Organizing our most precious photos and documents for safekeeping is a task that seems to be on everyone’s to-do list – but faced with the demands of everyday life, these projects often fall by the wayside.
Tackling piles of old family photos or hunting for wills and insurance info can be emotionally draining, so we put it off for another day. But when we have time to ourselves and imagine the pitfalls that could result from the loss of important documents or family photographs in an emergency, we’re left wondering where the time has gone – and why we didn’t take action sooner.
Not to worry – with a little step-by-step guidance, you can organize your most important photos and documents with minimal stress and aggravation, so you’ll never have to go through the agony of losing the belongings most important to you and your family.
Take these first three steps to organize your photos and vital info for your loved ones:
#1: Prioritize Your Projects
Our “Be Ready” Checklist is a simple worksheet that can help you prioritize your projects.
First, ask yourself the following questions:
-Who do you love? This could be your kids, spouse, parents, or beloved pet, for example.
-What if something happens (i.e., a hurricane, flood, fire, unexpected death of a loved one, stolen computer, etc.)?
-How could an adverse event affect your loved ones? Would your photos or memories be lost?
-Would all of your important data be accessible in the event of an emergency or natural disaster?
#2: Review Your To-Do List
Gather all of your important, vital “life documents”, like birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, trust documents, and insurance information. Scan these documents, then file the originals in your very own “Grab-n-Go Kit”.
This kit is simply an easy to carry binder or case that you can grab when an emergency strikes. Be sure to also keep a flash drive with all scanned documents in your kit.
Photos and memories should be gathered onto one drive. For old boxes of photos, albums or kids’ artwork, have them digitized. This collection of files should be backed up. Keep another flash drive, for digital photos, in your “Grab-n-Go Kit” for safe keeping.
What do we mean when we say, “back-up”? Include an “off-site” back-up, like a copy at a friend’s house or a cloud-based copy with a service like CrashPlan or BackBlaze. We highly recommend an automated service – consider it your digital insurance policy.
In addition, make sure your family and friends’ contact information is up to date in your phone. Include info for people like grandma’s neighbor or friend (in the case of a “non-techie” family member that might not get a text). This makes communication in the event of an emergency much easier. Also, program your emergency contact information on your smartphone locked screen. This will allow a stranger to reach your loved one, in case of an emergency.
Don’t forget to let a spouse or a trusted family member know about your system. You don’t need to give someone complete access to your info, however, some direction is important in case you were suddenly unavailable.
Finally, fill in the gaps. You’ve organized the stuff you have to keep and the stuff you want to keep – now it’s time to decide what might be missing. Are your medical directives in place? Is your will up to date? Remember, anytime you have a life change, and this could be a marriage, new baby, divorce, or death in the family, you’ll want to revisit all of the areas above and update them if necessary.
#3: Enjoy Your New-Found Peace of Mind
Finally, it’s time, after all of that hard work, to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you and your loved ones will be ready to tackle any challenge that life may have in store.
Our signature “Be Ready” Checklist is a simple worksheet that we use to help clients prioritize their projects. Each of the to-do areas above are included in the Checklist, and will help you prioritize your projects and tasks.
Download the Be Ready Checklist for Yourself in order to get prepared to save the info you want for the ones you love.
Want to learn even more? Explore Digital Backups with Diana and OXO 123 in our exclusive how-to video.