Empty Nesters: 5 Tips to Consolidate & Keep the Memories Alive

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A child leaving home inevitably creates a void, but that bit of extra free time can allow you to invest in your family in new ways. For most parents, there’s a huge backlog of projects around family photos and videos. Shoeboxes are filled with half-organized piles of pictures and most of us don’t have the equipment to view our home videos. There are some who have over 10,000 photos and videos spread across numerous digital devices! It can be easy to feel like we’ve lost control.

The below five projects can help empty nesters organize their photos and videos:

Start with an easy win—transfer your home videos to digital

Digitizing home videos is usually the easiest win and the least stressful way to tackle this media. Most of us have thousands of photos but just a box or two of tapes, so there are fewer decisions to make and the financial investment is much smaller. Video tapes fade fast, so it’s prudent to convert them to digital ASAP.

Set a storytelling goal to guide your prioritizing

Do you want a photo book for each decade of your child’s life? Are you looking to create a slideshow to show your family at an upcoming event or maybe something special for Christmas morning? Knowing the end goal will help guide your decisions and make it easier to select photos and videos. Don’t forget to ask other family members about where their priorities lie when it comes to photos and video!

Don’t let perfection be the enemy

The daunting task of organizing thousands or tens of thousands of images can be paralyzing and prevent any progress on a photo or video project. Focus instead on organizing and digitizing the small, key items you know you can’t live without. Baby or ancestral photos, special albums or meaningful artwork or papers are usually a safe bet.

Focus your time on what you enjoy doing. Outsource the rest.

Maybe you love creating photo books of your children but can’t stand the time and energy it takes to get everything organized beforehand. Maybe you are slowly digitizing 20 years’ worth of slides but you don’t have the expertise to make the photo book. That’s OK.

There are graphic design services that can help you create a photo book; APPO and NAPO are great resources for organizing photos. There are also dozens of services that will help you scan your old photos and slides and convert your videos to digital.

Take control of your digital photo library and keep track of future memories.

Most people have thousands of photos scattered across different devices, oftentimes copied in multiple places and taking up needless space. Start by getting everything in one location. Buy a hard drive and load it with the photos from all the different devices. Once everything is in one place, remove all of the duplicate and triplicate photos. If you lack the technical expertise to consolidate and de-duplicate your archive, pursue outside help. Having a single, de-duplicated archive is empowering and great motivation to keep control of your digital photos going forward.

Jennifer Niloff is a lifelong scrapbooker who turned her passion into the nation’s leading photo-organizing business, EverPresent. Established in 2012, her company now employs over 40 professionals and serves clients nationwide. Jennifer writes on topics ranging from photo-scanning best practices to digital photo organizing to using photo books and edited slideshows as the best methods to share your important family photos and videos with loved ones.