While watching “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things,” I began to consider what, if anything, we could live without. To be honest, I initially felt like we were in a decent place. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there were items that were taking up space, somewhat unnecessarily. One major item in question: photo albums.
Sure, photo albums keep your memories neatly organized and tucked away, but you still have to store the albums themselves, which take up space you could use in a better way. Initially, I did a bit of research on places that scan and archive your photos, and other documents, for you. Although its certainly an option, it didn’t seem worth the expense to me when we have a perfectly good scanner at home.
At first the task seemed pretty daunting. Then, I remembered that I had gone through them all before we moved, so there were at least fewer than there had been just a few months ago. When I finally took stock of what lay ahead, I found we only had 5 photo albums — two of which were pretty small. I decided to start small.
It only took about an hour to scan all the photos in both the small ones, leaving me feeling accomplished, and like this might not take so much time after all. A couple days later, I moved on to one of the larger, but still on the smaller side, albums. It took about 2-3 hours to scan and sort through which ones I wanted to keep, and which I was willing to part with. I left the two big kahuna’s for another day.
When I returned to scanning a few days later, I started with the largest and fullest album. It was loaded with old family photos from when my dad was a kid; my parents’ wedding and a couple vacations they took before I came along; plenty of pictures from his various hunting trips; and other photos my dad had taken. There were plenty I knew I wanted to keep, so when I started scanning, I just scanned. I’d worry about sorting later!
About halfway through (when I got to the hunting trip section), I started sorting. Landscapes are beautiful, but I didn’t need them all so most of them went into the “see if someone else wants these” pile. When I got to my parents’ old photos, I pulled out duplicates and any I didn’t care to have physical copies of to take home to my mom. I don’t know that she’ll want them, but that’s for her to decide, not me. And finally, I was on the last album! Most of these were my photos from high school and a bit of college, and it got pared down the most. Scanning both of the larger albums at the end took about 4-5 hours, but the task is pretty easy. Plus, you can work on other tasks while scanning to make the time go faster, if you want.
Although I ditched a lot of photos throughout the process, every single one was scanned and archived on an external hard drive. Now, all of our remaining photos live in one, singular, photo album! In all honesty, 99% of the pictures I kept aren’t even mine; they’re old Polaroids or black and white photos of someone else’s life. But they bring me joy, so they get to stick around.