Your memories, whether in the form of photo prints, film reels or VHS tapes, are your lifeline to your past. They represent where you came from, special moments with friends and family and the life experiences that define who you are. As time passes, old memories are replaced with new ones and we rely on those old photos and home movies to remind us of our history.
However, the unfortunate reality is that as time passes, those old analog formats of our cherished memories are degrading – putting them at risk of being lost forever. Media degrades for a number of reasons, including:
If you’re storing your memories in a basement, both humidity in the summer and dampness in the rainy or winter months are slowly eroding your memories.
Dust and other airborne particles can settle onto photos and videos and build up over time to the point that it becomes difficult to remove, and may result in permanent damage.
- Wear & tear
If you’re one to reminisce often, you’re slowly damaging your photo prints with excessive handling and your home movies with consistent playing on antiquated video players.
- Natural disasters
It’s a worst-case scenario, but fires and floods are an unfortunate fact of life and can leave us in a state of shock when they strip of us everything, including our precious memories.
The Solution: Digitize Your Memories
Digitizing your memories is the best way to preserve them for generations to come, ensuring they never degrade and remain a part of your family’s future.
There are also many other reasons to digitize your memories beyond being smart for longevity, including:
- Easily Share Your Family History
Having digitized photos and videos makes them quickly accessible for gatherings with family members, providing an easy way to share your family history and favorite moments with children, grandchildren and new spouses being welcomed into the family.
- Sharing with Distant Friends and Family
Digitized videos and photos can bring joy to loved ones both near and far, allowing them to be shared and viewed on any device, anywhere. Your cousin across the country is going to be just as excited to see those old home movies of Grandma and Grandpa as you were.
- Relive Forgotten Moments
Some of our biggest smiles come when we revisit the distant past – pre-school graduations, opening that favorite childhood Christmas present, or the swim meet where you won your first blue ribbon. Old film reels and VHS tapes are often stored away, never to be seen again since your VHS player was promoted to a DVD player. Digitizing those memories will unearth long-forgotten footage and provide a welcome trip down memory lane.
- Declutter and Get Organized
Boxes of memories take up storage space in your home, especially if you’re in possession of old reels and photographs passed down from past generations. Taking time to organize and digitize them will give you back much-needed storage space and a therapeutic organization of your home.
How to Digitize Home Movies and Family Photos
There are a few options for digitizing home movies and photos, from rolling up your sleeves for a DIY project, to innovative services that will impress you with cloud-based access to an organized library of your digitized files.
Regardless of the DIY steps you decide to take, you’ll need to consider storage for your newly-digitized files. External hard drives are a solid option, as well as cloud-based storage services like Google, iCloud or Dropbox. A combination of both is a smart idea, as you can never have too much backup of your cherished memories.
- Local Retailers
If the DIY option isn’t for you, a few of your local retailers can help digitize your memories. Walgreens offers digitization services of old videotapes, film reels, slides and photographs. Through their service, your memories can be digitized and accessible on DVD, USB or digital download. Likewise, other local retailers including certain pharmacies, with the ability to scan your photos onto a media storage device such as a DVD. They also offer the option of uploading photos to an online account where they can be stored, shared or printed in the future.
- Professional Digitization Services
The safest and most effective way to digitize memories is to utilize a company that specializes in taking your old film reels, VHS tapes, slides, photo prints and more and converting them into expertly-digitized memories accessible via the cloud or an app. And we mean “expertly” in every sense of the word – taking extreme care with your originals, ensuring their safe arrival and return, and even reprocessing damaged media that you assumed were unsalvageable. iMemories is one such company, with a glowing reputation for taking old memories and making them pristine in digital format. Through iMemories, your treasured memories are converted to DVD, USB thumb drive, digital download and available in the iMemories Cloud – and they’re viewable on any computer, tablet or smartphone. They also offer an Apple and Android app where you can organize your memories and keep adding to them moving forward.
Regardless of the path you take to digitize your memories and safeguard your legacy for generations to come, take this sage advice and do it sooner rather than later. While you ponder how to protect your family memories – a process that often gets put on the back burner for years – they are slowly degrading and could eventually be lost forever.