1. Parenting
Tips for Organizing Your Family Photos
By David L. Mishkin, Just Black & White  
  Related Resources
• Family Photos 101
• Dating Old Photos
• Heritage Albums
Preservation Tips
 From Other Guides
• Scrapbooking
• Storing Old Photos



One of the easiest methods for organizing your original family photographs is to group them by size.  This can be done by purchasing archival plastic sheets that have pockets in them.  These come in many different sizes to accommodate almost any popular size original even if they were mounted on a mount board.
If you would prefer to organize them by date, you would need several extra pocket sleeves because each decade of photographs had various sizes that were popular at certain times.  Therefore you may have one page containing one or two 5x7 photographs from the 1880's (for example) and another page containing one or two 8x10's from the 1890's.  Other options are to use archival photo albums with archival pages and using archival corner mounts.  This would enable you to display several photographs of various sizes on a single page, but the albums are usually quite expensive because of the high quality materials used.  If you have any copy negatives, these same pages also come in sizes that can store various size negatives.  Never store the negatives with the prints.  One of the best places to store your negatives or originals is in a safe deposit box in a local bank.  The temperature,  humidity and darkness are just ideal for preservation purposes.

Most family photographs taken today are in color.  Most people are not aware that color photographs (especially those that are displayed) will not last more than 50 years.  Keeping that in mind, one of the best ways to organize the photos you take today is to store them in archival pocket sleeves as in the older photographs above.  Most photographs that you get today are either 3 ½ x 5" or 4x6" Both sizes are available in the plastic pocket sleeves.  Many manufacturers of these sleeves also have areas on each sheet where you can record the event, people and places photographed.  Do this for future generations so they won’t have the same problems you are encountering. 

Once again, these same manufacturers also make archival sleeving for the negatives. These can be organized into three ring binders and each book could cover a time period......individual.....event or location (such as a vacation).  Once again, keep the negatives separate from the photographs.  You can also organize the negatives the same way especially since each sheet of plastic usually holds one roll of film.


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Images © 2000 David Mishkin.  All Rights Reserved.

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