Thanks for the Memories: Keepsakes and Archives

I have been thinking a lot about how I want to keep pictures and other keepsakes for our children and future generations.  If you are over 25, you probably have a pile of photographs or photo albums (or worse slides!) lying around somewhere - likely in an underused area of cabinet, basement, or attic.  I have several large boxes of photos and photo albums hanging out in my attic and another few albums taking up precious cabinet space in our living room.  I would love to get these pictures stored in a more efficient and user-friendly place.  My goal is to scan all of those pictures and make large photo albums on Shutterfly which would be easy to pull out and laugh look at.  Of course, this is a very long term goal although if we get another crazy snowy winter this year then maybe that will happen sooner than expected. 

I recently purchased a Pandigital photo scanner that I really like.  I scanned some old pictures of the house that I had laying around and it took about 10 seconds per picture.  I could easily do a huge pile while watching TV at night. Once they are scanned, I will make some albums.

As for our digital pictures, I have tried very hard to keep up to date with making photo albums on Shutterfly, particularly with pictures of the kids.  I have many years of digital files before that sitting unused on external hard drives.  At some point I'll get around to making albums out of those.

I went a little wild with making albums of pictures of Elizabeth when she was a baby.  I made them about every 4-5 months so there are several for her first 2 years of life.  Poor Alex only got one paperback album at about 4 months old.  Better than nothing, right? 

In the last couple of years I wizened up a bit and started making family albums on Shutterfly for each year.  Although most of my albums are relatively small (around 8x10), I may start making slightly larger albums in future years so I can hold more pictures, but last year's album had about 100 pages and that worked fine.  They include pictures of our vacations, family events, parties, birthdays, weddings, holidays, and just random every day pictures from our life sorted chronologically.  They really are nice and hopefully will be a great and lasting memory for many generations - long after the digital files are lost!

We also have a few Shutterfly albums for special occasions, like my brother's wedding, and a wonderful book of family pictures which my cousin made for our family reunion last year.  My brother and his wife received all of the digital files of their photographer's pictures so we were able to make our own albums using those pictures and other pictures we had.  

I was not very creative when it came to baby books for my kids.  I think scrapbooks are amazing and it looks like so much fun but I just do not have time (or space) to make a good effort.  So, I went with pre-printed baby books.  A friend gave me a baby book by Susan Branch for Elizabeth (our oldest) which I love.  This adorable book is absolutely stuffed with pictures and keepsakes for Elizabeth.  Alex's baby book is a little slimmer (sorry Alex!) but I have made an effort to keep track of various milestones.  Whenever I let it slip, I think about Jim's totally empty baby book - he was the third child!  I am a little behind on Alex's right now but plan to mark a few things down after I finish this post!  I like it because it is spiral bound so it's easier to turn the pages.  It includes a few pockets for things as well.

My favorite recent keepsake find is a birthday book which you fill in for your child's birthday, including a short interview.  My daughter loved doing her 4th birthday interview.  The book chronicles your child's life  through 18 years old so it has more longevity.  This would make a great first birthday gift.  Hopefully filling in the kids' birthday books will become a family birthday tradition!

How do you store memories of your life?