Most of us with photo scanning projects aren't lucky enough to have all of our original paper prints already organized, sorted, and currently stored in the container you desire for them to exist in for the next half a century or more. Well, that is, unless you have decided not to save your paper prints after you scan them.
If you're like most of us, your paper prints are probably still being stored in whatever storage containers they have been in for the past 40-80 years or so. This likely means multiple types of paper envelopes, plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and decrepit old photo albums — maybe only held together now by a mall shopping bag it was stuffed into back in the late 80s.
Does this situation below look similar to yours?
It's just so easy to leave our old paper prints in these original old storage containers and put off worrying about them. I mean, why make this decision when you don't absolutely have to, right? At least, that's what we tell ourselves.
But, once you get into your project and you begin pulling out and scanning your prints, then you are faced with a decision of whether or not to put them back into their original containers or buy new and, most likely, much better ones. And if new, which type should you buy?
I recently asked my 10,000+ subscribers to the “Scan Your Entire Life Newsletter” who have already finished scanning their photos, or those who at least know the answer, where are you going to store your paper prints after scanning them?
Where Do You Store Your Original Photos After Scanning Them?
In Photo Albums
In Photo Boxes
Other Storage Option(s)
Not Saving Originals
The above percentages for “Photo Albums” and “Photos Boxes” are combined totals with the partial storage options. For comparison, here are the result percentages when broken out to isolate those who picked the partial storage options as well.
In Photo Albums
Mostly Photo Albums (some in Photo Boxes)
In Photo Boxes
Mostly Photo Boxes (some in Photo Albums)
Why Did You Choose to Store Them This Way?
And then the second question, participants had the option to write out, at any length, what led them to decide on which storage medium was best for them and their photo collections.
For anyone who is having a hard time making this often debilitating decision of what to do with your original paper prints after you have scanned them, reading through all of these answers below will be extremly helpful.
Why? Because, what do most of us do when confronted with a problem we can't make a decision on, even after months of thinking about it? We try and find out, “What did everyone else do?”
Ease of Accessibility
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo albums," 45% explained it was mainly due to one of many reasons that make them seem musch easier to access.
Reasons ranged from how quickly they could pull the albums off the shelf, to how much easier they felt their photos were easier to look through this way, and even how much they prefered the overall presentation.
Also, I personally still love to look at the paper prints, especially of my oldest photos. They are the same prints my grandparents held, and possibly even the prints my great and great-great grandparents held! They are the photos that my husband's grandparents and great aunts and uncles lovingly mailed from Europe to the US as the only way to keep in touch before long-distance phone service. The image is important, but for me, the physical object also remains important, BUT I *might* be overly sentimental. 🙂
I chose albums over boxes because the photos are more accessible in albums.
I chose three-ring binders and an assortment of album pages to fit the album that holds photos of various sizes. Each album is dedicated to a digital folder. Each of my digital folders of scanned photos are by family, so my parents, each set of grandparents, and each set of great-grandparents have their own folder, and the same for my husband's extended family. There are a couple of "special" folders. My husband's grandfather was in the Austrian-Hungarian Navy. Those photos have their own folder. I was a dancer. My career-related photos have their own folder. Each digital folder then has its own matching 3-ring album of physical prints. The archival photo sheets I use are all the same dimension to fit into the 3-ring album, but they hold different photo sizes. As you are turning the pages, you might see a page with two 5x7s and then a page with six 3.5 x 3.5, and then a page with one 8 x 10.
It's not a perfect solution. Having pages with different-sized photos is a little messy looking. There are a few photos that do not fit any of the photo sheet sizes, so I put them in the sleeve they fit best. Sometimes I only have one 5 x 7, but the sheet holds two, and then I have to decide how to deal with the open sleeve. Overall, for me, though, it's a good solution.
Somehow it gives me a sense of completeness. However, it does seem a bit daunting to get them perfectly in order and to fit various sizes.
Photo boxes for those photos of lesser interest, but occasionally we are interested in reminding ourselves of the past.
At the moment, my progress is chaotic!!!
Protection / Preservation
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo albums," 35% explained the main reason was they felt this was the best way to protect or preserve them.
The answers varied, but the general reasoning was that albums would protect or keep them from any harm or preserve them, which would help slow down the decomposition process.
The ones in the photo boxes are "similars," unidentified or people my kids won't care about, or scenery that someone might want to keep but otherwise is in most travel books.
