire others to be bold and make their dreams happen.
If you choose to purchase this solution for yourself, you will be helping me spread the word on preserving our photos for generations.
I work hard to preserve my family memories. I want it to last for others to enjoy. This is a solution I can live with. Let me know how you protect your memories in the comments below.