Sorting Family Photos

Whether you are downsizing or just looking to create more closet space, going through your old family photos is probably a good idea. Not only will you feel better about knowing where they are, you’ll have a better chance of pulling them out and looking at them. Isn’t that the point, after all?

Here’s a few tips on how to get started and what to do with your photos to condense them:

1. Remove duplicates and toss damaged photos. Give the duplicates to loved ones and toss the ones that you just can’t make out who (or what) is in them.

2. Do you have a big box of framed photos? Take the photos out of the frames and use the frames you like, then donate the ones you won’t use. We’ve found that frames get dated quickly and the style preferences vary widely from person to person which make them hard to gift as-is with photos in them.

3. Purchase uniform sized boxes to store photos in. Throwing your photos in mismatch shoe boxes makes them not only hard to store, but easily disorganized. Find a store that has a decent amount of photo-sized boxes that are the same size and buy a decent quantity of them for photo storage. They usually have a label or tag already on the front for you to write the description of your choice.

4. Organize photos by person and/or by time frame. This will be a process, but trust us, it will be worth it. Start organizing by general time periods, decades, or years if you can. You may want to invite some family over, or ask your spouse to be nearby so you can ask on ones that you just can’t seem to place their time period. Once you’ve completed that, you can go further by sorting by child or loved one, and give a whole photo box (or two) as a gift if you’d like. Be prepared for this to take some time, but you will be glad you made the effort.

5. Are there just too many and you don’t have the space? This might just be a space issue for you, or you know that a better format for your children or loved ones is digital. With that being said, and this includes slides and films as well, there are several things you can do to digitize your family memories.

There’s the DIY approach where you can scan your photos at home on a digital scanner and upload them to your computer or some sort of cloud-based drive (ie. DropBox, iCloud, etc), though this make take a considerable amount of time. Alternatively, many drugstores have a photo department where you can sit and use their scanner. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to upload the files to some sort of external thumb drive and take that home.

Then there’s the online sources that vary quite a bit in their offerings, process, and pricing, however they do all the work for you. We highly encourage you to read through the pages to determine which is the best fit for you (we do not endorse any of these). Some of the options are, and not limited to:

There’s the local resources which include local vendors who you can bring your family memories to with the peace of mind in knowing your things aren’t going off in the mail. A local option here in the East Bay Area is:
CA&C Video Productions – Clifton Barnes: (209) 877-7636 or you can email him at:
A1 Video Lab – (925) 680-1970 at 785 Oak Grove Rd,# N Concord, CA 94518
Documents, Books & Photos Digitizing Imaging Services – (510) 900-8800 at 46520 Fremont Blvd STE 602, Fremont, CA 94538


Sorting through family photos can feel like a “work” task, but if you are able to launch into this project and include loved ones – it can be very rewarding!




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