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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Prepare to Travel - A month to declutter - Day Nineteen - Photos and Photo Albums

Welcome to day 19 of decluttering to free your home and your mind.

Below is a photo of my great-grandmother Margaret Maria McMillan, born in 1885. Sadly, I don't know how old she was, or the occasion the photo was taken for.

In the good old days, before smart phones and digital cameras, we had hard copy photographs. Sometimes they were framed and on display, sometimes they were gathered into a photo album, and often they were stored in a container somewhere.

1. With printed photos, it is a valuable idea to identify the picture. When I hang a framed photo, I always write a bit of a story on the back of the frame. Who, when, where, and the event. ie. Helen's first day at x school, (date), taken by her mother. Often, I write more, so that my children will know more about me as well. This photo was taken by Helen, of her son x, (date), taken when he least expected it, and it shows his utter concentration when doing a task. I am so proud of him. I imagined my son finding this short missive one day and being pleased when he read it. I would be overjoyed if I found this on a photo of me taken by a loved one. Scrapbooking is also a great way to tell stories associated with photos.

2. Embrace technology. Scan old photos, or have someone do it for you. Name the file something relevant. Edit the photo if you want.

Save the scanned photos in multiple locations. Hard drives do fail. Give a thumb drive of photos to family members and friends, or save to the cloud.

3. If you don't know the story of the photo, ask family members and write it down, or voice record the story. I belong to a facebook group for one branch of my family and they often post old and new photos of family members, with various stories. It is a great idea.

4. In sorting out that container of photos, I found some of a friends son's 4th birthday party taken in 1991. I have lost contact with this friend, so I threw out the photos that didn't mean anything to me anymore. There was no use hanging onto these any longer.

5. As a married and then divorced mother, I gave all my old wedding photos to my children, and to family members that were in the photos. They were no longer special to me, and my children really loved having them. If you don't want pictures, offer them to others who may. Historical societies love receiving old photos.

6. Electronically, there are many ways to store photos and many programs that can add keywords etc. Whichever method you use, be consistent. It is useless to have hundreds of electronically stored photos if you cannot find the ones you want.

7. Remember, that things don't have to be perfect or all done at once. If you do one more photo on a regular basis, you will achieve more than in the past.

Go reward yourself, as always, you deserve it!

Please feel free to comment about any other photo ideas that you experience, and enjoy the rest of the decluttering series.

Happy Travels!

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