The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Preventing Photo Disorganization from the Get-Go

If you have thousands of disorganized print and digital photographs, the backlog more than likely seems overwhelming. How about we take a step back and think about today … Will you be adding to the backlog of disorganized photos with each new picture you take or picture you are given? Let’s talk about some tips and pointers for how you can set up an organized framework for all those photos taken from today on, that way, when you do finally have the time, strength, and energy to face the backlog, you will have one part of your collection already organized. Sounds good, huh? It’s a win-win situation. So starting today…

Make a Date!

1. Create a standing, once a month appointment in your calendar to organize your photos. If you can find time to collect the trash in your house and get it to the curb every week in time for pick-up, perhaps you can make time to organize your photos once a month.
2. Don’t feel obligated to keep bad photos (even if you paid money to have them printed). At your once a month appointment, go through your printed and digital photos. Throw out or delete all the blurry, bad angle, unflattering photos. You should only be keeping the best of the best.

Do You Print out your photos?

• Write all identifying information on the back of your photos including the date. Only use soft lead pencils or archival pens (like a Sakura Micron 05). Never use a ballpoint pen and beware of other pens that easily smear on current photo paper. If possible, test on a photo you are throwing out.
• Invest in a quality photo album and put your photos in it right away. Or invest in an non-acidic photo box, like this one in which to store them.

Are Your Photos Digital on Camera and Phone?

Download images off your SD card once a month or
• Set up your mobile device to automatically backup images to a cloud account. Google Photos, Flickr, Amazon Prime Photos, and Microsoft OneDrive are just a few apps that can help you set this up. Just keep in mind any cloud storage limits.
• As shared in Backup Everything!, schedule your cloud account back-up
• Set up folder storage independent from a program (ex. iPhotos) so you can maintain order and metadata even if you change platforms down the road
• Put the date and description of the image directly into the file name. That way the important information stays with the photo even if the file’s metadata is lost.

So if organizing your photos is one of your goals this year, start with these steps toward organizing your current files before even starting to organize the backlog. Who knows, after you are in the habit of organizing photos as they come in and at your scheduled photo date, that standing photo organizing date on your calendar can be used to start making bigger dents in the backlog!

Want to learn more on Photo Organizing? Check out some of these related posts.

Previous Posts in the series:

The Ins & Outs of Organizing Your Photos 

The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Backup Everything!

The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Preventing Photo Disorganization from the Get-Go

You may also like:

Digital Photos – Backup & Storage: How Safe are Yours?

5 of the Worst Things to do to your Photos – Living Peace Tuesday Tip

Header Image Credit: RawPixel



About Gabriela Burgman

Gabriela's mission is to empower her clients with the tools and motivation they need to get and stay organized. Prior to becoming a Professional Organizer, Gabriela worked in a photograph archive as well as several university archives, assisting offices, administrators, and retiring academics to sort through their files for preservation or disposal. She became a professional organizer in 2007 working as an independent consultant before joining Living Peace. When Gabriela is not learning new ways to organize photos or paper both physically and electronically, she is spending time on what matters most to her: visiting with family and friends, reading a good mystery book, or cooking a tasty meal.

4 comments on “The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Preventing Photo Disorganization from the Get-Go

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