One of the biggest struggles people face when downsizing, is what to do with all the photo albums – pictures of earlier family life, old homes we’ve owned, family members who have long since passed. It strikes at the heart of sentimentality, yet it’s impractical to consider packing all of them up and taking them with you when space is limited. The reality is that old photo albums are seldom looked at, yet represent a lot of family history we are apprehensive about discarding.
Here’s some suggestions:
- Go through albums methodically, selecting only the pictures that are truly memorable family events. While you’re at it, label the back with the event and names of people in the picture. Aim to reduce each album by at least 2/3rds. Where there are multiple pictures of the same event, select one or two.
- Consider transferring photos into a photo box, capable of holding several hundred pictures. Use dividers to separate the pictures by event or year. Ten or fifteen albums worth of pictures can be stored in one photo box and take up the space of a shoe box on a closet shelf.
- Consider making a new album for each child which has pictures of them growing up, along with pictures of general family events. Give them to each child to keep at THEIR home.
- Think long and hard as to whether you need to save travel memorabilia. Do you need the train tickets from your trip across Europe 20 years ago? If you chose to save them, consider what you’ll dispose of in order to accommodate the storage space required to keep them.
- Do you have years of family pictures on slides? You can purchase a slide converter which will store hundreds of pictures digitally. Then, dispose of the original slides which tend to take up a lot of space. Again, think about the slides you are keeping. Are they meaningful?
- Pictures in photo frames can be removed from the frame and stored in a file. You can purchase acid-free file folders at any stationary store. Label the back of the picture and donate the frames. This will save vast amounts of space.
Photo sorting can be an enjoyable but time consuming process – it should be accomplished long before a move is in the works. Consider adding this task to your to do list for the near future so that when the time comes to move, your pictures are ready to go with you. And when you’re done, be sure to brag to all of your friends that you have this job complete. You’ll be greatly admired because this task often met with trepidation. Enjoy the walk down memory lane but aim to reduce the collection to those pictures worthy of the space they will consume in your new home.