Preserving, organizing, and storing your paper family photos in order to enjoy them for a long time is time-consuming but highly valued work.
Gone are the days when your family might have captured a few dozen pictures a year. Nowadays, there may be huge containers and bins of photos hiding in your basement and attic begging to be organized and cherished. It makes a great project for those snowy or rainy days. Enjoy that time as you take a walk down memory lane.
To get started, separate the various mediums: slides, home movies, photo albums and loose pictures. Keep in mind you are trying to get all those boxes reduced to one perfectly edited album that will look elegant on a coffee table, or a few well-organized photo boxes in which you can find things with ease.
Decide whether to sort the photos by chronological order or by theme.
- If chronological, arrange the photos in a logical timeline; it makes identifying the people in your photos and selecting the best examples much easier.
- If thematic, sort them according to categories such as trips, birthdays, life passage events, happenings, etc.Scrapbooks can be made that tell the story of a person’s life.
Get some help from family members to identify those mystery individuals in old snapshots.
Eliminate poor quality shots, duplicates, and any pictures where you don’t know any of the people. Also toss most of the scenery shots. Be ruthless! If it doesn’t immediately bring back a memory, let it go.
Use archival pencils or pens to write the date and the subject on the back of photos with a light hand. Be careful as you want to preserve the data for generations to come, not damage the image.
Once photos are reduced in number, you can determine how you prefer to access them:
- Photo albums
- Photo boxes
- Web-based photo books such as Shutterfly, Picaboo, Canada Photobooks or directly through Apple’s iPhoto App.
For safekeeping of your photos, find a photo scanning company to digitize them. They can be stored in the cloud, or put onto a device for you to keep.
Take the time to respectfully and carefully preserve your family’s photos and memorabilia. Memories can be the most valuable things in a person’s life. Make your photo keepsakes a treasure for the future!
Lisa McDonald, Nova Scotia Member
Sometimes wrapping gifts can be equally as stressful as buying — and sometimes equally as expensive. Here are some quick and cost-effective ways to nix the wrapping this year.
1) Baskets: They come in all sizes and shapes and can make even simple gifts look attractive. Packing your gifts in baskets doubles the pleasure as most will reuse as holders for bread, towels or fruit, or simply as an accessory. Wrap your goody-filled basket in cellophane and tie with a ribbon.
2) Tins: Antique and reproduction tins make useful and decorative additions to any kitchen. They are ideal for packing such food gifts as gourmet coffees and teas, spices, candy, cookies and cakes, and they will most likely continue to be used.
3) Jars: A Mason jar is the perfect container for homemade condiments, preserves or store-bought candies. Tie a red-and-white cloth napkin around the top and secure with a plaid or gingham taffeta bow.
4) Cloth bags: You can make these by sewing two colourful pieces of cloth together and inserting a drawstring, or you can purchase bags at a store or online. Small bags can be reused to hold jewellery, while larger bags are great for laundry.
5) Photo boxes: This saves a lot of time. Simply place a gift in the photo box and add a tag and a bow. Photo boxes come in an array of colours, patterns and sizes and you can find them for almost any occasion, giving the gift the feeling of being wrapped.
6) Recyclables: You can use movie posters, newspapers, pieces of fabric, comics, maps or whatever else you have lying around the house! Depending on the occasion or the recipient, you can be as basic or as creative as you like.
7) Ribbons and Bows: If something is large enough — or too awkward to wrap — avoid the wrapping process all together and stick some curly ribbons or a pretty bow on it. Scraps of coloured yarn can work for those who are trying to be extra thrifty.
8) Envelopes: For gift cards or gifts of money, place in a card and envelope. Write a letter on the outside of the envelope, roll up and place in a bottle to create a ‘message in a bottle’ effect — or punch a hole through the corner of the envelope and tie a colourful ribbon through it to hang it on a tree.
Being creative and using items around the house can save you time and money. Have fun with these great ideas – the recipient of the gift will enjoy your creative thoughtfulness.