Three ideas to help ditch your digital shoebox

Do you have a digital shoebox? I think most of us do these days. Whether you take the majority of your photos with your phone or with a camera or mix the two…chances are that it’s been awhile since you did anything with them other than post to social media. I’m just as guilty. If you’re not, then a heartfelt kudos to you! Our photos don’t do us nearly as much good hiding in a digital shoebox as they would if we brought them into our lives where we could see them and remember the moments we chose to capture – more often than just when they show up in our social media “memories”.

Luckily there are a few really easy ways to combat the digital shoebox and start bringing our memories, and the joy they bring us, into our everyday lives.


Image courtesy of Eric Criswell

Have you heard of Mixtiles? No? That’s okay, but you’re about to be wowed. Or at least I’m wowed. Mixtiles are 8×8 ’tiles’ that you stick to your wall. Stay with me here… they’re movable, reusable, and they leave no residue. They are the ultimate in flexibility when it comes to your photos. The world is your oyster! You could change up your arrangement seasonally or make the upcoming birthday kiddo the star of their very own show. The possibilities are kind of endless with these and it would be really fun to change up the display from time to time and then revisit some of the old images later on. Mix them with some newer images and they’ll be fresh again. They’re a little pricier than some of the other options I’m going to mention ($14 each), but you could build a collection over time and the flexibility is definitely a huge draw.

Create a book

Creating a photo book has never been easier. There are options from upload and print all the way to total control. We’ll share a couple of our favorites, but we know there are lots of really great places to get books.

Three of my kids show horses. I make each of them a “Show Season” book every Christmas with photos I took over the past season. I include a letter at the end telling them what they did that they should be especially proud of and what they did that made me proud of them. I always make sure those packages end up near the back of the tree because each of them stops and pages through the entire book before they move on to another gift. I see them looking over their books throughout the year and it makes me grateful not only for the ability to capture their memories well, but also that I took the time to print books.

If you make a book with your images, don’t just move your images from a digital shoebox into a literal one. Make sure you keep it in a place where it can be viewed and enjoyed.


Image courtesy of Chatbooks

Chatbooks has several options for books. They vary from hands on to hands off. Their size and flexibility makes them perfect for gifting or for leaving on the coffee table to be regularly enjoyed.

  • You can create a custom book of 10-366 pages and can gather your pictures from a variety of sources including Dropbox, social media, your phone, or Google Photos. Prices start at $10 for 30 pages.
  • Chatbooks can automatically create a book for you of 60 pictures from your phone or social media posts. It can be a totally hands off approach to getting your memories into your hands and out of the shoebox. Priced at $10 for a 60 page book.
  • You can also get a monthly mini book with 30 photos from your camera roll (iOS or Android) with a $5 monthly subscription. Chatbooks says these are sized perfectly for mini hands. It’s pretty easy to imagine kids eagerly awaiting their new book each month.


Image courtesy of Shutterfly

Shutterfly is another great source for books. I’ve been getting my books from them since the days when I had time to digital scrapbook – carefully adding all of the papers and elements to each of my pages. These days, Shutterfly offers their own templates and you can take them as they are or dive right in and manipulate everything from backgrounds to embellishments, fonts, and the sizes of the images on the pages. They offer books in sizes ranging from 8×8 all the way to 11×14 with plenty of sizes in between. The base models come with 20 pages, but you can add up to 90 more.

Through Sunday, March 8, 2020 Shutterfly is offering free additional pages in their books. If you can get one ready quickly, this sale could save you a bundle! It comes around a few times a year and is always talked about in our Facebook groups.

Make a mug or magnets

Both mugs and magnets are super easy to make and they make great gifts. I’ve gotten both from Shutterfly and have been really pleased with the products, but there are lots of places to get these made.

Mugs make great gifts for grandparents – especially if you let your kiddos help choose the pictures. My youngest just made one for my husband’s recent birthday. She chose the design and the pictures and was really excited to give it to him. They’re something you can have in your everyday life and they’re useful. Admittedly, it’s tough to let the older models go when new ones come around though. You’ve been warned!

Magnets get my vote for the most fun way to use your pics. As I said, they’re often on sale (or a downright giveaway if you pay shipping), they’re useful, and they made great gifts, too. Magnets come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. The little sets of four pictured would make great Easter basket or stocking stuffers for kids and they can take them to school for their locker. You can make a bunch and change them out on your fridge seasonally or gift them to grandparents.

Okay, okay…. technically I’ve given you four ways to ditch your digital shoebox. The more the merrier, I say. I’m hoping that at least one of them speaks to you and encourages you to bring the memories you chose to preserve out of the digital shoebox and into your home.

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