Catalog Photos and Mementos

Home, Home & Family, Living Green
on March 18, 2001

If you have a camera, you probably have a stash of photographs in need of organizing, and a rainy spring day presents the perfect opportunity to do so.

First, divide your collection of photo envelopes into subject categories to make the project more manageable. Label each envelope with the date and the topics of the enclosed photos, and pile the envelopes by category. Then open each envelope and divide the photos into three categories.

Great photos to reprint or enlarge

As you identify and remove the photos and negatives you want to reprint or enlarge, note that on the photo envelope so you can replace them later. Or, start a new envelope of your best photos and their corresponding negatives, so if you ever need additional copies, theyll be easier to find.

Take the negatives to a quality photo shop, and order enough reprints to send to family, frame for display, and put into photo albums. Then be sure to put the negatives (along with a copy of the photo) back where they belong.

Because photos have historical value, consider investing in a good quality file box with acid-free paper (available in craft and scrapbooking shops) to separate them and prevent fading and deterioration.

Attics, basements, and garages are not ideal; find a place indoors, where the environment is more stable.

Keepers not requiring reprints

Use the keeper photos, along with some of your reprints, to create a photo album, let friends take them home, or return them to their labeled envelopes for storage. Label photos with the names of the people in them, and when and where the photos were taken. Your descendants will thank you later for identifying long-forgotten friends and relatives.

If you picked up maps or other memorabilia on a trip, or saved a special letter from someone in a photo, include these items in the box or album.

Photos not worth keeping

Discard photos of no value, either by throwing them in the trash or starting a folder of old photos that your kids can cut up for collage projects.

If you have photographs of other people, perhaps they might find them valuable, so ask first before discarding pictures.

Consider sharing the work of organizing your photos with friends and family; it allows you to revisit vacation spots, relive holiday celebrations, and retell tales of happy times.

As you complete each stack of photos from a particular time and place, youll feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing you have created an organized historical record for your offspring to cherish.