How to Keep Your Memory Cards Organized

Memory cards are little and easy to lose, misplace and otherwise not have handy when you need them most. So how do you keep them organized and know which ones you can just pick up and use?

There are probably many different ways to do this but here’s what works for me.

What I Use to Keep it Together

I did lots of research a while back and chose the Pixel Pocket Rocket from Think Tank.

Pixel Pocket Rocket by ThinkTank (Photo: Kim Olson)

This thing is awesome for keeping every card I have in one place. I can’t exactly compare it to other holders since this is the only one I’ve ever needed or owned, and it’s done wonders for me.

The loop is nice because I use it to either hook onto my pants (like when I was shooting weddings and needed the cards close to me at all times) or I’ll hook it onto an easily-accessible area on whatever bag I’m carrying so I can find all of my cards quickly.

The Back Side

The back of the Pixel Pocket Rocket & space for business cards (photo: Kim Olson)

That meshy gray area holds business cards and I suppose it can be useful, but honestly I found that if you use every memory card slot inside, the holder gets really puffed up and your business cards will get bent (and then of course not be all that presentable).

And it’s also super hard to put anything in if you have lots of cards in there because the velcro can only stretch so far to keep the thing closed. It’s a nice idea but didn’t work so well for me in execution.

The Inside

A look inside the Pixel Pocket Rocket (Photo: Kim Olson)

The Pocket Rocket holds up to 10 memory cards and most of the time I keep it pretty full. Depending on the situation I may only need one card at a time, but usually when I’m out and about shooting I want access to most of my cards. Sometimes, though, I’ll leave this at the hotel and then just bring 1-2 cards for the day.

The Organization Strategy (& you can use other holders to do this, too)

Here’s the best part. I can open up the Pocket Rocket and quickly see which card I can grab right now if I need to start shooting right away.

I devised a little system for each of the different states my memory cards could be in:

  • Ready to Go – The label is facing out and the card is upside down (to minimize debris falling into the open spots on the card). I can grab this card, insert it & shoot on it right now.
  • Need to Download – I turn the card around so the back is facing out (and it’s still upside down). This card has new images on it that I need to download & backup before using again.
  • Need to Format – The back of the card’s still facing out, but I’ve rotated it 90 degrees. I’ve already downloaded & backed up these photos but the card’s still full & needs to be reformatted in camera (Which is usually better than deleting on the computer. It helps keep your cards in the best working condition & reduce corruption.)

Simply by flipping the card around into different orientations, I know what I need to do next with each one.

Memory Card & Their Status (Photo: Kim Olson)

These are the three main statuses my cards will be in at any given time. I usually like to have them in the “Ready to Go” state, of course, but that’s not always possible, especially after a long day of shooting or if I’m on a trip where I didn’t bring a backup method with me (which doesn’t happen often since I don’t want to lose any images if I can help it).

Other Card Holder Options

For those of you who need water protection or prefer a hard-sided case, this isn’t gonna work for you quite the same, but I know there are some other solutions that would suit you better.

And if you don’t use compact flash cards, obviously this doesn’t quite work since the slots may be too big. Think Tank does actually make one like this that is designed for SD cards, if you use those.

And That’s All Folks

This may have seemed like a review of the Pocket Rocket, and I guess it kinda turned out that way, but I really just wanted to show you how I keep my cards in order and the system I use to do that. If nothing else, find and implement a consistent way of keeping track of your cards that works for you so you can always find your cards and don’t have to worry about shooting over or erasing images you still need.

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One Response to How to Keep Your Memory Cards Organized

  1. Carol May 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    My memory cards have been very disorganized. Thanks for the good tips.