My project for the next few weeks is to try and complete the digitization of all our old paper photographs, along with any paper documents that we might need to reference in the future. I actually started on the photographs last fall and made some good progress, but I still have quite a few more to sift through. Some of them are in albums, but many are just loose in boxes or bags. And of course, some are in frames on the walls or on shelves.
Right now I’m concentrating on the ones in albums. It’s sad to see how the colors have faded or changed over the years under plastic. It makes me appreciate that much more the value of having digital copies of the photos. I’m using our HP Photosmart printer which has a flatbed scanner to scan the photos, and the software that came with the printer does a decent job of correcting the colors and removing dust and scratches. However, it’s nowhere near the quality that the photos had when they were originally taken.
I’m not scanning every single photo that we’ve kept in the albums. For instance, we used to travel from home in Houston, Texas to visit family in Arizona every year. And every year we would visit Sedona and do some hiking, and every year I would photograph the beautiful red rock formations in central Arizona–I couldn’t help myself. So now I have multiple photographs of the same red rock formations, with no context to make them meaningful. I decided to only keep digital copies of the photographs of ourselves, family members, or scenes that we can identify with something that brings back a specific memory. The other photographs are beautiful, but our plan is to make that scenery our backyard soon.
And for paper documents, I’ve ordered a Fujitsu Scansnap mobile scanner that we will be taking on the road with us. I’ll be using it to scan records and receipts from our file cabinet that we might need in the future.
I have plenty of storage space for the digital files on external hard drives that I’ve acquired over the years, and I’ll also be utilizing Cloud storage for some things. It’s a lot of work to go through this process, but it feels so freeing every time I toss one of these old picture albums in the trash can.
My goal is to do something every day to get us one step closer to full-time RV living, and this year I’m right on target!