What To Do Before Downsizing Your Home Or Genealogy Files

downsizing home genealogy

It’s hard to believe but someday you will face the challenge of downsizing your home and your genealogy files. Before you begin, take time to do this one very important task that few people do but wish they had.

Stop and Take Pictures

Much context is available in the arrangement of the things in our homes and genealogy files. Before you begin downsizing, take a ‘BIG’ picture.

  1. Step outside and photograph the home, cottage, or apartment building. Where appropriate photograph the other buildings on a property (barn, shed, guest house, etc).
  2. Step back inside and photograph the rooms of a home. Take pictures of each room from multiple vantage points to truly encapsulate the place you live or where your loved one lived.
  3. Then zoom in on a few key areas within each room. The pianos, the kitchen tables, the office desk, and the living room couches. Highlight the ‘zones’ where the activity took place in each living space.
  4. For genealogy papers, photograph the organization (or lack thereof) of the entire collection. Photograph the shelves of binders, the boxes of photos, the wall of pictures, and so on.

Why Photograph Before Downsizing Your Home or Genealogy Files?

After you downsizing, your household goods, keepsakes, and genealogy files will never be together again in the same configuration. By photographing a home, you can take people back in time to the family gatherings, the daily living, and so much more.

downsizing home genealogy
Robert Zumstein family home from Gainsborough, Lincoln, Ontario Canada. c 1981

In this photo, I can only dream of what the home was like on the inside for the Zumstein house in Ontario, Canada.

downsizing home genealogy
Penny Geiszler’s China Cabinet, c. 1984

These pictures take me back in time to my mother’s home and the treasures in every room.

Need more Downsizing Tips?

downsizing home genealogy
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downsizing home genealogy

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

6 thoughts on “What To Do Before Downsizing Your Home Or Genealogy Files

  1. What a good idea! You remind me of the character of Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited, who becomes famous for his paintings of English country homes, and who often found himself hired in the days before the house was to be sold, pulled down, or otherwise gone and never to be returned. Unfortunately, my grandparents and great-grandparents are now all gone and their houses demolished or sold, because I’d love to see more of some of the interiors of those places.

  2. I never thought of photographing my homes – which is surprising, as I value the exterior photos I have of my grandparents and my parents homes. We moved seven years ago and I do have the sales schedule of our old and new homes – with better photographs than I could take. I also, photographed various china and ornaments which we had acquired over 40 years, and that were passed to a charity shop.

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