by Elaine Johnson

Back in the day, our parents purchased a roll of film, loaded their cameras, shot the pictures, and had them developed. Easy, right??? They would go home and pop the photos into those horrible “glue back” photo albums, but at least they got into an album.

There are two problems with the scenario above:

1. ALL of the photos went into an album, not just the ones that told the story. The blurry ones, bad ones, and the zoo animals are there too just cluttering up the BEST of your family’s memories.

2. More than likely, the photos in the albums are the only ones there are. This poses a problem because most families have more than one child.


So what are you to do? Your parents are getting on in years, and your friends have suggested you attend to your parent’s photos. Below are some suggestions on how to go about Downsizing Your Parent’s Photos:

 First of all, get the photos out of those “glue back” albums if they are in that type of album. (Keep them in the same order that they were in the album).

 Once each album is empty, go through the photos one at a time. Discard any photo that is blurry, bad, or simply does not tell a story. For example: landscape pictures are usually boring when no human is there to liven it up. GET RID OF THESE PICTURES! If you choose, keep only a few of the best. This process is referred to as the sorting process. I suggest you sort after each album is emptied so that you don’t get too far ahead of yourself. By doing it this way, you can keep control of the large project at hand. I’d like to add, that you can also make piles of photos to give to extended family members and friends. Sometimes, as time passes, it’s easy to let go of those photos.

 Now you have a decision to make. Will your next step be to sort the photos chronologically or by theme? If chronologically, just keep the photos in order and store them in a photo safe box until you are ready to tackle the next album. If by theme, when going through the remaining photos, try to determine in what category the photo belongs. For example: Vacations, Holidays, School Years, Sports, Birthdays, etc… If you have multiple siblings, you may also sort by sibling and then into each of those categories.

 Once you’ve emptied all of the albums, go around the house and collect any lingering photos that might be in drawers, boxes, etc… Go through the same process of sorting and discarding with these pictures as well.

I hope the information above has helped you to devise a process for downsizing your parent’s photos. The most important thing is not to feel guilty about throwing away the bad pictures. In our parent’s day, they kept every picture they developed. They did not have the luxury of deleting an image right from their cameras.

Good luck! If downsizing your parents photos is something you have a desire to do but not the time, please consider hiring a Professional Photo Organizer to tackle the project for you. I am located in CT and can be reached at 203-214-4545, or you can find a local organizer through Appo.

Image-11Elaine has been taking and organizing photos for over three decades. 15 years ago, she was amongst many pioneers who began chronicling the lives of her family through traditional scrapbooking. Today, her skills include but are not limited to: digital and traditional photo organization.
Elaine is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and is the President for the CT Chapter of NAPO. She is also a Certified Personal Photo Organizer and member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO).