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  • Cheryl DiFrank

Are you hiding your photos in your underwear drawer?

So this is my first blog post. A big deal. A launch pad. What do I write about? How to organize your photos? How to backup your photos? How to take great photos? No, I decided to focus on the end game – actually enjoying your photos. Isn’t that why we take them in the first place? Enjoying, reliving, sharing, uniting….

Over the 21 years that I’ve known my husband, he has given me several pieces of very nice jewelry. Some of them were expensive and so I diligently hide them in my underwear drawer to keep them safe, and to eventually hand down to my children, because the pieces are so special and meaningful. But I hardly ever wear them. Some of them my children have never even seen. Unfortunately, I have never gotten in the habit of wearing diamonds to a PTA meeting or when I’m working from my home office. So I just keep them safe, knowing that they will make someone very happy one day.

The question is: Why do I hide such special things away when I could be enjoying them now, sharing their stories with my kids now? Wouldn’t they be more meaningful to my husband, myself and my children if they could see me wearing them now and knew the stories of when I received them?

Does the same thing happen to your photos? We take thousands of photos every year to preserve all these wonderful memories and stories. And then we tuck them away in a box or on a hard drive until we’ve got all that free time to organize them and put them into albums. But when was the last time you actually went back and looked at the photos you took from the last birthday party, or that fantastic vacation? Did you share the photos with your kids so you could all relive it together? Or, like the jewelry, do you just make sure the photos are safe and you’ll get around to looking at them later, and handing down a photo collection of yours and your children’s lives, many of which they have never even seen?

Often the only reason we even download the photos is to regain storage space on our phone or camera memory card, a message that we inevitably get just minutes before the recital or the birthday party. So then we hurriedly download months of photos while the rest of the family is waiting in the car, heading for the next photo-worthy event. Going back and leisurely looking at the photos ends up on the to-do list right between “organize sock drawer” and “teach the dog to use the toilet.” We think: The photos will be there. I can look at them when I retire. Hopefully I’ll remember who everyone is.

With digital cameras and phones, we take millions more photos than we ever did with film cameras. But do we ever take the time to go back and look at them, enjoy them, share them? Sometimes it can feel daunting because there are so many of them. Photos tell a story, momentarily bring back a lost loved one, highlight the happiness and fun when we need it, teach us about our past. Don’t let all those memories linger in boxes or on hard drives (or in your underwear drawer) when they could be spreading joy out in the daylight.

Stay tuned for my next post about some easy ways to actually enjoy and share your photos, whether print or digital. It’s easier than you think so there’s no reason to put it off!

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