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What To Do With Old Photo Albums: 11 Ideas

The typical family has thousands of photos stored in their homes, and many of them are haphazardly shuffled into photo albums.

There is one problem, though: these hulking collections tend to take up a lot of space. But what can you do about it?

In this guide, we discuss some of the most common ways to refresh and repurpose the photo albums of yesteryear – from digitizing your photos to making them into cute gifts or buying the best photo album to display your memories.

But if your albums are damaged, photo restoration is the initial step to getting your old images ready for reprinting and handing out. To get your photos restored and perfected first, Image Restoration Center can get it done for you!

1. Preserve And Restore Your Photos For Future Generations

Everyone wants their old photos to last forever, especially when each of them represents the good memories we’ve shared with loved ones.

Showing your grandparents a memory of a family Xmas party can help create a strong family connection.

However, the sad truth is that paper photos aren’t designed to last a lifetime. They can decay and deteriorate within a few years if not cared for or stored correctly. 

But does that mean your precious photograph is lost forever? Of course not.

Many families come to professional photo restoration services like Image Restoration Center to breathe new life into their old photos.

When you have tons of old, black and white photographs cluttering up your home, photo restoration services can scan and restore your images to their former glory.

Getting your memories professionally restored means you’ll have digital copies of your most treasured memories, making it easy to share them with friends and family on social media or email. As a bonus, the next generation will have easy access to your digital collection.

2. Donate Your Photo Album To Historical Societies Or Local Museums

Sometimes the idea of organizing photos doesn’t seem worth it for some people, and that’s okay! Historical societies and museums can find the perfect place for them. Sometimes these organizations will even process and digitize the physical photos for you, providing high-quality scans for you to save to your Google Photos or other cloud-based storage service.

So if you’re fine with letting go of your potentially historically significant memories, we recommend heading over to the container store, picking up some boxes, and packing your loose photos up for donation.

Who knows, you might even find a photo of mom or dad on your next visit to the local museum.

3. Find A Scanning Service And Make A Photo Book

Sometimes all your old photo albums need is a refresh, and rearranging them into fresh new books might be just the ticket. The first step? Scan each picture. 

Getting family photos scanned is the easiest way to make them last forever, and finding someone to do the job and scan a bunch of pictures for you makes the whole thing hassle-free. 

Once you get the photos back and digitized, begin organizing them into photo books to send to friends and family! You can even enlist the help of your kids or parents for that heartwarming, homemade feel.

4. Add Documents, Captions, And Old Letters For Context

The secret to outstanding scrapbooks and photo albums is context – newspaper clippings, website articles, documents, or even handwritten notes are great ways to elevate any collection. 

Are you unsure about the context behind a few pictures taken before you were born? This can be an excellent opportunity to interview your family members and learn something new about your history.

5. Display Your Favorite Photos In Your House

It can be really easy to forget about old photos when they’re stuck inside albums or boxes, and that’s what makes this one of our favorite ideas. It’s an easy way to thin out the horde of photographs while enhancing your home with beautiful reminders of the past.

Peel your favorite pictures out of those dusty albums, then frame them using archival materials and acid-free paper to make sure they don’t fade over time! You can display them on your wall, on the mantle at your family home, or even at work.

6. Organize Old Family Photos Into Boxes

One of the best things about old photos is their stories. Free your photographs from the confines of their album and store them in secure boxes for easy perusal. You can even make it a family project by asking mom or dad to help you out! 

By storing them in a moisture-proof box, you’ll be safeguarding your precious family heirlooms from some of the most common reasons photos don’t last: mold, fading, and moisture damage.

7. Make A Scrapbook Out Of Your Photographs

Is your old photo album totally disorganized? The solution is simple: rearrange the pictures and organize them into a scrapbook. Removing antique photos from the contexts of their giant albums is a great way to breathe new life into something from the past. It can also help you relive the best parts of life while kicking your creativity into high gear. 

While we recommend going into this project with a few ideas of the end goal, it’s completely fine if you don’t! As long as you enjoy the journey, your scrapbook is already a success.

Here are our suggestions for sorting through each photo and arranging them in one of the following ways:

  • Chronologically
  • By person
  • Thematically (e.g. family vacations, weddings, or other big events)

One of the best things about scrapbooks is that they have a little more space for personal touches compared to boring ol’ albums. If you don’t feel like simply sticking your images in a giant book and letting it sit for the next 20 years, bust out your crafts kit and let your creativity run wild.

8. Send Extra Copies Of Your Old Photos To Family Members

Some people make it a point to take several photos of the same event, resulting in numerous identical images. As a result, many families have more images than they could ever think to frame or store. 

So what can you do to declutter without throwing away these precious images? Organize your duplicate old photos into a new album, and send them to loved ones you know will appreciate them! You can even include a heartfelt message or two to really bring home how much the images meant to you.

9. Make A Presentation

Take a walk down memory lane and preserve precious moments with this fun activity. Here’s what you need to do before getting started:

  1. Prepare your laptop or PC.
  2. Assemble your favorite home videos.
  3. Collect blank or rewritable DVDs for backup purposes.
  4. Digitize your photos with a phone or scanner.
  5. Download video editing software.
  6. Organize your favorite videos and pictures into file folders.

Once you have everything ready, pick out some of your favorite digital photos and videos, then put them together for a heartfelt presentation to send to your loved ones.

10. Turn Old Family Photos Into Fun Gifts

If you’re the unofficial keeper of your family history, then you probably have hundreds of photos strewn around the house. This can be overwhelming, but you have one distinct advantage when it’s gift-giving season. Here are some ideas for photo gifts for Mother’s Day

Turn your digital photos into cute gifts, and you’ll be set for the holidays for the next few years! But how do you do that? The answer is simple.

Lots of supermarket chains and photo printing stores have online services to achieve your intended results. In some cases, clients can even simply upload images onto their site and choose the product to have the image printed on. That includes calendars, mugs, or even blankets.

11. If You Really Don’t Want Them, Throw Them Away

The hard truth about hoarding box after box of photos is that sometimes they need to be thrown away. Letting go of these precious moments can be difficult, even if the moments they contain are bittersweet ones. Whether you don’t have enough space to store them, want to forget about the specific moments captured in the photos, or just have no use for them, throwing away or destroying old photo albums can be cathartic and freeing.

Photographs allow people to relive the good times long after they’ve passed, but they can often take up too much space or deteriorate over time. Luckily, there’s a wide selection of non-album places to stick your photos, and some of them can even become fun and functional items like mugs or blankets.

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