|One small section of the photo storage closet|
It takes a bit of muscle power to wrench open the closet door. Every square inch is packed, floor to ceiling, with massive photo albums, many 10 inches wide and weighing 10 pounds each. This is not a collection of a sometimes photographer, this is the repository of a serious shutterfly, my wife, Betty.
Taken over our 41 year marriage, as well as lots of photos of our parents and even grandparents, many of the color photographs are fading into a permanent greenish or orange-tinted hue. The oldest black and white ones are morphing into a uniform grey.
There are so many photographs that digitizing them by ourselves is impossible. We won't live that long. Our kids have shown little interest in most of them; neither has any room to store one-tenth of them anyway.
The obvious answer is to thin out the duplicates or uninteresting blurry shots of trees, beaches, and random people who wandered into the shots. If there are 800 pictures from the 1992 trip to Maui, how many does it take to bring back memories of that trip - 400, 150, 75?
Therein lies the rub. My answer is probably 75 or less; Betty's would be closer to 400. How do we agree to disagree on the photos needed to remind us of a particular trip and give our kids a sense of what was important to us? How do we throw away irreplaceable, but not terribly important, snapshots?
There is one fact staring us both in the face: at some point we will move into a much smaller living space at a retirement community. There is no way these albums can come with us. And, as noted, our daughters don't want all of them, nor can they give up a large closet either. So, a compromise is inevitable.
After cutting down the raw number of pictures we have, turning those fading analog ones into digital files is the only answer. I found a company, ScanMyPhotos, that will convert around 1,800 of them for about $150. Or, for someone more like Betty, around 10,000 old photos become digitized for $800. Considered we have at least 80,000 digital photos, suddenly even 10,000 doesn't seem quite so overwhelming!
Is this a problem in your household: what to do with tons of old photographs that take up lots of space, are fading before your eyes, and may not be terrible important to others? Here are some more thoughts from a post of a year ago: Managing Your Photos.
Betty and I are still in the midst of negotiations about how deep to cut the closet collection, and when. Maybe your thoughts will help us solve this picturesque problem.
Here's a short video that gives you three options if you are ready to take those old photos and digitize them:
Whatever you decide, good luck!