Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What to do with the Family Pictures?

I have a bazillion pictures.  I have all the photos I have ever taken...many that have never made it to photo albums.   I have all the family photo albums that my mother put together.  Together these photo albums take up about 8 feet of shelf .  I also have file upon file of pictures stored on my computer....and now somewhere on a Piccasa cloud!

Socks agrees," Whatever are you going to do with all those pictures?"

Clearly they all will not fit in my little Lolita.  Nor do I wish to scan all the pictures into a digital format.  So I am forming a plan.... 

I have found 4 plastic containers to sort pictures into representing 4 phases of my family life.  
  • The Ancestor Years consisting of my extended family of grandparents, parents and my growing up years in one container .   
  • The Early Years container will hold the memories of married life and young children.  
  • The Middle Solo Years, container holding the memories of the girls growing up and the boys early years.  
  • The Later Years (or the prolific years- way to many pictures!) holding the memories of the Campbell Corral (a fulfillment of a lifetime dream of a therapeutic foster family home raising troubled kids on a mini farm/ranch.)                   

Next is a sentimental stroll down memory's lane, as I begin sorting all the loose pictures first.  I will need to breakdown the photo albums too, at least choosing the pictures that need to be scanned to represent the best and diversity of pictures and memories.  Clearly this represents a huge amount of work.  Sorting will need to be completed prior to hitting the road so a scanner will probably be in my future on the road. (How small are scanners today?)  It certainly sounds like great rainy day activities.  I will have the luxury of storing some of the family treasures and pictures with family, so I can take a container at a time with me on the road and work on scanning and organizing the photo's into digital books. I hope that this will represent to my family, a strong connection to their past in a concise format.  (Unless someone wants to store the whole library of photo history.... soon it could occupy it's own museum!)

So in the mean time, my evening are spent watching TV and sorting pictures into bins.  I will then scan them as time allows and give hard copies to the lucky individuals who were in the pictures.  They get to do with them as they wish.

This is my contribution to the preservation of our family history.
Whew, I'm tired already.

Each of you as full timers has had to deal with the family pictures and albums.  What were your solutions. Are you satisfied with your results?  What would you do differently?



  1. I scanned every photo and have two external hard drives to hold it all. Then I threw them away, well except for a few. Unfortunately, many of my photos had been lost in a flood years ago. Albums are just to heavy and bulky to haul around.
    Sure is fun to look them all over.

  2. I love your idea. Sort them into eras and get someone to hold onto them for you. You may not want to fulltime FOREVER and you may not want to have them all on some hard drive somewhere. The question for me was who will inherit them and will they want them. I just didn't have the patience to scan or the willingness to spend the time doing it.

  3. I'm not a full-timer but I do have TONS of photos, and another ton of home videos in three different formats! Thankfully for the last several years they are all digital. I have been working on sorting photos and plan on giving them to the the appropriate child. I might scan some but mostly I will pass them on. I have no plans to make more photo albums so figured I don't need to scan them all. What the kids do with them is up to them. The pictures and home videos are sometimes the hardest things to part with - so many memories.

  4. We started scanning photos and copying all our cd's to the computer 8 months before we began fulltiming. Almost every night after work we would get a little more accomplished. When we left we still had one large shoe box of photos to scan. Living in such a small space, a scanner is a necessity for receipts and other things you don't want to accumulate, and there are some very small ones these days. I'm glad all that is behind us. It was a lot of work!
    By the way, we threw out most of our photos, except for a few that Jim's brother wanted. We look at them more often now that they are easily viewed on the computer. For years they were in boxes under the spare bed so we never looked at them.
    Happy scanning!

  5. We didn't have a whole lot of time to deal with photos in our transition. Our photo albums and loose photos are in a 5x5x10 storage unit along with a few other items we couldn't sell and didn't want to lose. So, we pay monthly for those items until we (a) settle down somewhere in a few years or (b) try to sell some of the items if the market for them ever recovers. At that time we will also deal with the photos. We just put it off and now we're paying for it. Everyone comes up with their own solution.

  6. I'm lucky that my parents spent winter evenings for several years making up photo albums of the loose pictures they had. Mom still has them, and no question, after her, they would be the first think grabbed in case of fire. I want to scan them also, but that will happen once they are in my possession, and I'm in no hurry. My own photos are around somewhere I think, in storage. I'm working on sorting my digital ones and making a master backup now. The nice thing about the digital side of things is that a 1 Terabyte use external drive will fit into a safety deposit box in a bank somewhere and keep the data and photos safe while I travel.

  7. Thumb Drives. They are tiny, store alot and you can put tags on them to identify their content. I am not full time yet. In fact I most likely will become a snowbird only. But I am already planning by moving all of my photos to thumb drives. I dont plan to retire for another 5 yrs, so I have plenty of time, but I find that downsizing is a fun activity.