As you start working on organizing your photo life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  I sure was!  Especially after I took a photo inventory and realized exactly what I had.

It’s too easy to give up at this stage of the game, so my best advice is to tackle the smallest job first so you can experience success sooner.

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One Place To Start: Heritage Photos & Albums

I’ve decided to start with my box of heritage photos and old albums because this group has the fewest amount of photos to deal with. As part of my overall strategy, my goal with this group of photos is to:

  • Archive the entire collection in archival safe photo boxes to slow down the deterioration process.
  • Scan originals to provide a secondary back up.

Organize Your Photo Life: Working with Heritage Photos and Albums |

Gather Your Supplies

Before we dig in, we’ll need to have a few tools in place to start.

Cotton gloves: Fingertips contain an oily residue that will further deteriorate your delicate photos.

Face Mask: If your heritage photos smell musty, or they were stored in an attic or basement, they may contain mold spores that you could find irritating during the sorting process.

Soft-lead blue or black art pencil: As you sort photos you may want to include a date, year or name on the back of a photo until you can capture the details digitally once scanned. This pencil is not permanent and will not indent or harm your photo.  Never use a pen to mark the back of your photo.

Archival quality photo safe storage box: Choosing a good quality photo box will keep your photos safe, and aid in the sorting process. Contact a photo organizer in your area for recommendations for a safe photo box. A photo organizer will have sourced out a local supplier or may be able to provide you with one.

Dental floss and hair dryer: If you have peel and stick (or magnetic) albums, some of your photos may be difficult to remove.

Smartphone camera: If you have old albums with details on the page, you can take a snapshot of the page to keep the details with the photos.

Sticky notes or index cards: These come in handy for creating a timeline during the sorting process.

Follow the Organize Your Photo Life Series

Organize Your Photo Life: Working with Heritage Photos and Albums |

If you need help organizing and preserving your lifetime of photos, videos, and keepsakes, find a photo organizer near you at the Association of Personal Photo Organizers.

Lisa Kurtz, Association of Personal Photo OrganizersWhen Lisa Kurtz lost her mother, grandmother, aunt, and uncle in three years, she was left holding a box of unidentified photographs with nobody to ask about them. Lisa embarked on a lifelong quest to discover and preserve her mom’s story, for herself and her kids, which led her to a career in professional photo organizing. Today, Lisa is the Founder of Pix & TALES with her daughter and together they help busy moms manage their pictures and tell their family stories.