Saturday, January 31, 2009

Downsizing: What To Do With All the Photos, etc?

Getting ready to 'Full Time RV' requires getting rid of a lot of things. Some items our kids wanted. A lot of items we threw away. We sold some items on Craig's List. We also gave some things to friends or charities.

One of the most time consuming activies in this who process what been: scanning photos
We probably accumulated 25 photo albums over the last 30 years: What to do with all the photographs?

Then there were about 1700 35 mm slides. And maybe 15 VHS videos. ---All those will never fit into an RV!

Here's what we did:
Photos - we sucked it up and scanned thousands of pictures. That has taken months! We could find an online company and ship them off but it is fairly costly.
This is all I have left to scan. I bundled each album into a stack with a rubber band and put them in a storage boxes. I am down to the last one. Then I:
  • Take them one at a time,
  • Put them face down on my HP Photosmart C8180 All-in-One Printer/Scanner/Copier
  • Wait 45 seconds for the scanning
  • Get another photo
  • Do it again
  • And again
  • And

As you can imagine, I have been doing this for months. I got some great help from Michelle and Kayla when the visited. They watched some movies while they scanned several hundred of these bad boys.
35 mm slides - we have been storing boxes of slides. We looked through hundreds and hundreds, sorted through them and kept the ones that had people in them.
(We kept a few 'place shots'.)
That reduced it down to about 700 slides. Then we took them to Costco and had them copy them to CD's. That was a little costly too, but we got it done.Videos - Over the years we had taped the kids, some special occasions and 'documented' some of our trips (like an in flight air-refueling of a F-16 Thunderbirds from a the KC-10).

We bought a machine that take the VHS tape and allows you to convert it to a DVD. Ours looks like this and is a couple of years old.
If you want to buy a new one, they are about $300 at Best Buy:It took about a month to get them all copied over to DVDs. Pam took on that project. What a relief when that was done.

Other people may use a different strategy - but that has been our approach. If I had it to do over again I would have gotten a scanner that has a document feeder so I could do taxes and other papers more quickly.


  1. Good job! That's what I did, and it took me 6 mths to do it. I took a page a time not individually. If you need them you can do a crop later. We'll see you down the road.

  2. Oops, I should have waited 'til Kris was done singing - clicking on comments cut him off :(

    I have been piddling at the photo-digitizing thing, and the cassette tape digitizing thing, for years, when the road brings me to where they are and I get a chance. I wish I could have done it before I moved into my first rv in 95 but I hadn't even heard of scanners then and I was running windows 3.1! It's amazing how much stuff we can squeeze into a computer now.

  3. We used a PanDigital photo scanner that stores the pictures on a tiny SD disk that you can put into a digital photo frame or backup on your computer. We backed ours up on a Western Digital external drive. Now all our photos are stored on this tiny drive and no more boxes, or photo albums to carry around. It has worked out great!