I was recently reminded of something author Gretchen Rubin said about this time of year: “September is the other January. Do you feel as though the beginning of the school year marks a ‘clean slate’ that helps you start new habits?”

Gretchen is right. This month is a great time to undertake a new routine, and as a personal photo organizer I would be remiss in not reminding you that September is #SaveYourPhotos month. For the next 30 days, I’ll be sharing small, actionable steps you can take to preserve your personal photo collection. These will be posted on my social feeds so check back frequently. These suggestions are meant to jump-start the creation of a new habit: one that you will be glad you undertook!

There are many facets to consider when preserving your photos, but since this time of year marks the start of hurricane season in much of the US, making sure your images are backed up in at least one cloud storage is crucial. Additionally you should also have your collection backed up on a couple of external hard drives with one stored off site. There are too many heartbreaking stories of families losing their home to floods and fires lately – and their photos are often not backed up (or scanned in the first place).

This is where scanning prints comes in as another excellent and important way to save your photos. If something unfortunate should happen to any physical prints, having digital copies will ensure they are not lost forever. I wish I had this option when I lost most of my childhood family photos in a house fire a few decades ago.

And don’t forget about your old home movies! These need to be digitized as well and converted to a current viewing profile. VHS tapes, super 8 film, 16mm film and pretty much any old format you can think of can be saved and digitized.

Lastly, if you are inspired to start the task of generally organizing your photos yourself and would like a guide, check out APPO founder Cathi Nelson’s excellent book on the subject: Photo Organzing Made Easy.

Have a super September!