Photos in a box... try to think outside of it... g'head, try.

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

My siblings and I have spent the past week breaking up mom's condo, as she heads for a nursing home.  But that's not the real story, here.

As part of breaking up mom's condo, we came across a drawer full of old photos, and spent a lot of time going through the photos, resurrecting memories, and sharing nostalgia.

It occurs to me that future generations, even my own kids, won't have that experience.  All of my photos, these days, are taken on my i-phone.  They probably won't even be able to "view" the pictures, unless they have my password.

Will they sit around wondering... "what did mom and dad do before we arrived?", or will they just throw a handful of dirt on our graves, and say "oh, well... wanna hit brunch?"  (which is weird, 'cause I'm planning on having a late afternoon funeral).

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

It's sad to think that all of the pictures in my life could not even fill a single 128GB flash-drive averaging 4mp per photo. That being said I am happy, after seeing many movies portraying future events, that the USB ports appear to survive well into the next millennium.

Oct 07, 2018 09:09 PM #5
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Alan.

Once I'm gone, I won't care when my funeral happens.  I'll be rejoicing in another world, with all the family members who have gone before me.

Oct 08, 2018 02:30 AM #6
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Alan May,

Your post reminded me of when my sister and brother came to help sort through things when we moved my mom. We had more fun even found money she hid in books (which she was always doing). Fortunately I have photos that are printed out and in photo alums that we love to go through and I'm always fining one to post that throws the kids off guard! I love that every year they make a photo album of their year with all things family..a great way to document all that goes on and there is usually so much it makes my head swim!

Oct 08, 2018 05:39 AM #7
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Just came back from vacation in the Western Mediterranean.  500+ digital photos, I've copied them from my phone to my laptop, but most will never see the light of day.  I may dump them into some Facebook albums so I can retrieve them from one computer to the next to the next over the years.  And since our furry critters are the only "kids" we have, they won't be sorting them one day :)  Bill

Oct 08, 2018 06:33 AM #8
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Alan. This is bittersweet and ironic. I hope you have some pictures for your children.

Oct 08, 2018 07:56 AM #9
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Alan- I love your post and of course your comments on the comments which are always funny. And yes, I remember going through boxes and boxes and more of photos from my mother's house. Albums take up a lot of room but there's something that is missed when you have to look at them via the iPhone or other devices. 

After Hurricane Irma, I swore I was going to digitize the photos that I have from the pre-digital days but that has been an extremely slow process. I did buy those books you are offered from Facebook that compiles your photos from the year in it. 

Oct 08, 2018 05:19 PM #10
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

My cousins and I ate digitizing family photos that go back to the 19th century. We want the next generation to have them for their sense of history.

Oct 12, 2018 06:47 PM #11
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                                              Thank you Alan. 

Oct 13, 2018 07:00 PM #12
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

So much to love about this post. 

My parents are still alive, but my cousins have gone through this with the same thing happening....hours looking through old photos and reliving the memories. I don't see that as wasted time at's very much quality time!

It's so true about the difference between photos and digital photos.  I love looking through my photos and hope someone in the future enjoys them after I'm gone. More than likely most will end up in the trash.

Oct 14, 2018 06:34 AM #13
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

IMO nothing compares to looking, holding and passing around photographs with your family.

Digitals are fleeting and get filed away or lost.

Oct 14, 2018 06:55 AM #14
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

You raise many, many issues with this poignant post. I too have wondered about the loss of photo memories. Are our kids, and their kids, going to huddle around the computer together and remember? Don't think so. You have a way of making most everything humorous, but I know moving mom to a nursing home is an emotional step. My thoughts are with you, Alan. D 

Oct 14, 2018 08:47 AM #15
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


It’s a great point! We have boxes of photos from when our kids were little, and so many more I have gotten from family members that I need to do something with. The thought of digitizing them all is staggering.


Oct 14, 2018 09:19 AM #16
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

We have stacks of albums and more in boxes - but none from the last 20 years or so. I do save them to an external hard drive, so hopefully at least one of my kids would know how to retrieve them.

Every now and then when one of the boys is here, we go through a few albums together - and we enjoy it.

Oct 14, 2018 02:26 PM #17
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I have my pictures as long as I have my phone. Somehow, I don't get around to printing them very often.

Oct 14, 2018 03:40 PM #18
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

This is a good point. When cleaning up my parents home after they were gone, I found a lot of fun photos. Pictures my dad took when he was in the service in Germany. He was late teens/early 20s, with beer bottles around, a girlfriend or two, etc. I got such a kick out of those. And there were a lot of photos of my sisters and I when we were young; going on camping trips, vacations, etc with our family. I loved looking at those as well.

While I have some photo albums around with pictures for my kids to see, most of my photos are now digital, and they'd probably never even know where to look for them. That's kind of sad. 

Oct 15, 2018 03:54 AM #19
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

This is why you should use an iPhone. Then all of your photos could automatically be stored in the Cloud and in PHOTOS, which automatically uploads from phone to desktop computer. That way even after you're gone, if a relative can turn on your computer, if it still works, LOL, they can see your photos.

Or just go through the best photos now, scan and send them. Never be a better time to do it. And . . . after your late afternoon funeral, I imagine attendees will still throw a handful of dirt into the grave or whatever and say, let's go hit Happy Hour.

Oct 15, 2018 12:41 PM #20
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Alan, some years ago when we downsized and moved to an urban condo, my husband scanned all the photo albums and we now have them online. They are fun to look at, but we had better make them available to our children and grandchildren or they'll be lost forever.

Oct 15, 2018 07:53 PM #21
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Alan, I had no problem with my parents photo albums! I had wonderful parents, but various circumstances caused me not to have a very happy childhood.  Mykids wanted the pics, but if it were up to me they would all be landfill material!

Oct 16, 2018 10:48 PM #22
Suzanne Strickler
Realty Mark Associates - Havertown, PA
School is never out for the Successful.

Alan, I've had another kind of photo experience. At an auction house that I frequented, there were always family photos in frames, in albums,  or loose by the dozens. Found myself wondering, "Why doesn't anyone in the family want these Kodak moments?"   
Hope you found some pictures that you forgot completely about. Kodak is better than memories alone. 

Oct 17, 2018 05:58 AM #23
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Even photos in albums and frames can be lost via flood or fire. It's happened to me. My cousins and I now share cherished old photos on our family Facebook group.

I scan or save everything to the cloud. I keep saying I'll make photo CDs or flash drives for my grandkids, but who knows how long these technologies will be relevant. Remember floppy disks? What are you doing with those now? Coasters?

Nov 16, 2018 04:05 AM #24
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Alan May

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