Conquer, then divide and share: 5 steps to tackling the box

Raise your hand if you have a box of old family photos residing in your basement, attic or maybe in the back of a closet.

Raise your hand if you had intended to do something amazing with these family treasures, but...haven't.

Raise your hand if the reason you haven't is because you just don't know how to get started.

You're not alone. Getting started is the hardest part, so let's conquer that fear...

1.       Open the box. This sometimes takes courage and a bit of determination. You got this!

2.       Remove the photos from said box. The reason…you want to get these memories into a safer place. Most of us LOVE our clear plastic Rubbermaid storage boxes because we can see what’s in them. However, they are terrible for your photos (plastic material and the light that they let in are the culprits). At minimum, you’ll want to invest in an acid-free, lignin-free box that won’t let light in. I like the Legacy Box.

3.       Sort ‘em. Don't make this harder than it has to be. Start with 3 piles. I talk often about the ABCs of photo sorting. Here’s a refresher…

  • Your As are those that are “Album Worthy”. They are your faves, the best of the bunch.

  • Your Bs are those that you aren’t ready to part with, but don’t need to look at them as much. They stay in the “box”.

  • Your Cs go into the trash “can”. These are the ones that maybe you have doubles of, the photo is blurry or maybe it is a scenery shot and you have no idea where it was taken. This gets a little tricky with heritage photos because you may need some help identifying some of the photos, but there are always some C’s in the bunch and I give you permission to use the can!

4.       Scan ‘em. The thing about heritage photos is that typically, there are other people in your life that are also connected to these photos. This is one reason our digital photo world is so awesome. Scanning your As (and possibly some of your Bs) preserves your family’s heritage and allows for easy sharing. Scanning is SUCH a good idea. Once you have seen the photos that are in the box, make a list of who you need to share these with…siblings, cousins, children, etc.

5.       Share. There are so many amazing ways to share heritage photos. Here are just a few (WARNING: get the Kleenex out when you deliver them):

  • Keepin’ it simple – once they are scanned, set up a Dropbox online or copy the photos you want to share onto a flashdrive, put it in a nice little box, put a bow on it and deliver it.

  • Create a digital album – telling a family’s story is one of the greatest gifts you can give. People often think you need to have the family’s entire history before photos like this go into an album…you don’t. CYP’s Story of Us album, for example, uses whatever pics you have, and with digital albums…you can make as many copies as needed.

  • Keepsake display – There are so many beautiful ways to display old photos, from canvas to wood to beautiful prints. I LOVE seeing cool old photos displayed in homes. You can get photo keepsakes lots of places. I recommend, however, that if you are going to create a keepsake, spend the few extra dollars to buy good quality products. Be picky and select products that can be passed down for generations.

  • Slideshow – Make a slideshow, ask everyone to sit down after a holiday meal, turn it on…

and watch the family bonding happen.