Over the past week I have embarked on the mammoth task of sorting out old photographs.  When my mother died I cleared her house and so ended up with all her albums to add to my own considerable pile.  Now that I am downscaling I am having to think about whether I want to lug all these albums with me.  I seldom look at them, and as I have no children, there is no-one after me who will be really interested.

Looking around and talking to friends I have heard of several creative ways of dealing with this problem.  I have found several options:

  1. Saving them to Disk.  Buying a ‘terabit’ external hard drive and storing them there is one option.  However it will involve many, many hours of scanning the pictures, and I know my old photographs are starting to fade.  My mother’s black and whites, however, will probably come up beautifully when scanned, the pictures are tiny and one could probably put many on an A4 page.  There is, however, the risk that the hard drive could crash and you lose the lot, so backups would be essential, but where to back up – a second external drive?
  2. Simply reducing the number of photos. This is where I have started.   I already have a small box packed with all the discards.  As somebody mentioned, the number of photos needed to jog your memory of a good trip is minimal.  I have found that for a 2-week trip if it was great, I have anything up to 50 pictures.  So I have tried reducing each trip to around 10, maximum of 16 pictures.  I have also found that every house I have owned has been photographed many times over – before, during and after – which makes it easy to cull.  I have also discovered how many times I have photographed my dogs all doing the same things!
  3. Photobook. This is where you select the best photos to tell a story, with free software you drop it into a book which you then get printed and bound.  When I was on holiday I was shown a photobook that someone in his 80’s had made of his childhood.  It was a beautiful summary of his earlier days.  This got me thinking about perhaps making a photo book of all my travels (I do love it and have been fortunate to have done quite a bit over the years).
  4. Ditch the lot because you never look at them anyway!

I am on a mission to, at least, halve my own photo albums.  My sister has set herself the project of making a photo book to include our grandparents and our years of growing up on the farm.  So that leaves my mother’s albums with all the little black and white photos that perhaps need to be carefully selected and stored online for everyone to share!

Wow, that is two or three large shelves cleared already!  I would love to know what you plan to do with all your old photos.  Any other creative suggestions?

Best wishes,