But the cost, as a photographer friend reminded me recently, is vanishingly small compared to the expenses we used to have in the days of film. Then there were the expenses of film, developing, and printing. The other costs from that era were intangible such as confronting the limitation of 12, 24, and 36 exposure rolls of film. And that limitation, coupled with the actual dollar cost per frame shot adds up to the cost of foregone opportunity. Shooting several frames of a given scene or group was financially beyond most of our means.
Digital photography has no such limits, especially now that data cards can hold very large numbers of photos. They can be captured and saved on the data cards in both JPG and RAW format. We no longer have to wait for days to see the images we have made. We can edit and enhance almost without limit and save the image in one or more of a dozen formats. Flexibility galore.
We print comparatively few of our images until preparing a tangible book. I carry around my images, both as shot by me or saved as screen captures from public sources, on my 512GB iPad. One of the activities I most enjoy is looking at, studying, and thinking about photographs, both mine and those from the internet.
I fell heir to the family photo archive from both sides of the family and as far back as the 1880s. Everything from tintypes to early Brownie snapshots up to and through large studio portraits from my parents’ childhoods in the second and third decades of the twentieth century, from my own generation's formal studio portraits in the late 1940s and 1950s, and head and shoulder portraits that I used over the years to satisfy the need for such portraits in business promotion.
I am scanning EVERYTHING, making multiple backups, and distributing the best of the collections to the generation that follows me. They are approaching their fifties, the age at which people tend to want to look into the faces of family members who came before their parents.
Eventually, my executor will be charged with disposing of or handing on the digital files and the printed photo books. I hope that at least one person in the second generation that follows me will be interested in taking on the role of family archivist. If not, so be it. But I shall have made that task as easy as I can for the young family archivist, perhaps now in kindergarten or as yet unborn.
Oh, the data cards and solid-state external drives are in my safe deposit box at the bank, and my copies of the books are in my den. And some particularly fine physical photos are in appropriate acid-free containers.
Because they are various sizes, I am planning on mounting them in this order onto cardstock with photo corners and inserting each into acid-free sleeves, then putting them into enclosed binders. It's not the most convenient; however, I think this will protect them the best for long-term storage.
Scanning has produced mixed results, despite being a professional in this area. Scanners tend to produce a slightly soft image due to the distance from the glass, and I don’t own a dedicated device, although I have considered it. I have an attachment for my professional DSLR, which produces 41-megapixel scans. You need HDR and three bracketed photos to get good results. It is extremely time-consuming, and focus is hit-and-miss, but I will be trying tethering to get a live view of the camera on the monitor using DarkTable.
Here is a tip for anyone getting started in this activity. Before scanning the first image, find EVERY photo and document you can and organize them into whatever grouping you will use. I scanned a number of old family ancestor photos and organized them. Later I found 2-3 different groups of photos at different times in some of my mom’s things.
When the photos are displayed in albums, by year and or events, with written stories and documentation and memorabilia, it is easy and meaningful to enjoy looking at them, alone or with family and friends.
Kept in Original Storage
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo albums," 17% explained they felt the best place for their paper prints would be to return them to their original or initial storage location where they were before they started their scanning project.
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo albums," 3% had detailed explanations that were unique and didn't match those of others.
Takes Up Less Space
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo boxes," 30% used specific words like "less space" to define why they chose this storage medium.
Many said they feel photo boxes are smaller than albums and can hold more. Additionally, there is an appreciation for the convenience of their size, where they are compact enough to be put in places around their home where albums couldn't be. Additionally, their form factor and ruggedness warrant the stackability feature.
There are binder boxes with three rings in a clamshell-type box — these are my favorite. They'll hold a lot of the photo sleeve pages (e.g., three images or six back-to-back for 4x6) and then can be looked at more like an album. They are better for stacking, although they have some of the same cons as albums listed in your review.
Great review [in the newsletter], by the way!
My albums are mostly mixed dates, and they’re bulky. I feel like photo boxes will take up less space and be easier to sort chronologically.
Once any photos have been digitized, had all metadata added and confirmed, there should be no reason for further physical handling once they are placed in archival storage. Viewing should be with digital copies, with the digital originals safely backed up in at least three separate places.
I’ve compared prices for X number of slides stored in plastic pages for binders vs. X slides stored in boxes. Boxes are less expensive and store X slides (or negs) in less shelf space. Once digitized, slides can be quickly and easily rearranged in numerous ways for digital slide shows with no need to haul out, set up a working projector and screen, then pack away the equipment after the show. Again once digitized and any info from labels/mounts added to digital metadata, there’s no need for physical handling, with potential fingerprints being added or mounts jamming in a projector. The Bell & Howell “Cube” projectors were notorious for crunching cardboard mounts.
