Here’s the Easy Way to Declutter and Digitize So You can Enjoy Your Printed Photos, VHS Videos, and More

You know those photos of you wearing bell-bottom jeans while visiting the Grand Canyon or traveling around the U.S. in the ‘70s?  Are they stashed somewhere in the closet or packed away in the garage?

They’d be so fun to show your kids and young grandkids, just like my friend Karen Goldberg in this photo.

Slide of family 1970s on vacation
Scroll down to learn about digitization from my friend, Karen Goldber. Her family vacation slides are easily shareable from her album

Or the VHS tape of your daughter hitting a home run in her final high school softball game would be fun to watch again. But where is it?

Maybe the tape is in your study. But if you don’t have a VHS player, then how will you watch it?

Read on and see why digitizing old media files is an important solution to safeguarding your family’s memories.

It’s one of the services I offer as a photo coach.

Clutter’s Messy Cycle

Clutter builds up and seems to grow, doesn’t it?

It’s hard enough to keep a desk at work clean. It gets even tougher to be clutter-free at home when you’re busy and people are coming and going. You might find time to stop and organize your old files, but where will you put them?

If you don’t have a system to digitize your files, then clutter wins out.

Stacks of slides, photos, videos

Clutter has an advantage because technology changes and older media files get tougher to enjoy, and yet we don’t want to get rid of those memories. So we hang onto them and clutter grows.

Your memories are part of your family’s history so don’t let clutter bog you down.

Let’s declutter and digitize.

The Easiest Way to Digitize Old Files

I’ve been a photo coach since 1995 when we had to print from rolls of film. Remember driving up to those one-hour processing centers to drop off your film with your kids in the back seat?

Yeah, that’s how old I am.

When digital cameras became the in-thing I used scanners to get printed photos onto laptops. They were cool but scanning photos by hand absolutely devours your time. Phew.

Here’s an easy-to-follow 3-step process I use with my clients to digitize their older media.

Step 1 – Gather everything into one place

Let’s bring everything into one place, your staging area.

Choose a spot in your home where you can gather all of your printed photos, VHS tapes, audio cassettes, slide shows, and printed documents. Is it in a bonus room, a seldom-used guest room, or in a closet?

Some of my clients use plastic storage bins to hold their files.

Now think through where your files are: taped-up boxes in the garage or basement? Any of the kids’ rooms? Do you have older file cabinets with anything stored in them?

Bring them to your central location.

Step 2—Sort to Keep and Delete

Okay, now you’re going to decide what to keep and what files to discard. Does that sound scary?

Some of us like to keep everything because we’re afraid to toss away something meaningful. That’s one of the reasons we cling to things, as noted in Discover magazine: many people hold onto items with the thought they might need it in the future, or they hope their children will want it one day (scroll down for the link to the original article).

But that turns into clutter and you can’t find the memories that bring you the most enjoyment.

I want you to decide with confidence.

Keep this in mind:

Don’t try and save everything. Instead, do this.

Think logically

    You’re saving these memories for your enjoyment and you’re saving them for future family members who you’ll never meet. These are descendants who will access the files in the next 50 years to 100 years from now.

    What will give them the best sense of your family’s legacy? They won’t be interested in scrolling through everything you have so what key files should they see?

    Think emotionally

    If a photo jumps out and tugs at your heart, then it’s a keeper. Maybe it makes you laugh or makes you want to shed a tear. Place those in a keeper folder and label it.

    Trust your judgment.

    You don’t have to do this all at one time so don’t feel overwhelmed. Take a half to an hour on a weeknight or weekend.

    Step 3 – Pack your files and ship them

    FOREVER Digitization Box
    FOREVER Digitization Box

    Step 2 is the most involved while Step 3 is quite simple.

    Trust the process.

    I use FOREVER® for my digitization needs.

    Here’s why:

    FOREVER® is the most complete memory-keeping system available and they have a new much larger state-of-the-art facility just outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin due to the growth of their digitization service.

    Man and woman sitting at camera and computer with images
    Digitization is done with great care

    Their customer service is outstanding and if they have any questions, then they’ll contact you.

    They handle fragile files, too. A friend of mine who’s also a photo coach found a Super 8 home movie of her parent’s wedding from 1953. The FOREVER® team handled it just fine.

    Do More with Digital Files

    Once your files are digitized, I’ll share how you’ve got wonderful options for permanent storage and printed projects like photo books, gifts, and options for streaming your videos on any device, including a smart TV.

    Let’s Digitize Systematically

    You don’t have to digitize all of your old files at once. Instead, use my easy-to-follow system to do small amounts at a time if that works best.

    What’s important is that you have a system to follow. You can use the same steps to save your newest photos and videos stored on your phone, laptop, external hard drive, or other electronic devices.

    Woman wearing glasses looking at computer monitor
    Contact Melody for a photo consultation

    Your memories are worth saving and enjoying.

    Contact me here or click Book a Session on any of my website’s pages to schedule a time to talk and get to know each other.

    Interested in photo coaching as a business?

    If you enjoy helping others, then photo coaching may be for you. Let me know and I’ll be glad to share my experience. I’ll mentor you if you feel this is a business opportunity that you’d like to explore.

    Click here for:

    Digitizing Vacation Photos with Karen Goldberg

    Want to understand clutter better? 😊

    Here’s the link to Discover magazine’s article Why Do We Hold On To Clutter?


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    Safeguard Your Memories

    At Safeguard Your Memories, we go beyond mere photo storage. We empower you through personalized photo coaching, guiding you through the process of photo digitization, organization, and creative printing solutions.

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