Do you have entirely too many photos of your kids, your relatives and your family spread all over the place? Lots of us have tons of photos that we've long since forgotten, hidden in obscure folders buried deep in forgotten archives or on dusty CDs that--if you're lucky--aren't scratched beyond recognition. If you're interested in archiving those pictures you've taken of your kid's birthday parties for blackmail later on, there are a number of different methods to choose from, each with their own pros and cons.

CD-Rs--Unless you're working on a very old PC or don't have that many photos to archive, CDs are probably the least attractive option. They're cheap, but you also won't be able to store a huge amount of pictures on 700 MB (especially if your digital camera has a very high-resolution). You may find yourself accumulating stacks upon stacks of image CDs, which are easily lost or scratched, destroying all your data.
DVD-Rs--A decent middle ground, DVD-Rs generally hold around 7.4 GB, almost 11 times the storage capacity. DVD burners are fairly inexpensive these days, and most store-bought PCs bought within the last few years should have them equipped standard. Since you can store quite a lot of pictures, you may wish to organize them chronologically so each DVD can be labeled with the relevant dates. Of course, much like CDs, they are prone to scratching, and parents determined to capture every possible moment of their child's life can still acquire a considerable stack of discs.
External Hard Drives (XHDs)--These devices are often quite affordable, especially for the huge amount of storage space they provide. Families who do a lot of video will probably find this the most attractive option, as it would take some doing to fill up even one of the 500 GB XHDs with nothing but pictures. XHDs are coming out with larger and larger storage capacities all the time, with the upper range measure not in gigabytes but in terabytes--which is 1,000,000 MB, or about 1400 CDs, or 135 DVDs. All in a small, compact box that can fit easily in a briefcase or purse. XHDs are more durable than disks, but software or hardware failure can still cause loss of some or all of your data, so you may want to keep a backup copy on a a separate external hard drive.

Online Storage--Lots of places such as or allow you to archive your files on their sites, generally for a nominal fee, dependent on how much you store there. Putting everything online does make it more susceptible to being hacked into, and problems with the online server can also cause your data to be erased unexpectedly. Online storage is probably best used as a backup to one of the other methods, so that if the online copy vanishes, it can be restored from the primary storage media.

Ultimately, virtually any way you can store your digital media carries some risk of it being lost or destroyed. It's often useful to have at least one backup copy of everything, or at least the things you absolutely don't want to lose if the DVD gets scratched or the external hard drive crashes. Alternately, you can also store the most important files on the hard drive of your PC as an additional backup. In the long run, the most cost efficient and least time-consuming option is probably an external hard drive, however, keep in mind that all hard drives will eventually crash!