What To Do With Those Old Photos?

by Lisa Rosen on October 12, 2011

Latest update on the Great De-clutter of 2011:


Those of you who came of age since the digital revolution can just skip today’s post–you won’t understand.

But the rest of us?  Those of us who used to have old-timey cameras that used that weird stuff called film?  We’re still living with the detritus of that now-defunct form of photography:  actual physical photographs.  Albums, bags, boxes, crates full of them.  They take up space under beds, in the bottoms of closets, piled haphazardly in the eaves of our attics and stacked on bookshelf after bookshelf.  Some of us are tidy and organized, treasuring the photos, labeling each one, filing them carefully, bringing out albums to show off to friends and relations.  The rest of us can never find the one we want because they’re all jumbled willy-nilly in dusty old shoeboxes.

Regardless of the system, we’re drowning in a sea of photographs.  It’s hard to be a minimalist when you’re stumbling over the evidence of every trip you’ve ever taken, every milestone in your children’s lives, every cute moment or fake smile.

What to do?

We had ours scanned.  Every last one (we sent them our negatives, but they’ll use whatever you have).  Lee sent them here; they scanned them and mailed the scans back to us on a disc.  We could’ve chosen to have them upload them for us, but we can do that ourselves.

Now I have to go into our online photo album and transfer the labels from the backs of the photos onto the website (and that’s years’ worth of photos–it’s going to be tedious and will require a great deal of caffeine and some really good podcasts), and then throw away the boxes of photos (which will require taking a deep breath and tossing them in the garbage–I’ve learned that it doesn’t bother me to get rid of anything, once it’s done.  The only hard part is the actual moment of dropping it in the trash).

And just like that, presto-change-o, that’s another whole stack of boxes, gone.  We’re getting there, slowly but surely.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Amelia October 13, 2011 at 5:26 am

Once again, I’m impressed by your pragmatism. Being that I am change-averse, I need coaxing to embrace such a strategy. I’m so glad you’re my friend. Otherwise, I would be stuck in 1988. If we ever move, I’m going to pull out every one of your de-clutter posts and read them like the Bible!


Lala October 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

What did you think about the service? Quick? Affordable? Worth doing? Or should I force my children to do the scanning as a weekend project?



Lisa Rosen October 14, 2011 at 7:56 am

We were very pleased with the service, but it wasn’t cheap. If you can press a team of young’uns into service, that would certainly be the more affordable option.
(Haaaaaayy back! Miss you!)


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