Photographing the sky

Lifetime Memories News

Time to downsize your photo collection?

By Posted in - Back-up & Organizing Photos on May 8th, 2017 1 Comments Downsize photo collection

Are you an empty nester looking to move to a smaller place now that the kids are gone? Or, maybe you’re just tired of storing too much and are ready to move it out! With the popular trend of tiny living, many need to minimize their possessions.

Moving from a larger home to one that is dramatically smaller presents quite a challenge. What do you do with the large collection of photos you’ve gathered over the years?

Downsizing a Photo Collection

Ten, 20 or more years of collecting photos means you probably have several storage containers (containers being things like boxes, albums, envelopes or drawers).

When it’s time to sort through your photo collection, it can be overwhelming; not just in the sheer number of photographs, but in the memories and emotions evoked during the process. (You should prepare yourself for this, too!)

Before you dive in, make a plan. For instance:

Downsize photo collectionStep 1: Gather all photos (including framed prints and others on display) into a central location.

Step 2: Create piles for 1) ones to be kept and displayed in your new living quarters; 2) ones to be kept in storage; 3) ones to discard.

Step 3: Scan all photos in the first two piles and put on a flash drive that you can store in a safe place such as a safe deposit box. Put the ones to display in your new living space in frames or other displays. [Best practice is to make at least 3 copies of that flash drive and store in different locations in case of a disaster.]

Step 4: Determine if you will keep the prints from the second pile and distribute to family and friends, or if, once scanned, these too, can go in the trash. If you keep these prints, you will want to store in archival boxes or acid-free bags and move to a storage locker.

Don’t Forget to Plan for the How

This is a great basic plan; however, you also need to figure out the how. One easy way may be to go in date or chronological order.

Tip: That means when you do the gathering, don’t take photos out of albums since these may already be in chronological order.

You may also want to look at photos you’ve kept in film processing envelopes at one time since these are probably in some sort of order such as a vacation or other event.

As you start to sort, you may end up with multiple piles; for instance, one for each child or for other friends and relatives. You will be amazed at the different photos you’ve kept throughout the years!

When you come across duplicate photos, think about whether there are others who might like to have the photo instead of putting it in the discard pile.

Capture the details! Use a photo-safe pencil to write on the back or attach a post-it with the details on the back. Then, when you scan the photo, you can include the details so you know who, what, where and when.

Photo Organizer Services

As a photo organizer, I help clients in all parts of the process or in organizing their photos, whether that means downsizing a large collection, putting an organizing process into place, sharing with the family or how to display those very special memories.

We are here to help whether you are a DIY-person, need a team to assist you or just want someone to do it all!

Scan. Save. Print.

Restore any favorite old photos that are cracked, faded or wearing down.

Scan and save the photos so that they can be preserved and passed along to others in the family.

Print copies of photos. Display the favorites and put the rest in a fire proof safe or possibly a safety deposit box.



(1) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Diana Foster - Reply

    May 17, 2017 at 9:24 am

    What a task it is for all of us to organize our extensive “old photos” collection. You have such incredible tips and expertise in this area. I plan to hire you again to help me continue my journey of organizing. I would recommend you to anyone and frequently do so.

Please leave a Comment