Aging Well in the Gorge February 9th 2022

 Taking my advice, I’ve started the long-neglected task of “decluttering” and while doing so I’ve found old pictures in closets, drawers, and banker boxes stored in a basement corner – photos I haven’t looked at for years! What do I do with all of them? How do I downsize my photo collection? For those of you who may find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few ideas I’ve discovered.

Pace yourself. It’s a big job. Spend one to two hours at a time - and I’ve found it takes longer than I thought as I recall stories with each photo.

Get started. Gather all your photos and find a comfortable place to sit where you have room to sort photos and can leave them out for a few weeks. The dining room table? Or the floor in a seldom-used room if you don’t mind getting up off the floor – which I do mind!.

Now the hard part. How do you organize your photos? You can sort in chronological order: a timeline of your family history; by theme: all your family Christmas photos; or sort by person: a particular family member. Use whatever method makes sense to you.

That was the hard part. But here is the really hard part: deciding what to keep.

It is suggested you sort your photos into three subcategories.

1.) Discard pile. All the duplicates and multiple pictures of the same scene. (How many pictures of the garden do you really need?)

2.) The top 10%: These are the photos you’d frame or put in an album. A special memory, a special place, or just a photo artistically well done.

3.) Everything Else: They’re photos you don’t feel strongly about but don’t want to throw away either. Box them up, label them, and don’t give them another thought. Most likely over time, as happens with many stored items hidden in the basement, you’ll lose any real attachment to them.

You’ve finished the hard parts, now how do you want to store them? There are several options.

1.) Shoebox-size boxes for 4x6 photos and manila folders for larger pictures.

2.) Acid-Free” or “Archival Quality” photo albums of similar height that can fit nicely on a shelf.

3.) Digitize your photos. You can use a high-quality printer to scan your “10%” photos or use one of the many online companies that digitize photos for a price such as ScanMyPhotos and Legacybox.

One advantage is they are easier to share including those embarrassing photos of your siblings - or yourself. (The photo of my six-year-old self sitting on the bathroom toilet pretending to read the newspaper - which my sister gleefully shared with her high school girlfriends. No wonder I didn’t date much!)

Another advantage of digital photos is you can create one-of-a-kind photo products. The online company Shutterfly will use your digitized photos to produce personalized gifts such as mugs, framed prints, T-shirts, and even jigsaw puzzles.

Organizing your decades-old photos can be as overwhelming as decluttering your house, but it’s worth it. When I can no longer hold their hands, my children and grandchildren can sort through old photos and share stories of friends, family, and Papa Scott.

The United States president who first replaced Vice President Spiro Agnew and nine months later became President when Richard Nixon resigned was President Gerald Ford from the University of Michigan. I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Barbara Cadwell, Gene Uczen, Rhonda Spies, Donna Mollett, Mike McFarlane, Rebecca Adams, Ruth Radcliffe, Margo Dameier, Pat Evenson-Brady, and Stephen Woolpert, whom I almost forgot, and is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

First published in comics form in 1949, this popular comic character would unintentionally scare everyone while trying to find a friend. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this friendly ghost? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a picture of the ghostly trio: Fatso, Fusso, and Lazo.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep an open mind without losing it. Until we meet again, take time each day to enjoy the pleasure of dreaming.

“The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.” Will Rogers

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