On Saturday, we celebrated the 98 ½ years of my grandmother’s life well lived. My aunts and uncle and their families live in Kansas and Texas, so we don’t have the opportunity to see each other very often and though it was a sad occasion, we all felt it was important to enjoy our time together and share fond memories of grandma.

During the visitation and during the lunch after the funeral, we watched an 11-minute video scrapbook that honored grandma’s memory. The pictures started with a photo of her as a baby in 1917 and ended with a picture of grandma holding my son Anderson who was born in 2016.  I also, created a longer video scrapbook for the family to watch after the funeral because there were just so manyDeloris Korth Tonjes_Celebration of Life - (1) good pictures of Deloris’ almost a century of life. All 25 people were touched (lots of laughing and crying) by seeing all these photos while sitting together. (ok maybe not Anderson  since he is only 3 months old) We then sat together and looked at the old photos and memorabilia.  The autograph book from 1932 was so much fun to read and learn that my grandmother’s nickname was toots.

As I spent the week before scanning pictures (front and back because grandma was really good and writing a description on the back) and going through the 2016-02-11-Anderson---Day-29-(8) 1000s of pictures to find the best ones to share in a slideshow, I just kept thinking – Grandma would have loved to watch with video scrapbook with all of us.  Over the last three years or so, she wasn’t much for conversation but she always enjoyed looking at pictures of her family. (Though she just couldn’t quite  understand the laptop, tablet or phone that we were showing her the photos on)

I share this personal experience because it would be my dream if families could experience the sharing part of this before their loved one leaves this world.    Since I am a Personal Photo Organizer, I have the equipment to quickly scan a lot of photos. (last year, before my husband’s grandfathers funeral, we scanned  almost 11,000 photos in about 36 hours). It is important to start thinking about your own legacy at any age.  My parents are in their 60s but it is important to have their photos organized so we can celebrate their lives while they are still here to enjoy it (and maybe give us story behind the picture).  Gather the photos for significant birthday or anniversary and don’t wait until they can no longer share their memories.


Some basics to start the process of organizing a life of photos.

1-Gather all your photos in one place.

2-Organize the printed photos in 1 of 3 ways.

  • Chronological (this one can be the hardest but you may be able to get it to a decade)
  • Person (of a stack of each person and then family, friends, etc)
  • Theme (holidays, vacations, school activities, sporting events, etc.)

3-Scan as many photos as possible. (time and money can be a factor)

4-Back up the digital images (ideally in 3 places) I really love FOREVER.com for the really special photos.

5 – Share these photos and try to also tell the story of the picture.

If you need help with organizing, scanning or the best way to share your photos and memorabilia, HOPE organizing would be happy to help.  Contact us here.


  1. Andi Willis

    Thanks for the touching post. I made a photo book from my mom’s 70th birthday. It was such a great way to celebrate her big day and she’s able to continue to enjoy the pictures, many of which she hadn’t seen in years!

  2. Caroline

    Great post, Lisa! Your Grandma sounds like quite the lady with a nickname like that! 🙂

  3. Lisa

    What do you do with the original pictures once you have scanned them? Great post and encouraging for those of us who have lots of pictures.

    • HOPEorganizing

      I often put them into photo boxes or archival photo albums. The #1 concern is getting photos out of magnetic albums (the ones with sticky pages) because those will damage your photos.


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