importance of photos Archives | The Family Photo Keeper by Fancy's Photo Solutions
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Your memories – photos and heirlooms – are important to you. But your grown children may have told you they don’t want them. Read on to find out why and what to do about it.

Have your kids ever told you they don’t want your stuff? Or worse yet, they specifically don’t want your scrapbooks (or photo albums or boxes of photos)?

Or maybe you just intuit that they don’t, even if the conversation never actually happened.

You’re not alone.

I’ve heard these words from many of my clients, and probably most painfully from those who have invested years of time and money into scrapbooking their family memories. I’ve also heard them from people with boxes of unorganized photo memories, and it makes them feel like “why bother?”

As a family photo keeper, you value your memories and photos so much because they feature the people, events, and places that you love. And you know in your heart your kids love them, too, so their response seems unfathomable. It may even make you feel like giving up.

I think we all dream of a world where our cherished memories are cherished by future generations. And I believe it’s possible. Read on and I’ll tell you why I believe that and how to make it happen.

I Don’t Believe Your Kids Don’t Want Your Memories

It’s the lament of our generation, that our kids don’t want our stuff. Google shows over 50 results for that search, including in such esteemed publications as Forbes and Psychology Today. But I don’t believe it totally, and here’s why.

Generational Differences Account for Some of the Misunderstanding

Boomers – those of us born between 1946 and 1964 – often had parents who grew up with very little. They worked hard and they saved money. Their success in life was demonstrated by what they could buy – homes, furniture, cars, and so on. There was pride in ownership.

Although we grew up with these values of hard work and delayed gratification, we – women especially – often had more education and career aspirations than previous generations. And our children grew up in very different families than we did. Society as a whole changed a lot between our parents’ and our own generation, and then again between our own and our children’s generation.

We generally see no reason not to accept our parent’s heirlooms and add them to our own collections. But our children tend to be minimalists and to define success differently than previouus generations. And it can be hard not to take their rejection of our “stuff” personally. It may even inspire laziness or inaction on our parts – why should we bother if they don’t want it?

It is, however, simply how lifestyles and values have changed between generations. But one thing hasn’t changed, and that’s because there is a biological basis for it.

The Science of Nostalgia

According to Google, nostalgia is defined as “***a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.***” For most of human history, it was considered a psychopathological disorder.

Creative Memories jumpstarted the modern scrapbooking movement in 1987 and capitalized on family nostalgia. Yet many people still looked down on it.

No controlled studies were done on the effects of nostalgia until after1999 when social psychologist Constantine Sedikides admitted to another psychologist friend that he had been feeling nostalgic for the location of his former job in another country. His friend diagnosed him as depressed. He disagreed and was inspired to pioneer the scientific study of nostalgia.

What We Now Know About Nostalgia

Over the past two decades much has been learned about nostalgia.

First, it is universally experienced and is mostly positive. The topics are also universal – reminiscences about friends and family members, holidays, weddings, songs, sunsets, vacations, etc.

Second, it can affect our bodies and brains in ways that can be measured. It can be seen on brain scans, and it can make our bodies physically warmer, which may have been a survival mechanism. It has also been shown to affect decision making.

Third, and most important to our discussion, is that nostalgia changes as we grow and age.

  • Nostalgia has been documented in children as young as 7, which makes sense from a developmental perspective.
  • During periods of transition it is also found to be high, particularly for teens, college students and young adults.
  • Nostalgia drops off during the adult years of career and family.
  • As we age, the nest becomes empty, and the road ahead looks shorter than the road behind, nostalgia rises again.

So here’s what’s happening: We Boomers are experiencing high nostalgia while our grown children are experiencing low nostalgia. Combine this fact with the generational differences about ownership, and we may be left feeling hopeless. But there is hope. Read on.

Your Memories and Your Stuff are Not the Same

The word “stuff,” especially as bandied about the internet in all these articles, actually feels derogatory. It is important to tease out the important words here, and I think they are “memories” and “history.”

Going back to the generational differences, our generation tends to assign memories and history to what we own, whereas younger generations don’t. The truth is that memories and history are in our minds. They, and the nostalgic feelings they evoke, may be triggered by the physical objects, but they are independent from them.

When our grown children reject our physical mementos, they are not necessarily rejecting the memories and the history. They may not feel the pull of those yet, as their nostalgia levels are lower than ours. But I believe that they will, as they in turn, age. And it is up to us to make sure that those memories and history are not lost nor rejected before they realize the value.

