How to sort through 4,000 slides!

We all grew up with something similar if your childhood was pre-digital photography, that is!  Whether it was slides, photographs, videos or home movies - at some point you may need to deal with your family's collection.    Well, that's what I did over this holiday season! 

I went through

29 Boxes of slides

Stacked on top of each other, it was over over 6 feet of boxes!

Oh oh this will be a big job! 


at 140 slides per carousel this was over 4,060 slides to review! 

Clearly I needed a plan of attack. 

A bit of history to set the scene.  I have 2 boxes in my basement that have been guilting me ever since my mother moved from her house into a retirement home apartment over 2 years ago.    These slides had made the move from our family home in Scarborough when the Scarborough home was for sale .  These boxes moved with her to her townhouse in Markham, where they lived there in the basement for 20 years.  When she the Markham townhouse was for sale, the boxes came to live with me.   They are boxes full of kodak slide carousels!   Here's the full stack in all it's glory: 

Here's what 4000 family slides look like - over 6' tall!


My dad was a huge photography buff.  He even made a darkroom in our basement.  But his biggest passion was slides - he took slides up until the 1990’s.   Of course no family get together would be complete until the slide projector & screen were set up and the show began!  

I even remember posing with my sister for the ‘title’ slides between events.  The backdrop was our kiddie pool liner and we would pose with a letter board spelling out “Trip to PEI, 1967” 

While the earlier slides don’t seem to be around, my mom is.  At 92 her memory is not that great, so I thought I’d finally do what I have been putting off & sort through the slides.   Spanning from 1970-1986 I sorted through over 4,000 slides.   My dad was an organized guy and many of the slides were labelled, and of course they were in chronological order.    Here’s how I did it:

  1. The original plan was to set the slides up on the projector & sort through what to keep.  Unfortunately, while we had the projector the lens assembly was missing.  I borrowed another projector and empty slide trays but the job of transferring 140 slides per carousel to smaller trays then sorting was pretty daunting.  
  2. Plan B – I just looked at the slides against a bright light.  They were mostly labelled, so I knew what I was looking at, and in most cases who I was looking at.  
  3. Sorting Criteria. I wanted to keep mainly pictures of people.    After sorting through all the slides I had a pile of about 170 slides.  Luckily many of the slides were trips my parents had taken with no people in them, or pictures of historic sites, so a great many could be chucked with little remorse…. My sorting criteria was loosely
    1. Keep mainly people
    2. Keep people who mostly I knew 
    3. Keep a variety of years
    4. Keep in mind my sister & my kids who may also want to take a look at them
  4. Digitize the slides.  My husband found a small digitizer on Amazon that had pretty good reviews for about $80.   It can digitize slides, pictures & filmstrips – to stills.   It has a manual feeder with some adjustment buttons to flip or rotate images.  Then it saves them to a chip.   If you want to tune up the pictures, you’d need some software, and of course you need a chip reader to transfer them to your computer.   
  5. That’s it!  Now I can get rid of: 2 big boxes & a bunch of guilt (for keeping the boxes so long & also not doing this sooner)  My sister got a bigger kick out of the slides than my Mom did, too! 

Heres a look at the digitizer and the steps involved: 

The digitizer we bought - the slides feed manually on the bottom

Choosing the slide




  Saving the slide to an internal chip


Controls to flip or rotate the image 


Et Voila! (Yes that's me on the left)

The feeling when you're done! 


Some hidden gems I found: 

Bunny hopping in the 1960's

Skating at Nathan Phillips Square in the 1970's - remember those fur hats! 

Some most excellent 1970's fashion moments

Including the ubiquitous "Keep on Truckin'" t-shirt


 More articles on digitizing slides and photos can be found here:


How to Digitize 35mm slides


Downsizing Presentation on YouTube - Dealing with your stuff

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A disturbing trend I've come across recently is the fraud in the rental space.   As an agent who handles a fair share of rentals; these issues have shown up over several ways this year.   I'll tell you about 3 instances I've had and the red flags that appeared with each! 

When I'm representing a landlord and an application comes in, I spend a lot of time going through an applicants documentation and getting references and looking through their background.  Here's what I do:

  • Call their employer by finding the employer's website and calling through their office to confirm employment.  I don't just call the supervisor on the application
  • Look carefully at the documents to see if they are real; company letterhead & credit reports can be faked or bought
  • Check social media & linked in
  • Call past landlords
  • Make sure there is a building at the address they're currently renting
  • Check that the landlords name and property owners names match.   If it's an apartment building call through the property management company if it's an apartment rather than calling the number provided.
  • Look at the credit report for signs of altering

With those things in mind, let's look at 3 things that have happened to me this year!

1.  Student rental Scam - fake rental and landlord

First of all, you should never have to pay to submit a rental application, or be asked for a deposit before you get a chance to see the place.   These scams are generally ads on sites like Kijijii and Facebook for rentals that look too good to be true.  They also steal MLS listings for homes and advertise them at lower rates.  I came across one recently through a family friend desperate for some student housing.  It was a big scam; and when I called them out they 'protested too much'.    Here's how to spot these scammers:

  • They demand payment to submit a rental application
  • They demand a deposit before you see the unit
  • Makes excuses why they are not available to speak to on the phone 
  • Will only communicate through messenger, text or email
  • The advertised price is way lower than other rentals
  • Their Facebook profile was just created
  • Their Facebook name does not match their user name ID (see the URL) 

2. Fake Rental Applications   

There are some very good forged documents out there.  I had some people submit an application on a lease I was advertising and here's what I found during the checks, among the other checks I did as above :

  • Inconsistencies in addresses on the application
  • Employment letter does not look real - no header or footer with information on the company letterhead

3. Forged Tenacy Papers

I had a call from a gal who had a great story, good employment, good credit, moving to Toronto from outside the city for work, can't come in to look for a place so needed virtual showings.  Could I help her find a place.  Sounds great right?  

Now I don't usually check tenants out before I help them (and I'd helped out a client with an out of town move this year already in a similar situation)  But with everything going on right now, I felt it couldn't hurt to see what her references would say.   So she sent in her application & 

then came the paperwork - the address of her job didn't match up with her story.  The company had never heard of her or her supervisor.  There was even no property listed at the home she had put for her address!  Other red flags for scammers include what she did:

  • get overly upset when called out 
  • provide complicated excuses for 'mistakes' on application forms
  • call the fact checker a liar, unprofessional, etc.

So be careful out there folks! 


A big thank you to the communities of Guildwood, West Rouge & Port Union for the terrific support last Saturday for my Community Shredding Event.  About 30 families participated - and their generous food donations filled our Jeep to the brim!   The food donations were taken straight to Feed Scarborough - the Scarborough Food Security initiative and will be distributed to local satellite food banks in the area.   Judging from the huge line up outside the Manse Rd. food bank Saturday, it's much needed. 

Chartwell Guildwood was my partner for this event and provided the venue and great snacks.  Thank you Kelly & Dianne for your wonderful support.  As always, Papersavers was gracious, friendly, professional and helpful!  

One interesting sideline - My husband, myself, Dianne and Alex from papersavers all grew up within the same area!   Such a big city/small world!