Kids will get digitized photos, any doubled prints, and their class, sports, and J.C Penny's photos once scanned. I keep one copy of the originals to build scrapbooks for my own enjoyment. If I build a scrapbook of a year in family life, I may decide to destroy any photos not used, knowing the kid have the double paper print and the scanned photo.
When I pass, they can decide what to do with my collection. But they have the scanned photos of their life and some paper copies to do with as they see fit. The scrapbooks were my original priority, but my kids are never going to look at those, so I transferred my energy to scanning all 35mm negatives and a smaller basket of paper photos. And when that’s done within the next year (getting close to done), then I can relax and make scrapbooks for my own enjoyment, and if I never get all of them done, that’s OK.
For photos I have received from family, especially older and/or distant relatives, that I can not easily determine the date, I divide by main subject (Great Aunt Lonnie, Mandy's Children, Chicago House), and when I get together with a person who can help me with the names and dates, I can find them easily since they are all together. While I am still in the process of scanning photos, the dividers have been very helpful in finding photos I haven't scanned yet but are needed, such as for a funeral or a holiday newsletter. Not all the pictures I have are photo album worthy, and I can't imagine the space needed to store so many photos in albums.
I am 65. My Mom, RIP, was the keeper of family albums (slides, movies, scrapbooks) and left so much that I have a storage unit rented for her things. I don't want to do this to my one child. I need to tame the monster so he can travel light in his world.
I have not yet started on my albums. I intend to earmark about ten photos per year from my life, so I have my "Celebration of Life" slide show in work. I'm planning to live to 105, so I don't need it soon, but the thought is in my mind.
Ease of Organization
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo boxes," 18% reasoned that they were better at handling organizational tasks.
It could be they find it's faster for them to initially put their photos into boxes or even that it's faster to organize or sort them once they are inside. Additionally, some stated boxes allow for a larger range of photo sizes to be stored.
I hope this project will allow me to collate photos from the same event that ended up in 4 different albums, like a wedding, for example. And since this will be my first true effort to label the backs with unique numbers, I want to speed up sorting without having to re-insert and re-sequence. I dread filling an album with 300 photos in order, only to later find a dozen that should go at the beginning.
If I finish scanning all my pre-smartphone pics in my lifetime, maybe THEN I will go back to more beautifully ordered and presented albums, but my guess is that my time and money will be better invested in digital assets. I do plan to keep special albums or gifts as they were, as well as albums that don’t belong to me, like my parents’ stuff. My siblings may cherish the original containers, and it’s not up to me to take that away.
Plus, I'm at the downsizing stage of life, so need to conserve space.
Plus, my adult children (20-somethings) don't seem too interested in keeping the non-digital formats. Even my husband is questioning why I don't toss/give away all the hard copies and just archive the digitals in multiple places.
Sortability: **** this is most important to me!
Easier to Digitize:
I'm storing other reasonably good photos in photo boxes and discarding the mediocre-to-bad images. There's a hierarchy of quality and/or interest, with the albums holding the more important images.
I like the photo boxes because I can use dividers cut from file folders to sort and identify photos and then easily add to these categories when other pictures come my way. Even though my knowledge of specific dates and names, and events are sometimes fuzzy, it is certain to be far better than anyone who inherits these pictures, so I need to give them at least some structure.
Though this system wouldn't work for everyone, I designate a photo box for a certain family member or family branch, and then I have boxes for events, friends, houses, holidays, animals, and travel. You can see the war of keywords here--the anchor is sometimes the person, sometimes the date, and sometimes the place. For physical storage, I found I needed to allow multiple principles to govern the storage so that the retrieval concept becomes clearer. If I organized everything by person, filing and retrieval would be too tedious, and the real reason for certain photos would be lost.
I also store negatives and colour-positive slides, which are not conducive to albums.
Long term, I will have specialist archive boxes for the few older family prints being retained, a small collection of special event and travel albums, and otherwise only digital storage in year/month/date/place folders on a Lacie portable drive with a backup somewhere online.
Protection / Preservation
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo boxes," 15% offered a variety of reasons why they felt boxes would be the best way to protect or preserve their photos. Their main concern seems to be it's how they feel comfortable keeping their photos safe.
I have been a customer of Creative Memories since 1995 and most currently a Creative Memories advisor since 2020.
