My mother-in-law at 85 wanted to create family photo albums for various family members, and she really enjoyed reminiscing for months as she hand picked each shot from an enormous pile of yellowing photographs and old albums.
Most of us are intimidated by our piles of photos and never get around to organizing them. However, if you consider that you are just going in to grab the 'highlights' and leave the rest for another day, it's a much less daunting task. You can always come back later for more.
1. Take a look to see how much you have and maybe start with a single topic or person.
2. Think of the photos like a deck of cards and rapidly shuffle them into piles of good and bad. The great thing is that we used to keep a lot of lousy photos because we had to pay to develop them. Go only for the gold.
3. If you are pulling some from an album, leave a little post it tab in its place. I usually number the physical albums and place the # on the back of the photo so I can reassemble them easier when done.
4. Look at your good pile. Now consider in 50 years' time whether anyone will care about each shot. Keep in mind however that a lousy picture of Great Aunt Jane is essential if its the only picture of Great Aunt Jane.
5. Reshuffle your piles again and again, narrowing down to the ones you really, really want.
6. I like to have all my pictures in a digital format because I know I can back them all up. Once I scan them in, I return them to their albums or dump them into bins so the kids can play with them.
7. If you like to have your printed photos saved in an organized manner, this home storage blog has a wealth of suggestions.