What to Do About the “Stuff Problem”

The most important part of the process is communication with your children. Don’t be afraid to ask what they want and don’t want, especially when it comes to non-photo heirlooms. It’s better to know now and prepare than to overwhelm them after your passing. Preparing now is an act of love.

Consider what you can give away and/or donate. If there are memories and history associated with particular objects, take photos and write the stories down. Remember, the objects are triggers, not the actual memory itself.

And yes, I did tell you to take photos and write stories down. I do believe that your children will value these as they age. However, they may not value them in physical form. No matter your current relationship with technology and computers, digitizing your memories and ensuring they are safeguarded against loss is probably the most important thing you can do. This will ensure that your memories and family history are passed on to future generations.

Forever is my favorite digital storage platform. They guarantee the the longevity of your memories and stories for your lifetime plus 100 years. They offer digitization of older media as well as scrapbooks and photo albums. You can also hire a professional photo manager like me to help you with the process, whether you want to do it yourself or hand the whole job over (or something in between).

What’s Next?

Decide to take action. Decide to start. Download my free “Getting Started Checklist.” I’ll walk you through those first steps and then continue to support you throughout the process with my weekly newsletter and my Family Photo Keeper Community. You can and should ensure that your memories and family history are in the best possible shape to benefit future generations.

mature woman on computer drinking from a coffee mug and smiling

I’m sure you have questions when you consider purchasing something. Especially something new. Something you can’t see or try out privately. Like my Virtual Family Photo Keeper Workshops. So I wrote this article to answer all your questions.

This is my helping service, and I’m naturally biased. So I’ve tried to make this as unbiased as possible so you can make an informed purchasing decision. After all, you don’t want to buy something that isn’t right for you. And I don’t want that either. I want super happy clients.

So have a look at my blog post below to see if the Virtual Family Photo Keeper Workshops are right for you.

What are Virtual Family Photo Keeper Workshops?

The Workshops are a dedicated time each month where family photo keepers can get together on Zoom while they work on their photo memory collections in the comfort of their own homes.

What’s included in the Workshop?

Accountability, community, and fun! In addition, you’ll have open access to me, a Professional Photo Manager, as well as other participants. You can ask questions, bounce ideas around, and get help as you need it.

How much do the Workshops Cost?

The Workshops cost $6 per event. The Workshops run for 8.5 hours, although you are not obligated to stay the whole time. But if you do, you’re paying less than $1/hour for all the help and company you need while you make progress on your photo management goals.

If you’re lucky, you may win the random drawing held at each Workshop to get your next one for free.

Why does the Workshop cost $6?

I believe it is so important that people get their photo memory collections in order. Both so they can enjoy them now, and also so they can leave a meaningful collection for future generations. And I’d like to help as many people as possible to do this. That’s why it’s so very cheap, about the price of a decadent Starbucks drink.

Is there a refund policy?

I do not offer refunds on Workshops. However, if you find, after you’ve registered, that you cannot attend, I will send you a coupon code that will allow you to register for one of the next three workshops for free. So there’s nothing to lose. I will apply your entire fee to a future workshop.

Who are the Workshops for?

The Virtual Family Photo Keeper Workshops are not for everyone, and I only want you to sign up if it will help you meet your own photo management goals. Past participants have worked on many projects: sorting, culling, organizing, inventorying, scanning, scrapbooking, creating photo books and more. Some work with printed photos while others work with digital photos. Whatever your photo memory collection needs is a perfect activity for the Workshops.

This is for you IF:

  • You know you need to deal with your photo memory collection, but you struggle to get started, or to keep going.
  • You enjoy visiting with other family photo keepers – sharing stories, photos, ideas and more.
  • You want to get started but worry you won’t know where to start or what to do first, and you’d like some help.
  • You’re willing to commit some time to meeting your photo management goals.

This is NOT for you if:

  • You don’t want to do the work.
  • You plan to leave it all for your kids to figure out.
  • You’re not interested in creating a collection that would be meaningful for future generations.
  • You already know all the answers and figure you’ll get to it “someday.”

Will this work for my Situation?

This will work for you if you have photo memories that need to be brought up to date, organized, preserved, celebrated or shared. Participants have worked on many projects: sorting, culling, organizing, inventorying for media conversion, scanning, scrapbooking and more. Some work on printed photos while others work on digital photos.