Very few of the photos that were taken after I was married have been scanned. Typical of most people, some are in albums, but most are still in the developer envelopes and stored in moving boxes or plastic tubs and generally unsorted. Yep - mostly a hot mess! I suffer from paralysis by analysis.
My scanning strategy is that my kids will mostly know who is in the photos from their generation but have virtually no knowledge of the generations preceding their grandparents.
For me, it is much easier to keep the envelopes in archival boxes, which are also labeled. I only have one photo album that is from the 1940s, where my mother wrote details about most of the photos. The album will not be changed. If I decide to rescan a print, I can use Lightroom to find its approximate location (Record Group number).
I learned a lot of what I do from your site years before you started the membership program. Thanks for all of your help.
Single Storage Location
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo boxes," 11% expressed how the boxes would give them the ability to keep the collection(s) intact and together in one place.
Slightly different from those just seeking protection and preservation, they had more specific reasons, such as dealing with the challenge of how to break up the entire collection for multiple family members or simply to maintain a backup of the originals in case there is ever any kind of "failure" with their digital copies.
To be honest, I use both. I curate only some photos to put in albums-they tell a story, the rest of the photos can go in a photo storage box just in case someone says, "Do you remember..."
This way, you don't have a ton of bulky albums, but you do have the photos as a backup if technology fails.
Also, there are so many archival pocket pages that you can do any size of photographs or a combination of them on the same page; I love that I can move pages around too.
Photos of holidays or places not of any interest to anyone else except me - in photo boxes until I check I have digital copies, then they are thrown away.
The more recent ones are of more variable importance or quality and most often have negatives with them (or were slides, to begin with). With the newer ones, I tend to do the sorting and organizing on the digitized versions and just store and catalog the originals. Moving, sorting, and rating the digital images is much faster and simpler than dealing with the paper.
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo boxes," 7% said boxes gave them the ability to make their collections portable.
Often this mobility has to do with the need to return photos to their rightful owners once the scanning project is completely over.
I do plan on scanning them all before dividing them up and putting the thumb drive in each of the boxes. Also, duplicate prints will be made for my family if they could go in duplicate boxes. I'm trying to decide what to do with vacation pictures since the family really isn't going to care that I've been on vacations overseas, etc.
I know that I don't need to keep all those pictures of scenery since I haven't looked at them for several years. Trips with my mother, sister by another mother, and I will be included in the boxes. Hard decisions, but thankfully all my pictures are marked, dated, names, locations, etc. So that is the good part! The bad part, I had over 10 feet of a closet shelf stuffed with photo albums.
Sheer Volume of Photos
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo boxes," 7% expressed that boxes were their only choice because of their vast quantity of original photos.
It's not specifically a concern of space in their home, but that because of the number of photos they have, albums just aren't even a possibility for the majority of their collections.
I am one of those people who is committed to scanning almost all the photographs I have because sometimes it's the not-so-perfect pictures that capture things that we take for granted but which might be interesting to future generations whose lives and surroundings are very different. The blurred image of my son in our kitchen might not be the greatest photo of him, but the items on the table, the countertop, and seen through the open cupboard door are an unplanned but perfect reproduction of the environment and artifacts that he grew up with. I have some wonderful studio portraits of my great great grandparents, but what I wouldn't give to be able to see inside their home and get a better sense of how they lived day to day.
I'm not sure how many picture photo albums I will assemble in the future. For now, I have undertaken my scanning project with the aim of making digital photo books. The advantage of these is that one book can be reproduced several times and given to multiple family members. They are also less cumbersome and weighty than my old albums and less fragile so that even my four-year-old granddaughter can look through them without me worrying about damage or wear and tear.
Once scanned, I will get rid of some photographs, including duplicates (who didn't go for the 2-for-1 processing option?) and poor-quality images without other potential merits. But I will hang on to the rest because......well, you just never know!!
2. I have thousands of prints, our own and inherited ones. Putting them in albums would create a huge number of albums, taking up a huge amount of space.
3. I'm a bit compulsive about chronological order, and albums mess that up. Not to mention finding the type of page needed to hold the sizes and shapes of the photos to go in that page.
I haven't started scanning and storing my pics yet, but it is on my to-do list.
Thanks for your newsletter, I read it regularly, getting tips on the best way to get around attending to the job I have to do.
Thank you, Zena
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo boxes," 5% had detailed explanations that were unique and didn't match those of others.
