A common client question we receive is “What should I do with all my photographs and family movies? I don’t want to throw them away.” If you are over 50, chances are you have boxes of cherished photos, slides and home movies. Organizing these memories can be a rewarding experience as you recall key moments in your life. Once everything is sorted, you can easily access, share and enjoy your memories while keeping them protected from deterioration.
Despite the benefits, many people procrastinate in organizing photos and home movies because it seems daunting. Don’t worry; there are ways to make this type of project easy!
For example, you can watch a movie while you sort, or invite someone over who will appreciate your stories and memories to help you. You may also consider breaking the work into smaller, more manageable segments and celebrating your progress as you complete each one.
The following are some steps to help guide you as you begin organizing:
First, determine which photos, home movies or slides you want to keep, throwaway or gift to someone else. Use shoeboxes or baggies with labels on them to stay organized. For your home movies, get a box and collect them all in one place; sort by labels if they have any and watch then label ones that don’t. Take your time and allow yourself to savor memories of your friends, family and meaningful life events.
2) THROW AWAY
Let go of photos, slides and home movies that hold no memory, evoke no emotional response or are simply not worth keeping. Let go of the bad photos, duplicates and twenty pictures you took of the same squirrel in the yard. Be selective and then shred or recycle throwaways.
The act of giving is an opportunity to show your loved ones you’re thinking of them. Package photos, slides and home movies you are planning to gift and include a note. Relive these memories with the recipient and encourage them to do the same with others. This gift may also provide them with one-of-a-kind photos or duplicates they can share.
Find a service to help digitize or preserve your photos, slides and home movies you’ve selected to keep. You can hire a scanning service like Legacy Box, or individuals from websites like Task Rabbit to scan photos for you. Scanning services are also available at many local big box stores like Costco and Staples.
5) DO IT YOURSELF
If a professional service sounds too expensive or you don’t want to mail in your photos, consider smartphone apps like Photomyne. These apps allow you to scan individual pictures or complete photo album pages with your smartphone. You can also buy a home scanner or a specialized photo scanner if you have negatives or slides. While the DIY options require more time, they can be much cheaper than a service once you have the equipment.
Storing your memories digitally allows you to access them anywhere, share easily, create digital photo albums and gifts, and protect them in the event of a disaster. There are many different storage options from cloud storage to external hard drives. According to the article How to Store Digital Photographs, external hard drives store lots of information but if damaged could lose all your photos. Storing photos or videos with cloud storage removes the risk of a physical device being damaged. However, when choosing a cloud storage service make sure it’s with a reputable company like Amazon Prime, Google Photos, Dropbox, Picasa or Snapfish who likely won’t go out of business. To save time in the future, it’s a good habit to store your photos and videos digitally as you take them.
Once you digitize your photos, slides and home movies, you can decide if you want to keep any of the originals, gift them or simply throw them away. For any special originals you want to keep, you may want to consider museum-quality storage, albums, framing and preservation supplies to reduce deterioration. Explore The American Museum of Photography’s website for things to consider when storing or displaying your special photos.
You are now ready to create and share personalized gifts, photo albums, digital photo frames and special movie-moments from your collection. Having all your memories in digital form makes organizing easy and finding memories as simple as searching by date or name. And if you saved and framed any physical copies you can put them on display for you, your family and guests to enjoy.
Although organizing your photos can be a process, the rewards for preserving your memories for generations to come are well worth the effort. Taking some time to organize your home videos and photos can help reduce stress and clutter in your life.
Need some accountability to keep you on track with planning and organizing? Contact us today and learn more about how we can help empower you to thrive.
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