Great ideas for old photographs

For many people, the hardest part of decluttering, or clearing out a house is what to do with the sentimental things: letters, tickets, photographs etc. It can seem impossible to throw away such precious souvenirs, yet they can take up a lot of room being stored. Here, we look at ways to use, display or transfer old photographs so that the memories can be retained without the need to keep dozens of boxes gathering cobwebs.

In the frame

Obviously, one way to get photos out of storage is to frame them and hang them up on the wall or have them on display on tables, cabinets and the like. This is a great chance to get creative and work out new ways of showing off your precious scenes. Consider making a collage with loads of different pictures in one massive frame. Or have black and white copies made and hang 10 to 20 in identical black frames on one wall.

Photo book

Digital photography has done away with the need for multiple hard copy photos, yet many of us are guilty of never having pictures physically printed anymore. A space-saving way to do this is to print a photo book via an IT programme or website. A decent company will produce a quality, hard-wearing coffee table book that you can bring out to look at time and time again. Physically scanning paper photos into your computer and turning these into a book means you can throw out all the bulky old originals at the same time.


Using photos to decorate items, such as lampshades, folders, tea trays or even smaller items of furniture, gets them out on display, but in a way that is both fun and practical. You can find tutorials online on ways to tackle decoupage and how to finish the project off so that the results last a long time. This could also work well for a personalised wedding or birthday gift.

Fabric transfers

Obtain a kit that will transfer images onto fabric and get creative, making cushions, blinds, bed covers and clothing, all personalised with your favourite photos. You can choose a handful of images, or have the same one repeated lots of times for a striking design.

Photo cards

Share your memories further by using old photos as postcards. Just write your message and the address on the back and send. Or stick photos on a birthday, Christmas or other greetings card. This will get rid of some of the clutter and bring joy to the recipient; what’s not to like? Do a test run on a less precious photo first, to make sure the ink or glue won’t show through or ruin the image.


Make up calendars using 12 family photos that you will enjoy looking at every month. These make great gifts for close relations too. Or choose images of inspiring scenery for friends and colleagues, or to sell at school, church or craft fairs in the run up to Christmas.