How Often Do the Workshops Occur?

The Workshops occur once per month, on the 4th Saturday of the month. However, my goal is to serve those who want the help, so I am open to discussing different options and dates.

How long are the Workshops?

They run from 12 noon Mountain Time until 8:30 pm MT. You do not have to stay for the entire time. I do it this way so that people with busy Saturday schedules or who live in different time zones can catch at least a couple hours each time.

Who leads the Workshops?

I do (Fancy), although they are very informal. We all work on our own projects, and I answer questions and teach processes as needed.

Do I have to leave my camera and mic on while I’m working?

You do whatever makes you most comfortable. Some people leave their camera on, others turn it off, and others have it on most of the time, but may turn it off while eating. As for the mic, we tend to leave those on, unless there is a lot of background noise. But there are no rules either way.

How do I access the Workshops?

Once you register for a workshop, you’ll receive a Zoom link will for the day of the workshop. You may also save the date to an online calendar. In addition, I send out a reminder email that morning with the Zoom link included as I’ve had some software glitches recently. Email me if you have any problems, and we’ll straighten it out.

Why Were the Workshops Created?

Previously in my business I offered in-person Workshops and Classes in my home. In the early 2000s the focus was on scrapbooking and organizing printed photos. As technology changed I added digital organizing and scrapbooking. And, as the scrapbooking market waned, I met more and more people who just needed help doing anything at all with their outdated photo memory collections, including people who lived no where near me. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed me to start offering Virtual Workshops so that I can help as many people as possible.

What results can I expect?

You can expect to make progress on your photo management goals. You can expect empathy and kindness from me and the other Family Photo Keepers. And there are other benefits as well. You can read about them here.

How Do I sign up?

If you’re interested in joining us, you can sign up here or by clicking the button below. Scroll down about halfway that page to Upcoming Events and choose which Workshop to attend.

What’s next?

I look forward to helping you with your photo memories! And if you still have questions, go ahead and click the button below. There’s a Message Me button in the upper left part of the page.

woman interacting on video call using tablet

Family Photo Keeper Workshops are a great way to make consistent progress on your photo management goals. They are also beneficial in other ways. Read on to learn more.

When you think about your photo and memory collection, do you feel a sense of peace? Or do you feel dread? Dread that you’ll never get it organized and preserved, dread that it’s such a big job, dread that your children may not want it after all?

The problem is that you think you’ll get to it someday. But like the old song from CCR says, someday never comes.

Imagine how it would feel to have it done, safe, and in a condition where you knew your kids wouldn’t be throwing it out when you’re gone. Wouldn’t that be satisfying?

Well you can get there, and I can help. My virtual Family Photo Keeper Workshops are a great way to meet this goal, and they offer other benefits as well. Read on to learn about all the benefits of attending.

1. You Can Learn as You Go

Sometimes a reason for putting things off is that you don’t have all the answers in advance. A big benefit of attending workshops is that you can ask questions in the moment, as they come up, while you work. Not only will you have access to me, a professional photo manager, other attendees often have experiences that they are willing to share.

For example, in a recent workshop an attendee had a question about photos on her iPhone. I haven’t had an iPhone in for six years, so I asked another participant with one to answer her question.

Working in a group you may learn things you didn’t expect to learn. Not everyone is working on the same things: some are organizing digital photos, others, printed photos. Some are doing traditional scrapbooking, others, digital scrapbooking. Some are scanning and others are sorting and culling. Each person brings a unique perspective and level of experience to the workshops that they are more than willing to share in a helpful way.

You’ll be able to expand your knowledge, find solutions, build confidence and more. You’ll also be able to ask for feedback from other participants. No one will let you fail and everyone wants your success. So you can’t lose!

“It was handy because as I was working I could ‘think out loud’ and ask for help which kept me going forward on my task instead of feeling frustrated and giving up for lack of an answer or help.  People were eager to help, that’s for sure! All my concerns and questions were met and answered.  I’m off and running with my projects and if I have another question I’m either writing it down, emailing Fancy, or will ask at the next monthly meeting I attend.” ~Judy

2. Working Together Increases Motivation

As you make progress on your collection, you will be inspired to make more. In fact, research supports this. Just the sense that you’re working together with others can dramatically increase your motivation to complete difficult tasks—even when you’re actually working alone. Stanford psychological scientists concluded that even subtle suggestions of being part of a team dramatically increased people’s motivation and enjoyment in relation to difficult tasks, leading to greater perseverance and engagement and even higher levels of performance.

