I consider myself to be a fairly organized person, but I admit to pushing photo organization to the very bottom of my list. That means I’ve got a zillion photos on my DSLR and smartphone, and the rest are scattered about my computer in oddly named files that seemed like good titles until I went to try to find them.

As it turns out, organizing photos isn’t rocket science and it really doesn’t take that much time. So I’ve put together these five easy ways to get those photos in order before your kids are old enough to do it themselves.

1. Get those pics off your camera: If you take a lot of photos, then you might want to schedule a designated time to upload your photos from your device to your computer. Pop it in your calendar along with your other appointments, or make yourself feel better about that hour of guilty pleasure reality TV by multi-tasking.

2. It’s all in the name: Here’s a smart idea–consider creating a file system based on events (“first day of school” “Carolyn’s shower”) rather than years, since your computer will automatically include the date in the file details. Then create sub-folders by year or your kid’s name for easy tracking. You’ll find it much easier to label your individual photos this way. Promise.

Eye-Fi Wireless photo uploading

3. The cloud is your friend: Once you get your existing photos organized, consider using a device that allows you to save your photos right to handy sites like Flickr. Think the Eye-Fi card (right), a camera with wireless, or settings on your smartphone that let you back up to the cloud. This way, you can access them anywhere, and you can utilize that service’s organizational system to help keep track.

4. Get a manager: Plenty of awesome programs, like Picasa, can be downloaded or installed right to your computer to manage your photos (and edit them too!) as soon as you upload them. Then you can easily print out the albums or just create organized online albums with a few clicks of a button.

5. Back that thing up!: Wherever you decide to keep your photos, you want to be sure they’re backed up. If you don’t have a trusty external hard drive, start with a flash drive for each year of photos (or each kid) stored in a fire proof box.

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