What To Do?

What’s to be done with old photos?

This is the question I have asked a few of my pals, cousins and MOMD in the last few months. No one really has come up with a great answer.

With the advent of the smart phone cameras, digital storage and other helpful technology I find it is even harder to keep it all straight. In the deep dark past it was just boxes and books jammed with dog eared photos-no semblance of organization at all. The goal, for the most part, was to keep them all contained somehow.

We have boxes of photos from when the hooligans were young. Some of the pictures still bring a smile. I never had the time, energy, money to do the scrap booking thing-although it seems like great fun. I know the idea of the scrapbooks are to keep things organized. You write a few things in the margins, add the date and other pertinent details. But what about the pictures that aren’t special enough to exert that much effort to remember?

Added to my own family’s photos I also have inherited the pictures from my Mom and Dad’s last home. Twenty five years worth. My sister has the pictures from the first three decades of their married life. Photos of relatives long gone and no one left to identify the people in the pictures or why the photo was snapped. Somehow, though, it feels wrong to throw them out but why save them?

A friend and I were talking about all of this the other day. She told me that some elderly relatives have put their house on the market and will be moving in with their adult children. These folks have thrown out most of their photos because, frankly, what’s to be done with them? My friend was a little unsettled by it but I thought it was rather nice of them to do for their children. I’m sure they have doled out some of the pictures to their children but why bring all that stuff with them?

That brings us to the digital age. Now there are photos on my computer, my phone and external storage drives.

I am not advocating the demise of photography. I love looking at pictures-especially when a family member or friend is not posing.

We’re a little stumped with what to do about all of this in our ongoing battle against clutter and stuff.

If you have any ideas I am open to suggestions.

Her are a few questions to ponder.  Feel free to weigh in on any or all of them.

Do you have a lot of photos?

Are they both hard copies and digital?

How are they organized?

Do you look at them on a regular basis?

Do you periodically purge your photo collection?

What have you done about inherited photos/videos?

I’m excited for your feedback!


  1. Pat klug says:

    I sure hope you come up with a solution, because I’m punting in the dark with this subject! I also have a ton of photos, luckily some are are in albums, with dates and names. I learned early on what a difficult thing it is to idenify people in old photos. Therefore, I started writing on the backs of all of mine,( mostly!) who was in the picture and date. It is so hard to purge, as maybe a certain photo means nothing special to me, but it might light up another’s eyes with happy memories. Good luck, let me know if you come up with a solution.

    • Cindi says:

      I haven’t done well with writing on the back but I do have some gems of our childhood so be on the lookout. My friend Jill left a comment as well and has a GREAT idea! And you are so artistic I imagine you could come up with some doozies. Last year I came across a black and white of 3 elderly people standing in front of a wooden fence. No smiles. Just standing there. If I come across it I’ll send it to you. Maybe you have a clue as to who they are.

  2. Jill says:

    I inherited lots of old photos from various relatives. I culled out the important ones to make copies for my sibs, but then what to do with all the “extras”? I bought some colorful notecards and envelopes and am having more fun creating funny birthday and holiday cards to send to my family. They are getting a big kick out of the recycled photos with personalized captions and greetings!

    • Cindi says:

      Jill, we talked about this once and I am so glad you reminded me of your great idea! I know some of the card lines have come out with cards using old photos. Look out Hallmark!

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