The energy in the Zoom Room will fire you up, and the fun factor is contagiouus. We make jokes, we encourage each other, we share our work, and sometimes we even indulge in adult beverages while working (not required, of course). But the important thing is – it will keep you going.

“It was nice to see I wasn’t the only one who is behind.” ~Lisa

“It keeps me working consistently on my projects.” ~Ellen

3. Work Together in Community

Humans have evolved to experience the tangible benefits of human connection, which include an increased feeling of belonging, purpose, happiness, self-worth and confidence. The pandemic put a damper on much community and connection. And even though things are starting to open up, not everyone is yet willing to fully embrace going back to the way things were before.

At the virtual Family Photo Keeper Workshops, the shared values of family, family photos and memories make it easy to connect with other participants on a deep level, no matter where you live or what else you do. We share heartfelt (as well as funny) stories with each other. Looking through our photos takes us back to our memories, and it’s nice to be able to share with others who understand those feelings.

You may even make new friends!

“The biggest benefits for me are being accountable and enjoying the company of friends as we work together. I really look forward to these monthly Zoom events!” ~ Ellen

“The biggest benefit is dedicating time to the project and knowing other people are also dedicating time to their stuff as well.” ~ Lisa

4. Family Photo Keeper Workshops are Self Care

I don’t know about you, but I’m always putting my self care last on the list. Which means it almost never happens. But my decision to start offering the virtual Family Photo Keeper Workshops came out of my need to dedicate time to make progress on my own photo management goals. I am not generally motivated by rewards, however, I am motivated by achievement. So the progress I make each month on my goals is self care for me. If you are motivated by rewards, then, by all means, please set up a reward system for yourself! (I also offer a little reward at each session).

In addition, I find that when I’m working I get into a state of flow – a few moments in time when I am so completely absorbed by my activity that nothing else seems to matter. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says flow is the secret to happiness – a statement he supports with decades of research.

Another reason attending the workshops is self care is that you’ll make progress on a problem that probably has been weighing you down for some time, even if it wasn’t always at the forefront of your consciousness. And you don’t even have to pack up your stuff and haul it somewhere. That’s a double win!

“Attending a workshop gives me the excuse to do something positive towards getting something that’s important to me DONE!  Being with people who have the answers as we work is motivating and the feeling of going forward with securing my family’s precious memories keeps me inspired.” ~Judy

“Working on my photos brings me joy and makes me feel happy as I remember good times spent with family & friends. So taking the time to do something that makes me feel good is a priority.” ~Ellen

“I absolutely believe taking the time to attend the workshops is a form of self care.   I enjoy spending time with my friends, and friends-to-be at workshops.  Interacting with those in my social network who also enjoy photo keeping makes me feel connected to them.  As well as catching up in our personal lives, we share our memories and pictures.  We also provide each other support whether it be socially, emotionally or technically….in regards to traditional or digital photo keeping.  Attending workshops has been even more of self care in the time of COVID-19.” ~Laurie

What’s Next?

When you attend a Family Photo Keeper Workshop, you’ll get all the help you need, even if you don’t know where to start, or you’ve started and stopped many times before. You’ll be motivated to continue this important work, you’ll connect with others who share your love of family and family photos, and you’ll be taking good care of yourself (as well as future generations). It could be the best $6 you ever spent.

Click the button below to find out when the next workshop is being held (scroll about halfway down the page). I look forward to seeing you soon!

If you’re overwhelmed with family photos, it’s completely understandable. This article will give you a practical, inexpensive solution so you can both enjoy your photos now and leave a meaningful collection for future generations.


How I Used to Deal With My Family Photos

Back in the early 1990s all I really had to worry about were my boxes and boxes of printed photos. We still had a VCR and a video camera. We didn’t own a slide projector, but my parents and other friends did. We didn’t have digital cameras or smart phones or any of the other media formats of today.

I started scrapbooking when my daughter was 4 years old, but I found it very difficult to make the time to work on my albums at home. Fortunately, my Creative Memories Consultant help workshops in her home. I would pack up my album, my photos and my tools and take them to her house for several hours of concentrated work and community with other family photo keepers. I was always so proud of what I got done at the workshops and couldn’t wait to show my husband and daughter when I returned home.

