Treasured memories and traditions are often captured with photographs. Especially with cell phones and iPods, catching every moment is not only a part of our daily lives, it has become a social custom. To insure your images don’t get stuck in your phone or printed photographs aren’t shoved into drawers or shoeboxes or displayed in albums that will fade over time, here are some suggestions for keeping your memories in good shape to pass on to future generations:
PHOTO SORTING – Set up a comfortable space in your house where you have room to work. To help time pass, play music or your favorite movie as you sort… although, don’t forget to stop and enjoy the memories as you go.
SET A GOAL – This project will take time. To insure you don’t get overwhelmed or defeated, set a goal that you know you can achieve. I suggest starting by removing photos from old or damaged albums.
PICK A SYSTEM – Set out a couple photo-safe storage boxes. Create a category for each box and sort your photos into the boxes. Sorting chronologically or by events, people, activities or themes are good places to start your system. As you are sorting, separate events, seasons or years with index cards or recipe cards. This will help you when you scrapbook them later.
BE SELECTIVE – As you are sorting, make three piles: toss, doubles to give away and keep. When you are done, throw away the toss pile and give away the doubles to friends or family members.
SENTIMENTAL SORTING – Treat rare or irreplaceable photographs as valuable heirlooms and make sure they are not stored in high heat, moisture or sunlight. And, pictures that have personal or emotional value are important to keep, even if they are not focused or exposed perfectly.
KEEP RECORDS – As you are sorting, write down important details, names, why you love the photo or the memories they bring back to you. Although that information is vivid now, you probably won’t remember in years to come. To preserve your memories [and the photo], make sure you don’t use sticky notes or write on the backs of photos. Write your notes on a separate piece of paper.
DIGITAL ARCHIVING – Scanning and electronically archiving photos will save the physical space of boxes. If you save your photos on CDs or DVDs, make sure you transfer your files to a new storage device every 5 years, insuring that the devices don’t degrade over time.
ALBUMS – Once your photos are sorted, you are ready to create photo albums. Whether you make scrapbooks, slip-in albums, collages or digital books, consider making topical albums: one for each child with life’s highlights in chronological order, vacations, Christmases or extended family and friends and so on.
PRESERVE YOUR PHOTOS – After getting photos developed, make it a rule to sort and store them within a week (and archive names, places, etc). As you are working, be aware of what you are storing or displaying your memories in. Boxes, bins or bags that are not “Photographic Activity Test Certified” may damage your photos over time.
GET HELP – After you start sorting and organizing your photos, if you become overwhelmed or overcome with procrastination, ask someone to help you. Come To Order can help you sort your photos and create a schedule so you complete your project and lasting memories for years to come.