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Organize Your Photos

You’re the one who has all the family photos in boxes or old photo books.  If you are like many, some of the photos are marked, but many are not.  No one else will take them, so you have them all.  You want to pass them on, but how can you do it with little or no information on the pictures?  You don’t want to throw them out, but how can you make it more attractive for your family to take them?  Trying to hand someone shoe boxes full of photos or photo albums that are falling apart is not going to go over very well.

First, realize that not everyone is interested in pictures of people they do not know or places that are umarked.  Be realistic about the photos that should be given to someone who is interested in keeping them and the family history.  Older pictures marked with names and relations to others makes a much more attractive and sentimental display.

Give your self permission to toss the pictures of individuals no one knows.  No one will miss them.  If Aunt Mary had pictures of all the trips she took around the world, choose a few from each trip.  Do not feel guilty by throwing them away.  It was her trip, not yours.

If there are multiple pictures, give yourself permission to throw out the duplicates or near-duplicates. My rule is that you are not required to keep pictures of other peoples children; that is their parents job. Maybe Uncle Bob had hundreds of slides or 8mm film, but you have no projector to figure out what is on them.  Many companies offer services to turn those slides and 8mm film into a DVD.  The cost is minimal and it might be funny to watch them at a family reunion.  But they are doing no good in a box in the basement. Photos can also be scanned and placed on a DVD for a cost.  There are companies that can take 1,000 of your photos and put them on a DVD for as little as $150 — and you can get extra copies for family and friends.

For fun, choose the 100 photos that best represent your life. Make sure they are marked, or write a small story about some of them. Place those photos in a beautiful box that says, “The Life and Times of Mary Smith.” When all the organizing is done, this may be the only box of photos you feel like keeping, and it will be an enjoyable collection for your descendents to cherish.
Smile!