I quickly realized that the only way I was going to make progress on my family photos was to make a commitment to work that involved someone else. As much as I loved working on them, and as important I knew the work to be, I just could not manage to do the work by myself at home.

Does this sound like you at all? There are probably many reasons you haven’t gotten around to (or finished up) modernizing and preserving your family photos and memories yet. See if any of these sound familiar.

Reasons We Are Overwhelmed with Family Photos

Organizing Family Photos is a HUGE Project

If you are over 40 you likely have photo memories in many different formats:

  • Printed photos
  • Slides
  • Videotapes
  • Film reels

You may also have digital photos on:

  • computers
  • phones
  • CDs
  • SD cards
  • cameras
  • floppy disks

I get it. With photo memories in all these formats it’s difficult to know where to find them all, to know where to start, to know what to do next. However, that doesn’t mean the project is insurmountable. It just means the project needs to be broken into smaller subprojects and tasks that can be done in shorter periods of time. Here’s an article that can help you do just that.


We’re Too Busy

We are busy people with busy lives. There is no doubt about that. But when it comes down to it, we do the activities that are important to do. We eat and sleep every day. We feed the dog. We go to the dentist. We pay our bills.

If it’s important to get it done, we’ll find a way to get it done. And if your family photos are important to you, you must find a way to get them into your schedule.

It doesn’t matter if it’s once a day, week, month or quarter. I completed my wedding album in 15-minutes a day over several months. It did require some pre-planning, but it worked for me at the time. What matters is that you choose when you’re going to do it, how long you’re going to do it for, and … you do it. Just like everything else in your life that is important to you.

And, if it helps, remember why you took the photos in the first place. You didn’t take them to keep them in boxes in the closet for the rest of your life. You took them to remember precious moments, loved ones, exciting adventures. You took them because you cared. You still care, right? It’s time to make them a priority.


I’ll Get to Them Someday (or It’s Not a Priority Right Now)

This is, of course, tied in with being too busy. If this is really, really really true, then I have a challenge for you: Pick a date. Don’t just say “someday,” pick a date. Put it on the calendar. If it’s not this year, put it on December 31st so that when you are setting up next year’s calendar you can pick a new date. Keep it top of mind. Don’t keep conveniently forgetting about it. It’s too important.

Remember that every day you delay gives you less time to work on it – the road ahead for many of us is shorter than the road behind. And that certainly is true for older relatives who could fill in missing information you may need. So choose a date to get started.

In addition, much has been written about how our kids don’t want our “stuff” (which is why it needs to be turned into a curated and meaningful collection they would love to have).

So pick a date. And sooner is better than later.

Here’s How to Fix the Overwhelm

I hope I have convinced you that it’s important to take action on your family photos now, if at all possible. And I have a way to do that which is inexpensive, only happens once a month, and involves the crucial elements of commitment as well as community.

I offer monthly Family Photo Keeper Workshops on Zoom, so you can attend from the comfort of your own home. Past attendees have worked on the following types of tasks:

  • Sorting, culling and organizing printed photos
  • Sorting, culling and organizing digital photos
  • Scanning photos and documents
  • Scrapbooking
  • Creating photo books
  • Gathering and/or cataloging outdated media for digital conversion

 Nice Things Past Attendees Say

The biggest benefits are “dedicating time to the project and knowing other people are also dedicating time to their stuff as well.”


“The biggest benefits for me are being accountable and enjoying the company of friends as we scrapbook together. I really look forward to these monthly Zoom crops!”


“Meeting with a true professional who wants me to succeed is a big benefit.  There, at the meeting, are others who have questions and answers and everyone helps everyone else…so the camaraderie is nice right from the start. I come for a chance to be inspired, to be encouraged and share with others who also want to leave a legacy of our lives for those who come after us.”


The workshop is open for 8.5 hours so that no matter your time zone or what else you may have planned that day, it’s easy to get a least a couple hours in on your project – no need to stay the whole time unless you want to. And it only costs $6, so its very affordable. If you find, after you’ve registered, that you can’t make it, I will give you 100% credit toward one of the next three workshops, so there’s really no risk.

