Published on December 11th, 2015 | by Karen Sencich


Organizing Nostalgic Photo Collections

Scrambling to find a particular photo in your photo inventory can be frustrating especially during times of bereavement. When we have lost a loved one, someone needs to sort through a lifetime of memories to gather photos for the memorial. This can be emotionally exhausting, so why not ask for assistance from the extended family and friends?

Request that photos be scanned and submitted electronically.To speed up the photo finding process and prevent duplication, assign relatives to seek out memories from specific eras i.e. baby, toddler, school days, wedding, work place, family photos, poses with grandchildren, and photos capturing them on vacation or enjoying sports or hobbies.

Flipping through your photo collection can be a source of joy, relaxation and instant nostalgia.The key is to be proactive and re-organize your photo collection now so that you can quickly and effortlessly access cherished memories before there is an urgent need.

We can now snap photos anywhere, anytime using smart phones and then instantly post, file or forward them.There is no rule that says your various photo formats must be maintained in exactly the same way.Years ago,a lifetime of photos fit into a couple of conventional photo albums, usually stored on shelving units.You may have inherited albums or shoe boxes with jumbles of unsorted, unnamed family photos of people you don’t recognize. Arrange a special time to review the photos with an elderly relative who may be able to identify who is pictured, the date location and the occasion being celebrated.

As technology advanced, photofinishing became less expensive, photo collections exploded and photo storage boxes with convenient divider tabs became popular. Today, most photos taken are stored digitally on electronic devices or in the cloud.

My advice to keep track of large photo collections is to create and maintain photo inventory lists using either an Excel spreadsheet or a small binder with loose leaf pages to record how and where photos are stored.Whether you are sorting actual photos or digital files, I suggest labelling using annual categories: winter, spring, summer, autumn and holiday season. Add optional sub-categories for birthdays, anniversaries and vacations. Some years may have special categories such as graduation, weddings, or baby showers.

Avoid storing photos in storage areas with fluctuating temperatures such as the attic or garage. Always store using acid free paper and plastic containers in a cool, dry area, removed from the path of water in case a toilet, dishwasher or washing machine overflows.

Karen SencichShare the fun! E-mail or post a forgotten photo favourite on social media. It is surprising how wonderful a jolt of nostalgia can make us feel. Do it now!

Karen Sencich
Certified Professional Organizer®, Speaker and Writer


About the Author

Karen Sencich

A speaker, writer and an award winning Professional Organizer. Her Havoc to Harmony strategies overcome life's obstacles. She has self-published numerous organizing booklets and she has been featured on Canada AM and in Chatelaine. She provides training through Professional Organizers in Canada and also at Sheridan College.

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