Saving & preserving photos & film may be important but laughing & crying at old family memories with friends & family all over the world is priceless!
I remember visiting my mom a few years back when she gave me a couple of shoeboxes filled with a bunch of black & white photos, some negatives, and a couple of reels of film. They were of her and her brother and sister when they were kids but they were mostly of her parents and grandparents. They were timeless!
She was concerned that by the time her grandchildren were old enough to appreciate the photos & film of their distant relatives they’d be too faded and degraded to enjoy.
She wanted to do something with them but like most people, she just kept putting it off because she didn’t know where to start. She actually put everything in plastic Ziploc baggies hoping that would help preserve them.
Unfortunately, my mom passed away unexpectedly a few months after that visit. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I was able to bring myself to start going through everything.
That’s when I discovered a photo album at the bottom of a box buried under some old hand-knitted blankets and embroidered doilies. I guess my mom must’ve forgotten about it because she never showed me the pictures inside – old photos of my dad and mom before my sister, brother and I were born. He passed away when I was 4 and I barely remember him.
I cried and cried and cried as I flipped through the album. At that moment, I wanted to share them with my dad’s sisters who were still alive, my brother and sister and my own kids. But with everyone miles apart, it just wasn’t possible.
That’s when I realized I had to do what my mom had hoped to for all those years but ran out of time to see through. I had to find a way to preserve them.
I knew that I could digitize them but I didn’t know who I could trust with all these precious, once-in-a-lifetime memories. Not to mention where do I start? How do I sort and organize them? If I ship them to a company, where do they go? How do I know they’ll get there safely?
I quickly realized why my mom never got around to doing anything with them – I was already overwhelmed just thinking about it!
But I knew it had to be done!
While doing some comparison shopping and research to answer my questions, one company instantly stood out from the rest. It was a company located in Scottsdale, Arizona called iMemories. They were very affordable and considering everything they do, I’m honestly surprised they don’t charge more for their services.
For example, a few of the things that caught my attention right away were: I wouldn’t need to organize or label anything ahead of time; they would digitally enhance faded and degraded photos & film for FREE; and what gave me the most confidence about them being the right company to go with was that they were the first and original company to start converting photos, film & VHS tapes into digital and DVD format – AND since they came into operation in 2006, they’ve digitized over 15 million memories for over 500,000 families and they’ve NEVER lost or damaged one. That is impressive!
In fact, the only thing that impressed me more was actually experiencing the whole process myself. That’s why I thought I’d share my iMemories experience with you from the very first step to the last. Because I know for me, hearing about someone else’s experience with a company is always important in my decision making!
So here’s what happened…
I Order the iMemories SafeShip Kit – While they offer the option to use my own box to send in my photos & film, I felt better about using their SafeShip Kit when I read what it was.
The kit includes a specially designed, reinforced crush-proof box, waterproof bags, and shock resistant bubble cushions. Inside is a pamphlet that talks about the whole process and they even include a UPS return label to ship everything back FREE of charge.
Ship The Kit For FREE – Before I discovered iMemories, this was a part of the process I was originally overwhelmed with – organizing and labeling everything. But with iMemories, all I had to do was place everything I wanted digitized into the box and ship it back FREE of charge.
IMPORTANT SHIPPING NOTE: I’ll be honest, this was my biggest worry – letting all my irreplaceable memories out of my sight. But with the UPS label, I could track my memories every step of the way until all the originals were back in my hands! Couple that with knowing they’ve never lost a single memory and I felt as comfortable as I possible could sending them off to get digitized.
Get A FREE Quote – Once iMemories received my kit, they processed it by taking inventory of everything and barcoding each item. Once that was done, they count and calculate everything.
PROCESSING NOTE: The iMemories facility is state-of-the-art – the unboxing stations are surrounded by video cameras to record the process while the specially trained experts open your kit – it’s just like at a casino, where everything and everyone is being recorded for transparency and peace-of-mind.
After everything is processed, they emailed me my free quote with a link to where I can go to log into my account and view everything I sent them.
What’s great is if I had changed my mind about having anything digitized, I can simply remove it from the shopping cart. For example, I sent them 8 VHS tapes, but if I had decided there were 2 I didn’t want digitized, for whatever reason, I could remove those 2 tapes from my cart and pay for only what I wanted digitized. Pretty great, right?
They Do Their Digitizing Magic – Once I approve the quote for only what I approve to have digitized, I just sit back and let them work their magic. It’s during this time that their expertly trained staff delicately handle each item as they digitize everything – basically a white-glove service.
Unlike other companies that might rush through this process to claim faster delivery or whatever, iMemories takes the time to carefully inspect each memory to digitally enhance it and they do it for you totally FREE! How incredible is that?
And let me tell you, the difference between some of the faded photos & degraded film I sent in and the digital versions is astounding! It’s better than I could have ever hoped for and I know my mom would be over the moon with the results!
Get All My Originals Back – Once everything was converted, iMemories sent me all my originals back. And I gotta tell you, while it felt good getting them back, at no time did I ever feel like I didn’t know where my family’s memories were or what was going on with them. iMemories really did an amazing job to make sure I always felt connected to them during the whole process.
Since getting all those incredible memories digitized, I can’t tell you how much enjoyment I’ve gotten out of them. During my research, I read something pretty powerful. Someone said, “If your family photos & film are buried in boxes and those memories are never remembered or shared, do those memories really exist?” And it’s kinda true.
It used to be I only flipped through my photo albums whenever I cleaned my closet or garage. I’d take a quick minute to reminisce and then that was it. Pack them back up and forget about them for another year or two.
Now, I can easily watch 16mm film from the 1920s of my grandparents right from my phone and tablet – and now, I can’t put the tablet down!
As soon as everything was digitized, I immediately shared the pictures of my dad with his sisters, my mom’s brother and sister, my brother and sister, and my kids, and I did it with the click of a button. And considering we all live hundreds of miles apart, it’s been an incredible bonding experience for us all.
I’m even using the iMemories app to create a family legacy DVD to give as a Christmas gift to everyone this year.
I wish my mom was still alive to enjoy what she inspired me to finish. She’d never have to worry about any of our family’s memories fading away – both literally and figuratively. They’ll always be preserved now for her grandchildren to enjoy and her grandchildren’s grandchildren to enjoy!
And I can’t thank iMemories enough for taking what was once an impossible task and making it easier than I could have ever imagined. As well as creating a finished product that is so much better than I could have hoped for and easier to enjoy and share with my family than I could have ever dreamed possible.
If you, your mom, or anyone you know and love has a family legacy you want preserved for future generations, I can’t recommend iMemories enough. And if you want to do what was once impossible – instantly share decades-old photos & film with friends and family anywhere in the world so you can laugh and cry together – then iMemories is a MUST!
My only regret is not knowing about iMemories back when my mom was still alive so we could enjoy our family memories together…but I know she’d be proud I got it done. And I know you’ll feel the same way when you get it done!
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