You’ll accomplish so much on your project. But the best part is the help and the community. I’ll answer questions all day long so you can get it done. And several other experienced family photo keepers attend regularly who are also very helpful.


What’s Next?

Click the button to learn more and sign up (scroll halfway down). That’s the first step in being able to enjoy your memories now as well as leave a meaningful collection for future generations.



I look forward to seeing you at a workshop soon!



Photo Present Ideas

Here are some photo present ideas you can make at home, most for under $10. By using a photo as the foundation, you make the gift meaningful and memorable to the recipient. 

See All Posts about Photo Gifts Here

Thoughtful Valentine’s Day Gifts

Wooden heart with pink bow and the word LOVE printed on it

Thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts are unique and meaningful. Here are a few favorites for your significant other, kids, and anyone else you want to bless with something they’ll treasure for years to come.  In fact, these gifts would be ideal for just about any gift-giving occasion.

See All Posts about Photo Gifts Here

Continue reading “10 Uncommonly Thoughtful Valentine’s Day Gifts for Those You Love”

Meaningful Presents

memorable present wrapped in craft paper with twine and decorated with lavender next to a cup of tea

Meaningful presents can truly touch the heart of your recipients.  They can cherish the gifts for many years to come and even pass them on to future generations. 

See all Photo Gift Ideas Here

Continue reading “Meaningful Presents: Photo Gift Ideas to Touch the Heart”

I used to offer only one way to preserve your photos for future generations. But as technology and life changed, I now offer multiple photo solutions in order to meet every unique need.

I’ve been offering photo solutions for almost 20 years and in that time I’ve worked with some amazing clients. Also over that time technology changed, life changed, and the ways in which I can help people has changed.

For those of you who don’t know my story, I thought I’d break it down for you below. Whoever you turn your photo memories over to gets to peek into your life. Isn’t it worth you getting a peak into the life of the person peeking at yours?

I think so.

The Beginning Before the Beginning

Long before I started my photo solutions business I was an early childhood educator for many years. I loved my students, like any good teacher does. And I was constantly taking pictures of them working in the classroom. This was in the days of film cameras. I always ordered duplicates so I could keep one set for myself and use the other set to create construction-paper books of our classroom activities for the children to “read.” I made sure to print their names in the books and to place short captions under each picture. I would also write longer stories about their activities which they would ask me to read out loud. And sometimes I would have them tell me the stories and I would write THEIR words down about the photos.

Then I had my daughter, Robyn, in 1990. As much as I loved my students, I really wanted to be with her, my only child. When she was 1-1/2 years old I was able to be a stay-at-home mom while offering child care for other children. Again I took lots of pictures and made lots of books for the children. They loved them, and I knew it was good for their self esteem as well as pre-reading skills.

I Found A Solution

In 1994 I attended a Creative Memories class where I learned about scrapbooking. I felt I’d found the holy grail because I had a 5-drawer dresser crammed full of photos in the store envelopes by this time. Not just the four years of Robyn’s life, but the nine years of marriage before she was born. And all my students, of course.

Scrapbooking – the way it was taught in the class – was about writing down the stories that went with the photos. Yes, there were stickers and colored paper and I cut photos into all kinds of crazy shapes. But the focus was on journaling the stories so that they would never be forgotten. In fact, we didn’t even call them scrapbooks then – we called them photo albums. In any case, I found a way to turn my construction paper creations into something just as meaningful, but better designed and longer lasting.

Open scrapbook showing family photos from Father's Day and Family Camp

A page from one of my scrapbooks


One month after attending the Creative Memories class my mother suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, was in a coma for 3 weeks, and then died. This devastated my father. He opened up a closet and showed me at least 10 paper grocery sacks filled with photos still in their store envelopes. He asked me to make something for the memorial service, so I used my new skills and tools to create a display showing photos of my mother from childhood until shortly before her death. I received many heartfelt comments on it from the attendees of the service.

Scrapbooking Created Community

One of the best things that came out of the scrapbooking era was community. My Creative Memories consultant would hold workshops, and for a small fee we could gather together in her home to work on our albums. I made new friends, I learned new techniques from other scrappers as well as the consultant, and I got away from my own duties at home for a short while. We didn’t all have the same values, but we all valued our families and the photos we took of them. I loved being part of this community where, together, we celebrated our memories.

