Though it is always fun to look through old photos and reminisce, we rarely do this, so I have decided it is time to find a better way to organise old family photos and create a lovely organised photo collection.
How to Organise Old Family Photos
Sorting and organising old family photos can be a very daunting task, especially when you have boxes of them, but you have to start sometime or it will never happen. Obviously, this is something that is not going to happen overnight. It is a good idea to pace yourself and take breaks as needed. There is so much to think about – sorting, culling, storing, digitalising, and tossing. One thing to remember to do is to label, label and label!
One of the best places to start is with the albums, which can break easily, take up lots of space and can help in the deterioration of your photos. Carefully remove the photos from the albums, making sure to label and sort them as you go. Now is the time to discard the photos that are blurry, doubles or have thumbs etc in them. Also, if you have photos in envelopes, check to see whether there are dates on the pack and if there are negatives in there as well.
I personally like to keep our photos in the month and year order they were taken, so would have a pile for January 2000, February 2000 etc. Sometimes this can be hard, so maybe organising in families, decades, categories or places might suit you better.
Developing a Plan
Once you have all your photos sorted, it is time to think about what you are going to do with these photos.
Do you want to keep these hard copies?
What about creating digital copies of these photos?
And what about the negatives?
Hopefully, your photo collection has been culled as you sorted through it, leaving a small pile to store. If you want to keep the hard copies, one of the best ways to store these old photos is in shoe box-sized boxes or photo storage boxes. These can be labelled and are easy to move around if needed. If you have larger photos, they may need to be stored in document boxes. The same goes for the negatives. If you want to keep them, they can be stored in boxes, just like the photos.
A few years ago, after some of our old photo albums started to fall apart, I decided to create a photo book for each year. To do this, I needed to have digital copies of the photos, so I scanned the photos that were taken before ‘digital’ came in.
Note: To make scanning quicker, add four photos on the scanner bed with a small space between them and save as a jpeg file. You can crop out each individual image and save with descriptive names when they are on the computer.
After doing this, it is always a good idea to back up your photos to an external hard drive or cloud storage. If you want to, you could find a place that will scan the photos for you or you could take photos of your photos and save them.
As we haven’t been looking at the hard copies of photos, I decided to create beautiful photo books. There are so many options when making photo books, different sizes, colours, hard or soft covers definitely something for everyone. Photo books make sharing memories so much fun. You could create photo books that match your decor and place them on your coffee table for friends and family to look through when they visit. One of the best thing about photo books is the fact that you can add stories to these books as well. Beside, under or above the photos you place in your photo book, you can add a small caption or a full story of the event/s that took place that day. It is a wonderful way to record memories that may otherwise get forgotten.
To Toss or Not
Once you have a digital copy of your photos, you can toss the prints if you wish. This will help greatly with organising and storage issues. Having a digital copy of your prints makes sending electronic copies of photos to friends and family easy.
Another way to organise old family photos is to use these hard copies in scrapbooking.
If you have the negatives, you could keep these as taking the photos off these will yield a better image, though you will need to find a place or special equipment to do this.