February 2018 Scan-a-palooza: Improving Memories

My Grandma’s drawing of the moon

Some of our most prized possessions are photos and hand-written letters and cards. They are also heavy, take up a lot of space, and aren’t useful when they’re just sitting in boxes. During the month of February Mr. G. and I used our mobile phones to scan hundreds of photos, letters, and cards. We instantly upgraded our access to decades of memories. And we reduced our paper volume by about 75%.


There Are Apps for That! And They’re Free!


The best thing about PhotoScan is that it eliminates glare by a guided capture that stitches multiple images together. When used on Android, the photos automatically appear in the “Camera” location. From there it’s easy to move them to a device folder and/or to a Google Album.

Adobe Scan

For scanning cards, letters, and documents, the auto-capture function generally works well and scan quality is excellent. The only trouble we had with Adobe Scan was figuring out a way to back up the PDF files before deleting them from the Adobe Cloud. We had to individually copy each document to file manager and back it up to iDrive before we could safely delete it from the Adobe Cloud Big Brother.


Memory Upgrade

Improved Access

It’s a long way from La Paz to Ushuaia!

What good are memories that are stored in forgotten boxes? I had totally forgotten how much time I spent backpacking in South America until I scanned a letter that I wrote my mom in 1990. (Thanks for keeping those letters, mom!) I thought it was 3 weeks, and was surprised to see that it was actually 10 weeks. Interestingly, the letter also included details about my $20 daily budget, which included travel between Ushuaia, Argentina and La Paz, Bolivia and all food and lodging. Good thing hitchhiking was a safe way for my friends and I to travel in some places!

Now a digital copy of this letter is safely backed up to iDrive, along with hundreds of other documents and photos. And I can access them all anytime I want right from my mobile phone!


Better Organization

One thing that Mr. Grumby and I really like about our Android phones is how easy it is to organize our photos and documents in a way that makes sense to us. Our phones have 64GB SD cards, and I created SD card folders to keep everything organized by date, subject, or occasion. When I back the phone up to iDrive, everything is stored in its folder structure. Once the backup is complete, I can delete any photos that I don’t need to store on my phone.


Opportunities to Share and Collaborate

For any photos that I’d like to share with friends and family, I’ve created Shared Google Albums – usually with the same name as the folder on the SD card. People who have access can view and save my photos, and they can add any that they want to share. It’s easy to see whose photos are whose, because the photographer’s name is displayed on the photo.

When Mr. Grumby and I hit the road in May, this is how we will organize and share the photos that we take with our individual phones. We’ll probably have a shared album that corresponds with each of our 8 Adventure Cycling Maps. This will be handy for journal-keeping on the road. And it will also be helpful when we’re 95 years old and trying to remember where we saw that really unusual-looking prairie dog.





Handwriting Preservation

Letter from my Grandma – this is how I learned to draw stars and boxes.

In a heading all of its own is handwriting preservation. I grew up at a time when people still wrote each other letters. When I look at cards and letters from family and friends, it’s not only the kind words that I love to see. It’s the handwriting. Seeing my mom’s or my grandma’s handwriting makes me feel like I’m sitting next to them in the living room, and I never want to lose that feeling. Paper degrades over time and ink fades. When we take time to scan the treasured memories that come with written words, we create easy access to that memory and we may preserve some valuable family history. We can also share the documents with the simple click of an electronic message.



Digitizing Memories and Reviving Penmanship

What are your stories about digitizing memories?

Do any of you still write letters or work on improving your handwriting?



  6 Replies to “February 2018 Scan-a-palooza: Improving Memories”

  1. Kathleen
    March 3, 2018 at 9:15 am

    You know I cannot resist putting in a plug for Evernote here. I, too, have been scanning all my papers (although I use a real scanner), and I store it in Evernote. I have scanned everything in that drawer in my kitchen with all the user manuals for the vacuum, fridge, washing machine, etc. By putting these in Evernote you will be easily able to find this stuff later. 🙂

    • Mrs. Grumby
      March 3, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks for this reminder about Evernote. Hey … that sounds like a blog post that you might write … wait! You already did:

      Just looked at one of the PDF files I have saved in iDrive and looks like I can send it to my Evernote email address. That would be a great additional backup, so I’ll plan to do that when I get the Evernote upgrade. (I’ve reached my email limit with the free basic version).

  2. March 4, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I’m so bad with organizing photos. I just put them in folders on my computer and then have trouble finding them. Now, I’m dealing with real photos — the Kodak kind, which I’m finding among my stuff I’m going through for our move. I think I want to hold onto them because they’re family photos and they’re so nostalgic — they also look different. The sepia tones and the colors are old timey. The shape of the photographs too — a few are 3 x 5 with scalloped edges.

    • Mrs. Grumby
      March 4, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Hanging onto some of the special photos is a great idea. There’s nothing like holding a fond memory in your hands, and Mr. G and I have both hung onto a few of our favorites from ‘the olden days’. Once you’re through the chaos of moving and getting settled at Groovy Ranch, maybe you can scan your favorites … just to have a backup. And maybe to share with relatives and friends?

      I scanned some photos of a crazy hike I did with my sister some 25 years ago and sent her a copy of the digital file on her birthday last week. We shared some great laughs about the experience when we talked a few days later.

  3. March 8, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you, Mrs. G. This is a wonderful post. I love grandma’s moon and her tutorial on how to draw boxes.

    • Mrs. Grumby
      March 9, 2018 at 8:23 am

      Thanks Mr. G! I was so excited to find those in my box of cards and letters.

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