I have an Epson scanner FF680W, a Canon TS9120, and an Epson V600 for larger documents, fotos, and slides with a slide frame. The difficulty was straightening out the curved bent fotos, which my husband, an amateur photographer who used to develop his own prints, straightened out for me. In the Epson went the smaller fotos that fit and could be fed through, a very fast process although it's cumbersome to find them and rename them. The flatbeds, well, for those that had to be individually scanned and color ones. Many Sepia fotos were scanned in those.
Am I done? no!! I still have 2 large boxes of framed fotos and several - 5-10? - smaller fotos. It's a lifetime job.
My naming system is simple: foto date or estimated date: year, day, month if available or easy to estimate, location (Puerto Rico, New York, Virginia, etc.), city if known, then general info such as person(s). I'm not sure if this is the proper way, but it's worked for me. I took a hiatus, and it's been a year since I returned to the task, which is very tedious for me.
The loose photos are going in 4x6x1 plastic boxes that hold about a hundred photos each. The 4x6 size holds lots of different odd-format photos. The envelopes go in cardboard boxes from Michael's. They are 4+x6+x10. Not sure of the exact size and am too tired to check. I'm sure you get the picture.
The objective is to save negatives along with photos. I also have a bunch of negatives not attached to any photos. A headache.
Kept in Original Storage
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo boxes," 4% explained they felt the best place for their paper prints would be to return them to their original or initial storage location where they were before they started their scanning project.
The original uploads of the photos are saved to folders on my computer that indicates the source. In that way, should someone have a scan and seek to find the original, they can trace it back. The reason for this is that, on occasion, I've found that where a photo has been found helps identify where (or when) it was taken. This approach has been particularly helpful when scanning old greeting cards that are often un-dated but generally were just piled up in rough order of receipt.
Personally would just like to throw all and everything away as there are only two of us left to care.
Albums No Longer Relevant
Of those surveyed who said they plan on storing all or the majority of their paper prints in "photo albums," 3% indicated that albums are no longer a realistic option in today's world.
Other Storage Option(s)
Of those surveyed who want to hold onto their original photos but who felt neither "photo albums" nor "photo boxes" would be adequate for their collection(s), they were given the option to choose "Other storage option(s)."
Additionally, they were given an additional field where they could explain what other types of storage they prefer(ed) to use.
I didn’t want to throw them away and didn’t want to take any more time doing anything with the photos. I might toss them eventually or just take the best ones to put in a couple of albums.
My most immediate focus is to get the prints scanned and saved digitally. Each photo has been given a unique ID number that corresponds with the scanned file name. I am not concerned at this point with a particular form of storage for the paper prints other than knowing that they ARE being preserved all together.
ALL OF THESE ARE NOW IN PLASTIC BINS, with a note that they have all been scanned and are digitally available on various hard drives and some in the cloud.
I have been working with my family on this project, and they have told me they really have no interest in the originals as long as they can be viewed from the digital scans. I saved everything in the plastic bins I described previously just in case someone decides differently after I am gone. Otherwise, I have taken the attitude that I have done my duty to my family to preserve these images digitally for future generations without the family having to worry about storing a bunch of bulk. That would be their choice. I do admit to separating out a few photos from the early 1900s after scanning, in case my family would like those special originals.
I don't know whether my comments will help others, but I highly suggest you assess the feelings of whomever you will leave your library of photos to. If they really want all the originals and commit to safeguarding them for the future, then you should pay careful attention to the results of this survey and follow the recommendations to honor their wishes. If they insist the digital scans are sufficient, then make sure you back them up on multiple types of media. I have three separate external HDs in addition to the original on my computer HD. One of those Hard Drives is in my Safe Deposit Box. Then you can be less cautious in organizing and storing the original photos and negatives. Also, if there are any original photos that would have sentimental value, keep them separate and let your family know you have them.
Best of luck on all this.
I'm dealing with over 500 rolls of 35mm snapshots that were in original paper packets, stuffed into bins & drawers. Haven't dealt with the old albums yet.
Placed negatives into 8x10 negative sheets, id'd with numbered stick-on labels on the negative sheet & on the small photo box. Scanned the sheets & made (well... "making") available online to kids cross-country. Scans aren't professional but are high enough quality that a 4x6 can be made of a single frame. Any "keepers" identified (in this flood of snapshots) can be found using the contact sheet id for a pro print from film or the original 4x6 in the box storage.
The boxes are below. Don't know how "archival" they are, but they beat being at the bottom of 150+ packs dropped randomly into a bucket. Don't trust the handles, and don't use them as carry-ons, but they are great for stacking in storage.
