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Downsizing – It’s not just about getting rid of things.

Downsizing is a common chapter in the life of an adult, especially when the kids leave the nest. While there are difficult decisions when contemplating a move to a smaller residence and purging the furniture, mementos and personal belongings have so much more emotional value and investment – especially after 30-40 years of accumulation.

One of the hardest things to do is deciding what to do with the boxes of family photos and home video you’ve collected over the years. Oh, and don’t forget your computer that has a thousand or more photos and video sitting in random folders. On one extreme, organized people have kept photo albums of those special life moments and labeled and organized their home video collection. On the other – and that’s a lot of people, they are the ones with the boxes of visual memorabilia. So what do you do – send them out with the furniture? Leave them as is? Hand them off to your children (you know what they’ll do with them). Remember, these are the precious snapshots of family history, a visual life story of your family.

Let me share with you what I have done – and am continuing to do. First, the many varied cassettes and formats of home video. Not too long ago, I many hours reviewing and consolidating those video clips that I thought were worthy of preserving. While I kept a lot, I also tossed a lot of footage. For example, I had to decide how much video to keep of my son’s soccer matches, the vacation of the kids in the swimming pool, and the endless birthday parties. It wasn’t easy but slowly but surely, I went through every old video cassette and kept what I thought was interesting. I then chronologically combined these events in our family history into three DVD’s cutting about 11 years into 90 or so minutes of a life story. While I still have another ten years to produce, fortunately, most of it is in digital form and already dated and labeled.

Now, regarding the photos. I have gone through all of the physical photos that we wanted to keep and scanned each one. I then organized them into folders on my computer, backing them up on an external hard drive for protection. I have then produced several photo album videos with captions (names, dates, location) that we have shared with our children in recent years. As stated earlier, these are photos of not only our life but of theirs as well and we want to preserve those special memories.

So, ‘how can I do this’, you may ask. First of all, as the old adage says, ‘nothing worth doing is easy’. That said, here are some basic steps to take when choosing to preserve your physical photos and videotapes.


  1. Collect and Identify which photos and video you want to keep and preserve.

  2. Scan the Photos, using the directions provided by your specific scanner or printer/scanner. Make sure your scanner bed is clean and dust free. Use a 600dpi setting for smaller images and 300 dpi for large photos. A common file type is jpg or jpeg. Need tips on proper scanning methods? Click here.

  3. Once scanned, be sure to label each photo and, if possible, create a log with name, location and date along with a brief description of the occasion.

  4. Store and organize the digitized photos in specifically named folders on your computer or device for easy access to share and preserve. You may also create a backup on a DVD, USB drive or external drive.


  1. Determine the home video format and what cables are needed to convert the video to your computer. You will also need software to make this transfer. (There are many options)

  2. Identify the format of your home video and hopefully, you still have the same video player for your videotapes.

  3. Search through the tapes to find what video clips you want to keep. For example, how much of your daughter’s 10th birthday party do you want to keep?

  4. Like the photos, be sure to label each video clip, and, if possible, create a log with name, date and location, with a brief description of the occasion.

  5. Store and organize the digitized photos in specifically named folders on your computer or device for easy access to share and preserve. You may also create a backup on a DVD, USB drive or external drive.

(If you have an interest in creating a video photo album, we can help you. We even have a handheld video photo album using your photos and home video with captions and music. Contact us regarding your own PocketBook Memory Video Player. Find out more, here.

Downsizing not just about getting rid of things – but also about preserving those things that are near and dear to you. Studies have shown, that as one gets older, there comes a time for reflection and appreciation in one’s life. This includes the things you did, the people you met and the places you visited. These visual memories are wonderful reminders of those experiences in your life that helped shape not only who you are but those around you as well. This collection of memories is a keepsake of your life that can and should be passed on to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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