3 August 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has given the entire world enforced downtime in their own homes.
There is no guidebook for how to spend your time in self-isolation, with COVID-19 inspiring a new generation of bakers, jigsaw puzzle experts and home handymen.
With COVID-19 restrictions likely to continue for some time, self-isolation could be the perfect time to revisit the past and bring your memories into the 21st century.
If you’re from a time where analogue was king, you likely have all your memories crammed into storage somewhere in your home.
As technology has made it possible to digitize your old photos, videos and letters, there has never been a better time to give your memories a new lease of life.
If you’re considering moving all your memories online, know that it’s not going to be an easy or quick task.
Thankfully, we have pulled together some advice and tips for digitizing your shoebox.
Digitizing photos, letters and video tapes with sentimental footage will safeguard your precious memories and will keep them safe.
While you can still keep your physical copies, you will no longer have to worry about floods, fires damage and deterioration.
It’s also safe to say that keeping your photos shoved in a box isn’t helping them remain free from creases and other physical damage.
If you have done all the hard work of digitizing, remember to make a couple of backups of your memories.
You could use an external hard-drive, USB stick or cloud storage - we suggest a number of the options for added caution.
Digitizing your old shoebox of memories provides a healthy dose of nostalgia as you rediscover forgotten moments from your past.
Finally prove to your partner that you were the stud athlete in high school you always claimed, remember that holiday to the beach with your family as a child or reflect on 80s fashion.
You can also do more than just uploading photos, videos or letters - use photo editing tools to enhance the image or cut a video together using editing software.
If you’ve gone and digitized all your memories, you now have the possibility to declutter the storage cupboard.
Even if you’re sentimentally attached to the physical copies, think about the last time you actually got your memory box out of storage - do you really need to keep the shoebox with all your memories so easy to view online?
You will thank yourself next time you have to spring clean or move house.
There’s no real quick way to digitize your memories, but it’s impossible to not feel the therapeutic benefits once finished.
You have nothing but time during self-isolation, so we would suggest starting with digging out your memory box and deciding what you wanted to keep.
An image scanner will be needed for photographs and letters if you decide to do the job yourself - just make sure you have it set to the highest quality setting.
Most offer the ability to scan one image at a time, or multiple images by laying them onto the scanner bed with about a quarter inch space in between.
Don’t use your smartphone to simply take pictures of the images because the quality will not match what you could achieve by investing in a scanner.
Digitizing videos will also take some hardware and software, with a VHS player or camcorder and analog converter needed to convert your analog footage into digital.
If you're planning on digitizing a lot of footage, you should also consider transferring the files to an external hard drive so you don’t fill up your computer.
Those feeling really adventurous can combine all their footage into a home movie using a basic editing program.If you would prefer to outsource the hard work, there are a number of services which specialise in digitizing analog media.
One of the best parts of your hard work is you now have the ability to save, send or share your digital memories with the click of a button.
If you store your memories in the cloud, you can also access them from any device, at any moment.
Don’t be surprised if you start looking through all your old photos and feel the sudden urge to call that friend to laugh about the memories you shared together.
When self-isolation ends, you could also host a viewing party and invite all your friends and family around for some wine, cheese and a trip down memory lane.
Having digital copies future-proofs your memories for years to come.
Once you show everyone in your family how amazing your digital memories look, you could convince them all to do the same - or you could do it for them if you’re a great family member.
The benefit to digitizing your entire extended family’s shoebox is that the memories will live on forever - let’s face it, that old shoebox isn’t going anywhere in a hurry.
Add your now-digital media to a Memories page, which can act as a family tree for generations to come. Imagine your children’s children looking at and adding to an interactive timeline of their ancestors.
If you previously wanted to find an old picture or video tape, you would have to go into the storage cupboard and dig out your shoebox.
And then you actually have dig through all the unorganised chaos to find the one item you were looking for.
Digitizing your memories makes it convenient and accessible to find a photo with the click of a few buttons, with some programs allowing you to add tags for extra ease - find all the photos with a “cat” in just a matter of seconds.
With more smart TVs and connected devices in the home, you could use your Google Home to bring up your birthday gallery on your television when your sister comes over.