This post is sponsored by OneDay.com.
My kids’ childhoods are pretty well documented, thus far, obbbbbbviously. I’ve written about them, taken a million photos of them — practically daily, with that cavalier glee that comes with being able to fit thousands of photos on increasingly tiny sticks of memory. NEVER DELETE ANYTHING! WHO CARES! KEEP SNAPPING! Every camera I own shoots video as well, so instead of busting out the camcorder for special events, I have hundreds of tiny clips of tiny slices of their lives: somersaults on the couch, words cutely mangled by toddler tongues, someone slowly dozing off at the dinner table after a big day outside. Perfect.
And yet I’d be hard-pressed to find ANY of it, at any given time. I have both of Jason’s and my baby books stashed in the basement — if either of us want to know what our first word was or see what we looked like on our third birthdays, I could easily drag out the book and flip to the right page in a few minutes.
If my kids were to ever ask for that sort of thing, I’d be more like: Please hold. I have to think where I put that. Also maybe check Google?
It’s all crazy scattered and fragmented, across different sites and devices. There’s a lot of stuff here on the blog, but since I’ve never been really great about keeping things tagged, categorized or keyworded, tracking down specific events and milestones isn’t always that easy. I used Flickr for awhile and then stopped and then started again. I put a bunch of videos on Vimeo but might have also used YouTube once or twice. Creating their birthday montages takes at least two days of file-related preparation every year, since I consistently wait until the last minute to get all the footage off all our devices and onto my computer. There’s the messbomb of my neglected Facebook and a million Instagrams, plus God only knows all the photos on my hard drive and the hard drive I had before this one, and our home back-up server and the cloud and the list goes on and on and on.
It’s never been easier to obsessively document their lives, and it’s never been easier to be a complete half-assed mess about it.
When I was asked to write about OneDay.com — an online service that creates organized, interactive timelines/time capsules for your entire family — I was secretly kind of thinking that oh sure, that sounds great for someone just about to get married or have a baby, but man, it is too late for me. I will never find order in the digital chaos I’ve created.
Luckily, OneDay believed in me. I mean, I’m sure they don’t just give this kind of encouragement to everybody:
In about 20 minutes, I’d imported everything important from just about everywhere, and it was shockingly easy to start segmenting it up — birthdays, vacations, first days of school — assigning events to each kid, overlapping here and there. I now regularly spend a few minutes there each day, and I’ve already got Ike’s timeline almost completely up-to-date, going all the way back to my pregnancy photos.
That right there is some deeply satisfying digital decluttering. Like reorganizing your junk drawer, only without having to vacuum those weird Mystery Crumbs from the corners.
You can also create time capsules for future events, like a note or video for your kid’s high school graduation, and integrate the timelines and contributions of your parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, etc. You know, if you want to go deeply next-level and be a total organized show-off.
(Bonus testimonial aside: While using the site, I was thunderstruck with the realization that I’d finally found the perfect destination for the massive pile of photos, clippings and other mementos of my father’s childhood and early life — a pile that’s been sitting in a box for several years now, waiting for me to organize, scan and preserve…somehow. That last bit always stymied me, because what to DO with all of it, once I’ve turned it all into bits of digital [yet deeply private and personal] ephemera? Put it on another hard drive? Back it up a million places and hope for the best? Burn it to a CD or thumb drive and then give out copies to everybody, like, here’s a bunch of files in no particular order, good luck finding that one wedding photo when they’re all named some variation of DS_SCAN000023897241.jpg and also DON’T EVER LOSE THIS OR LET THIS PARTICULAR TECHNOLOGY GO OBSOLETE? Nope, my next project will be to get everything on OneDay and then share the account with my mom and siblings, so they can add their own photos, videos and memories to the timeline, and then probably hail me as the conquering Internet hero for life.)
Check out OneDay.com and use the code Amalah to lock yourself in a free LIFETIME account (up to 25 GB). Woot!