Many of the 200+ contact sheets posted so far were never seen by my 30-ish kids, and they've clipped & enlarged snapshots for their use (mostly on phone).
IRIS USA 4" x 6" Photo Storage Craft Keeper, Main Container with 16 Organization Cases For Pictures, Crafts, Scrapbooking, Stationery Storage, Protection and Organization, Multi-Color/Clear.
UniKeep 3 Ring Binder - Black - Case View Binder - 1.5 Inch Spine - with Clear Outer Overlay - Pack of 3 Binders.
There are tiny loose prints from my dad's WWII tour and albums still to be dealt with. The clear boxes should suffice for the small prints and the albums... Some have large prints >100yrs old; still thinking on those.
For the small prints, I can fit so many photos into one container. Then each of the 16 cases can be labeled by decade or event, or person, whatever I choose. The art portfolios for larger prints are easy to manage in much the same way. They come in a variety of sizes and varying numbers of pages and are archival-safe. The best thing about both of these options is the footprint or real estate they take up on a shelf is minimal. The containers stack if I have more than one; the portfolios stand on end like binders but have so rings. Retrieval is easy, as I can grab just one case from the container or one portfolio.
If the photos are old or irreplaceable, I would store them in a safe, acid-free storage box or album, depending on if I want to see them (album) or just store them (box). I like crafting with a memory-keeping orientation, so that is why I choose to do what I do.
I wanted to keep different photo album pictures together, and these envelopes make it easy. I label the contents of each envelope with a post-it note.
They have a huge capacity, easy to sort (by decade), easy to store, and easy to grab in case of an emergency (think fire, flood). And easy to find and retrieve a previously scanned photo to be rescanned.
Not Saving Originals
Of those surveyed who said they did not save or plan on saving their original photos after scanning, 54% explained their primary motivation was to declutter their home.
I do have one box of photos of myself and my husband, my parents, and my husband's parents. I’m not sure what to do with those yet, but I’m down to just that one physical box of photos rather than 20+ albums of photos...
I have, however, kept the negatives (for now) as they take up little space. I plan to bin those too, but that is a little more difficult. 😉
P.S thanks for the website, it has kept me motivated over the years.
For me, this all started when my parents and in-laws passed away. The houses had to be sold, and everything was dispersed among family members. We tried going through the family pictures at that time, but there were so many (loose in boxes) that they all got put in a bigger box to be taken care of "later." I received some from my sister (the keeper of the pics), but many are still in the "later" box. I looked at them, smiled, and then added them to my "later" boxes! This cycle will probably repeat itself when I die, and somewhere down the line, they will eventually be thrown away. I can't let all those memories be lost forever!
What I plan on doing is attacking the easiest things first. I already have travel albums organized, so all I need to do is scan them and then discard the album. Each of these albums will be saved on a labeled thumb drive, where pictures that are found later can be easily added. These will then be stored in some kind of case. I haven't given much thought after that, but I'm sure there will be other challenges to face!
Kids these days don't stop long enough to "smell the roses" all I can do is give them the rose.
Of those surveyed who said they did not save or plan on keeping their original photos after scanning, 31% said they no longer had a use for them.
This is different from someone trying to declutter. In this case, they may not have an issue with the "clutter," but they feel they no longer see a useful purpose for keeping them — a "why even bother" situation.
Of those surveyed who said they did not save or plan on saving their original photos after scanning, 15% had unique explanations that didn't match those of others.
In addition to determining a mostly clear logic for saving prints, I also hope to find a safe(r) disposal method for what I'm not keeping. I plan to explore this subject in our forums - how to best dispose of the photos and albums that were made with a variety of toxic materials and chemicals. Ideally, I'd like to have it all safely incinerated so that it doesn't leech into groundwater somewhere. I'd also feel better about completely destroying what I'm not saving once it's all digitized, as opposed to having my family memories lying in a dump somewhere!
I spent so many years protecting those precious albums, but knowing I had them all scanned and backed up to both the cloud and an external drive made it easier to walk away without something we didn’t have the space or time to bring with us. Add this to the benefits of having all your photos digitized. You never know what circumstances may part you from your physical photos, and it’s better not to have to stress over leaving them behind when other things are more important.
Going back, I would leave the prints in photo boxes. We moved a lot and had probably 30 albums/scrapbooks, and they were so very heavy to box & move each time.
Would you like to participate in this survey too?
For those who weren't able to take the survey before this article was released, I am also making this survey available to everyone. This will enable us to compare the original set of results with the ongoing results of those who visit this page for comparison.