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Tips for Keeping Family Memories Safe

While it’s true that memories will live forever in your mind, we are all inundated by so much information and external stimuli each and every day that we necessarily have to clear some of the clutter from our brains.  And memories that are, shall we say, less important are likely to get the axe (so to speak).  Or at least they get filed way in the back.  It is for this reason that people often hang onto mementos as a way to remind themselves of important events and occasions that they would like to recall now and again.  But if you’re not careful these precious memories could be damaged or lost.  You need to take steps to keep them safe, so here are a few helpful tips.

  1. Digitize.  Since most people list family photos and videos amongst their most valuable possessions, this is a good place to start.  The computer age has given you many tools to protect these precious items.  Instead of watching old photos yellow and fade and allowing film reels to fall to deterioration, you can convert everything to digital (which isn’t susceptible to the ravages of time).  Old photos can easily be scanned at home (if you have a printer with a scan option) while video footage can be taken (or sent) to a lab for conversion.  Best of all, you can correct these images to make them sharp, colorful, and even better than new.
  2. Back up.  Once you’ve got all of your images, video, and audio safely converted to digital format, it’s a good idea to back everything up.  While you can certainly save them on your computer hard drive, you’ll be in a world of hurt if your machine crashes and everything is lost.  So think about copying files to disc, an external hard drive (like a MyBook), or even a cloud network for safekeeping.  You’ll be glad you did when your computer craps out.
  3. Share.  Another great way to ensure that valuable memories are never lost is to share them with others in the family.  Backing up to a cloud network can kill two birds with one stone because it will allow for sharing with family members around the world (in addition to simple storage).  But you could also send out digital files, discs, or even scrapbooks full of photos and family stories.  However you choose to pass along this information, your family is sure to appreciate your efforts.
  4. Become a historian.  Written history is a great boon to both your family and future society.  By writing down the family stories that your parents, grandparents, and even older relatives have passed on orally you can ensure that these memories are never lost and that your children, grandchildren, and so on have a connection to the past generations of their family.  These documents could also be valuable in a historical sense one day.
  5. Insure.  Some mementos have more than just sentimental value.  Heirloom furniture or jewelry, for example, can also have a very real monetary value.  For this reason, it behooves you to insure these items against theft or damage.  In most cases you can simply lump them in with your homeowners (and disaster) insurance, but items with a particularly high value (gems, artwork, etc.) you may want to keep in some sort of safe or vault.
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