Your Guide to Downsizing and Organizing Your Photos: How to Digitize Your Photos and Give the Gift of Memories

When you’re preparing to downsize or move, you might start wondering what to do with all the photo albums and boxes you have tucked away that hold a lifetime of photos. Each of those photos carries cherished memories and milestones that you don’t want to just throw away, but the amount of space they take up is significant and they don’t get to see the light of day very often.

The idea of downsizing a home and decluttering your photo collection may seem overwhelming, but there is a great option that lets you keep your treasures with you while paring down on your physical belongings that take up space: digitizing them.

Once photos are in digital form and organized, it’s easy for even the least tech-savvy person to find what they’re looking for quickly and simply. Here, we share why it’s advantageous to digitize your photos and some ideas for going about it.

Benefits of Digitizing Your Photos

Do you remember the last time you dug out your old photos and looked through them? Sure, maybe you feel nostalgic and bring them out or flip through a photo album from time to time. Still, when your photos are sorted and available digitally, it makes locating pictures from a specific time or event more straightforward.

Aside from the hassle of moving dusty bins or boxes of photos from one home to another, you may not want to use limited space storing these if you’re downsizing. Another thing you don’t have to worry about is lost or damaged photos when they’re stored digitally. Sure, images can be deleted accidentally, but when they’re stored digitally, you can easily have a backup of all your photos stored in the cloud or on an external storage drive, taking up no more room than a deck of cards.

You can also edit your photos when they’re digital. Think about all of the pictures you have where at least one person has red eyes. Or that perfect photo from your family vacation, with the random stranger just off to the side. In one click, they can be cropped out!

Whether you’re downsizing, moving, cleaning out a loved one’s estate, or just organizing your home, when you digitize your photos, your options of what you can do with them — and the space they were taking up — are endless.

Declutter Photos

Before the digital age, getting film developed was very expensive, and most people kept every photo they printed just in case. But if it’s not a photo you would save if it was taken digitally now, why bother holding on to it and scanning it.

Before digitizing photos, it’s important to cull them, so you don’t end up scanning ones you no longer want. Some examples of images you can get rid of are:

  • Duplicate or near-duplicates
  • Blown out or overexposed subjects
  • Blurry photos
  • Awkward poses
  • People you don’t know or remember

If you have old photos or you’re cleaning out an estate and find pictures you don’t know the history of, you can try to find out online or from other family members. If you have no interest in knowing, you can see if other family members would like these photos. This is when the services of NEATSPACES’ estate cleanout experts can help guide you through your options.

You may be excited by the idea of going through your photos and reminiscing, and likely there will be moments when you can’t stop smiling at the wonderful memories and special moments of your past. However, decluttering is rarely an easy process, and it’s also possible that you may feel exhausted or frustrated as you go through a mass photo decluttering. As decluttering companies know, all of these emotions are normal, and it’s essential to take breaks as needed.

Credit: Ron Lach via Pexels

How to Digitize

Once you’ve culled your printed photos, you can scan them. There are two choices for this step: scan them yourself or use a photo scanning service.

The least expensive option is to do it yourself, especially if you already have a scanner. But if you have piles of boxes or bins full of photos, you might want to consider a photo scanning service as it can be a tedious process. You can try to find a local service or store or send them away. It takes the hassle out of scanning the photos yourself, and these services often include colour correction, red-eye removal and scanning any information on the back of the photo.

If you have slides or VHS tapes to digitize and no longer have or want to hold on to a slide projector or VCR, there are plenty of services that will digitize these as well. Soon enough, you can have those precious moments at your fingertips through a memory stick or stored online rather than gathering dust in the attic.

Organize Photos

Now that you’ve decluttered and digitized the photos in your home, it’s time to organize them. A big file of cluttered digital photos isn’t going to be of much help.

Start by making a folder for each year in your photo library. If you want to go further, you can make sub-folders or tag photos for special events, vacations, or anything else. Alternatively, some programs have tools built in for facial and image recognition where you can search for a particular person, or type in “dog” and every photo of a dog will show up.

Photo Books and Giving the Gift of Memories

Once your memories are taking up less space in digital form, it’s easy to browse and find the ones you’re looking for. But there may be some that you want to revisit more often or a particular time or event that you want to pay special tribute to. This is where creating photo books comes in.

Photo books only take up a small space on your shelf, and they can be made for any occasion, such as a family trip, wedding, an annual family book, a baby book, or even a particular era of your life.

If you’re downsizing, clearing out an estate or moving, you can take photos of the rooms in your home before you begin. Take pictures of collections of figurines, mementos from your travels, and even your favourite architectural features of your home. If you still have some of your adult children’s old trophies, prizes, or favourite toys, take photos of them.

By taking photos, you can create digital memory books so you can have memories of all of your favourite things at your fingertips, allowing you to hold on to the memory while disposing of the physical asset.

Photo books are also a great gift idea for loved ones to remind them of your special shared moments and memories. One can be created for each family member of family trips, occasions, or photos of the family home. These are great gift ideas for adult children — all of the memorabilia from their childhood/teenage years in one place without having to lug around bins or boxes or worry about storing them somewhere.

You can make copies for all your loved ones to enjoy with no extra effort on your part. And for memories that you want to highlight but don’t necessarily need a physical copy of, you can store and share photo books digitally as well so you can easily share them with your loved ones who don’t live nearby.

It can seem like a daunting task to go through your photo collection and scan them into digital files, but doing so will allow you to get more use out of them, reduce your clutter and save space.

For downsizing, moving and organizing services in the Greater Toronto Area contact us today!