Changes in the Scrapbooking Industry

When I first started scrapbooking the only places I could get the photo-safe supplies I needed was from my Creative Memories Consultant. Sometimes I could find equivalent supplies in stationary stores, but not often. Within a couple years, though, I found scrapbooking supplies in hobby stores, department stores, and in little scrapbooking stores popping up all over the place.

At first I was elated with so many new designs to consider. But as time went on I realized that most of the supplies that the stores were selling took the focus off the photos and stories and put it on the decorations, and that just didn’t appeal to me. In addition, the quality of the supplies was not always good. While Creative Memories supplies all met ISO standards for photo safety and their albums were guaranteed for life, what was sold in the stores did not meet these standards. I ended up giving everything I’d purchased to Robyn to use as art supplies.

I Started My Business

In 2002 we moved from Silicon Valley to a semi-rural part of New Mexico. Later that year I decided to become a Creative Memories Consultant. We had homeschooled in California, but Robyn wanted to go to school to make friends, so I started a business to make friends. She only lasted at school for 6 months, but I continued in the business. I just took her with me when I was teaching classes and running workshops until I felt comfortable leaving her at home for several hours..

My background in teaching found a new home my business. I loved teaching people not only how to scrapbook, but how to organize their photos, how to create beautiful – but not overbearing – enhancements for their photos, and the importance of journaling their stories for future generations. I’ve always been good with computers, so as technology changed, I taught them how to organize their digital photos as well, and how to create photo books. Although I sold and taught digital scrapbooking software, my focus was always on the stories first.

The Photo Solutions Market Changed

By 2013 Robyn had graduated from college and was out of the house, and I was working full time in early childhood education again and running my business as a side hustle. I barely had time to scrapbook myself, although I still held monthly workshops for my clients. This was my life, but this increase in busy-ness was more widespread than just my life. Mark Mizen, formerly the Technology Director for Creative Memories, reported that according to Google Trends, scrapbooking searches declined by around 70% between the peak in 2005-2006 to 2013.

In June of that year Creative Memories announced they were leaving the scrapbooking market and focusing on quick albums. Around the same time I stumbled across The Association of Personal Photo Organizers Facebook Page (now called The Photo Managers). Through research, I learned that there were many other ways I could use my skills and knowledge to help people with their photos and memories. I joined the organization in August and attended my first annual convention in Dallas in February 2014. I was so excited to start offering expanded services while still helping my scrapbooking clients.

And Then My Life Changed

The next month I travelled to California to take care of my dad when he got pneumonia (he had COPD). I stayed a week, got him back on his feet, and returned to New Mexico and to my job. A month later I was back in California, and I spent the next 5 months caring for him until he passed. And then I spent the rest of that year and half of 2015 dealing with his two properties and all that stuff that grown kids get to deal with when their parents die. He never remarried and in 20 years of being a widower he had accumulated a LOT of junk.

And those 10 grocery sacks of photos were still waiting for me in the closet. Along with lots of thumb drives, a cell phone, several computers, and more.

boxes of computer junk

My Dad’s stash of junk

Finally: All the Photo Solutions

In November 2014 Creative Memories returned to its scrapbooking roots when Caleb Hayhoe purchased it. His previous company had sourced Creative Memories’ imported products for many years. And I launched the new version of my business in July 2015. Since then I’ve continued to support my scrapbooking clients while offering other photo solutions to those who need them.

Through working full time and taking time to care for family, I never lost the commitment I have to the importance of family and family stories, especially for children. There is so much research out there that shows the benefits of printed photos and family stories on children’s emotional development. And, as a former teacher, I believe there’s an academic benefit as well.

I no longer teach, and there are no grandchildren on the immediate horizon. Although I miss having young ones in my life, now I love teaching other family photo keepers how to organize and preserve their family memories because even though we may not all have the same values, we all value our families, our family photos, and the stories they tell.

My big goal is to help everyone I can with outdated photo media – whether you want Do-It-Yourself training or Done-For-You Services – so you can celebrate their memories now as well as leave a meaningful collection for future generations.

What This Means for You

So now you know my story, I’m sure you can see why I’m so passionate about what I do. I want to change the world for the better, one family at a time. These days, I offer so many photo solutions because everyone’s collection is different and everyone has different needs and goals. I want to be able to help as many people as possible celebrate their memories in their own way.

If you found my story interesting, why not stick around and read some of my other articles.

I’d also love to chat about how I might be able to help you, too.

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