Help Organizing 40 Years of Photos

Help! I am putting 40 years worth of photos into albums! What a mess, and its so difficult to categorize them; according to ages and which grandchild age to put where, when they are all together w/family. I wish we could have afforded picture albums then! I've been doing this for 2 weeks and every room of my house is messy picture piles everywhere on every table.

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All of that to ask you is this; my daughter is on her 3rd marriage (and her last!) so the problem is, do you put the pictures of the children's fathers in the album too? I don't want to offend my son in law now. The mom and dad are in the pictures with the kids too. I'm trying to leave out the ones where they are standing too close, etc. But the pictures are so good! What do you do in this case?

I think my grandsons should be able to see their dads in the pictures from their *babyhood* along w/ their mom. One of the dads we don't care for, but I want to be fair to the child. I even thought of carefully cutting out his face or something lol, but I don't want to ruin the picture. Or making a private album and keeping it hidden. Then at least one day maybe the kids will get to see it, or not. I can't be the only one who this bugs. What do you do in this case?

November 21, 20070 found this helpful
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I've organized pictures for my mom and for my husband when we got married. He also had about 40 years worth of pictures.

The best way, that I've found, is sort out all the pictures, first by size, square ones in one pile, rectangular ones in a pile, portraits (school, professional) in another pile. Then separate color from black and white. Then separate the curly edges from the straight edges, and block corners from rounded corners. Separate the pictures with a white border around them from the ones that don't have a border. By this time you will be able to tell which are the older pictures and which are the newer pictures. Also, note that many of the older pictures have the date printed in the border. Put the same dates together.

Once that is done, turn them all upside down and start separating by the code on the back of the picture. The newer ones might not have codes, but some will. Once they are separated by codes, then you have all the pictures from the same roll of film together and you know that those were taken around the same time, probably within a month of each other. Many of them are even numbered and dated so you can tell what order they are in. Do this with all the piles that you have. If you have any left over that don't have codes (and you will have culled the pictures quite a bit) then you can put the pictures together by backgrounds or same clothing that each person is wearing. Maybe someone took a picture of a little girl in the back yard in the morning and then again in the kitchen eating dinner. You know it was the same day because she's wearing the same clothes.

It is amazing how easy they are to put together and usually in fairly decent order using this system. You can generally tell an order by the age of the person in the picture.

I sorted my husband's pictures and did great, got them in albums in order, then his mother brought over a whole new box to go through. I had to try to insert them, in order, with the ones I'd already sorted. Then, believe it or not, his ex-wife brought over a bunch of hers and I had to do it all over again. But the system worked!

Hope this helps.

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November 22, 20070 found this helpful
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These are great ideas. I wanted to add that as the grown-up kid of a divorce and various remarriages by parents that excluding one parent may be taken as a hurt by the children involved. A child knows that he/she is the product of two parents and if one is excluded, then they child may wonder if something is wrong with them too. I would include all the photos where the children are present and also a few of just the couple.

I remember being comforted by seeing happy couple and wedding pictures of my parents as a child. It said that even if things didn't work out for them later, there was a time when my parents were happy together. If the new spouse is insecure, than I think making an album just for the kids is a great idea.

I cheated on this when I had to sort through several boxes of family pictures after grandma had a stroke. I scanned them all, sorting them into folders by family branch as I went, then burned a CD for the interested people. They can go get real "pictures" to make albums. I don't have the artistic skills.

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January 14, 20080 found this helpful
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I gave my son an album of pictures for his thirtieth birthday. Special ones I wanted I made copies of. It helped clean out the piles.

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November 20, 20070 found this helpful

Having dealt with divorces in my family heritage, it's definitely a touchy subject. You have to weigh the importance of family roots with the sensitivity of some relatives.

Personally, I would include ALL pictures regardless of which father/step-father is in them. My husband is a step-father to my children, but he acknowledges that the kids have a father too and that he's a part of their lives. The only exception to this that I might consider is a situation where there was abuse involved or negative memories.

Take your time organizing the pictures....your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will fully appreciate your efforts.

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November 20, 20070 found this helpful

The other option is to create the photo albums for the children themselves.

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November 21, 20070 found this helpful

Set up a chronological album like Noella suggested. Set aside differences for the sake of accuracy-if so and so was married to Judie in 1998 then he'll be in those pictures but not in the ones from 1999 after they got the divorce/ does that make sense.

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November 21, 20070 found this helpful

As a divorced mom, I have albums for my sons and for myself. My ex is included in the albums when he was with me, but, not of course, after. If the boys have a picture with their dad from the present time, it can go into their album.

If you had made those albums as the pictures were taken, the dads would be in the albums, so don't think you should leave them out just because you are doing this retroactively, unless, of course, there is some other negative memory involved.

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November 22, 20070 found this helpful

Boy..this makes me glad that I always put my photos directly into photo chests as I got them..ended up having well over 3,000 pictures probably more since the 60's...I recently went through all mine and gave the main person in the photo the pictures.

We are in our 60's now and don't want to leave all these photos for someone to wonder what to do with them. The grand children are still young so I am putting all their pictures into an album for each of them..when completed I will leave them each their separate album. I have tons of new storage space!

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November 22, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks for all the suggestions with putting all these photos

into albums. I'm on the 5th album. Each one holds 300, actually 600, cause I have doubles of every single one! Now you want to talk about a mess?! Its unreal. My grand kids cant even get to either computer to use them, cause this is the room where the pics are.

*Grama will clobber us if we step on any of these* yes they are all over the floor, and every flat surface AND on their bunk beds in piles. Sheesh! Why did I wait so long. Crazy. Grampa spent 2 hrs on them this AM, and he gave me the *I dont want to do this look!* I shouted DON'T say a word! lol Luckily he didnt. hehe

Well.. After reading and re reading all your great suggestion, I decided to put ALL the pics into albums!

Even the one of the no good rotten dad of our sweet grandson! AND a few of a way back when BF. After all our

grandkids are in them. Thats what matters. These are for them when we are gone right? right! :)This week end I'm off to Jo Ann Fabrics to get 5 more albums. They have them for $19 any where else they are $30 to $45 and not near as large as these.

You really need to lay these on a table top to view them since there are doubles in each slot. The most time consuming part is looking at the pics. I start looking and forget I'm supposed to be sorting or inserting

them in the slots lol. But I love them. One thing for sure, when this is done, you wont catch another Photo envelope laying around my house w/o being in an album!

**Happy Thankgiving!**

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November 22, 20070 found this helpful

I think it would be good to leave the pictures of Dad and Mom together in the photo album. Telling the child(age appropriate) Mommy and Daddy loved you so much and were happy when you were born. It's the adults who would have a problem with it. Making a decision on what's best for the child should make the question easy to answer.

Your other question about sorting pictures would all depend on your own choices. Sort by years if you plan to continue having pictures. Make sure you label your pictures with the names of the people on the back with a special pen that won't hurt or bleed through. Before my Mom died, we went through her picture albums that the whole family loved to look at. She gave each adult child pictures of their children. I made copies of the pictures that had additional people in it. We put them in new books and gave them out for Christmas presents. Everyone loved their pictures and now someone doesn't keep or hold all the pictures. Good luck.

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