How To Organize Photos

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Hey guys! I am coming on today to talk to you about organizing your pictures. Photo organizing is very important as your collection can quickly get out of hand. If you’re my age or older, we went through years of printing pictures. Many of my clients in their 30s and above have a mass of printed pictures that they don’t know how to store. Today’s blog is going to give you some tips to tackle it yourself. 

Tip #1: Make some time

Block out a good amount of time to handle the job. Picture organizing takes time. It’s not something you can just hand off to an organizer to take over. There are some organizers that focus explicitly on photo collections, but in my opinion, it takes somebody helping alongside you to go through each photo individually. There’s no other way around that, unfortunately. 

Tip #2: Determine your process from the start

How are you going to organize the pictures? Will you organize by a specific timeline, in chronological order, by family member, or by location? I’ve even organized by state, and it worked well for my client. She had moved around throughout her life, and we created a box for each state that she lived. You can also organize by events, such as family trips. Your organization method will depend on what your photos contain and how you want to access them in the future.

Tip #3: Identify and document your photo categories

Fast forward a year from now: if you are looking for a specific picture, mentally walk yourself through the system to locate that photo. You have to plan a system that will make sense to you both now and in the future. Let’s say I took a picture of my son when he was two, and I want to find that one specific picture of him messily eating an ice cream cone. I need to figure out where I would have put that picture to be able to find it again. Is that going to be in the family vacation binder, or are we going to put it in boxes where I have to dig through the “Luke” box? Will I even want to dig through the box of pictures for that specific child, or should I separate out the pictures into favorites instead? Maybe this particular picture is a favorite, so I keep it in a separate area. Another option to consider is how you’re going to store them. Are you going to keep them in photo boxes, or are you wanting to transfer them to albums? There is so much to consider! This is why having a plan is essential! Make a list from the start and physically write out these questions to determine how you’re going to organize your pictures. In addition, create categories ahead of time. These categories can shift or change during the process, but creating categories at the start will give you the framework to move forward when sorting photos. 

Tip #4: Be realistic about what to keep!

You can always scrap it altogether! I know this is silly and may not seem like the best advice, but ask yourself, “when am I going to look at these pictures?!?” Answer it honestly. The answer for most printed photos is typically ‘never’. Fortunately and unfortunately, because of phones, people do not pull out their boxes of pictures to reminisce. To counter this problem, I am in my 8th year of using a photo book company to help categorize our pictures and keep them accessible. Every year I make and print a photo book – our family yearbook – using an online service. I personally love Chatbooks, but there are many different companies that provide a similar product. Chatbook connects to both my social media accounts and my phone chronologically, so our family yearbook starts in January from the previous year. I go through every single month and determine how many pictures I want to include. I can also add the date or a caption! It’s insanely easy. For example, our book for 2021 took me about two hours to create. That might seem like a lot a lot of time, but the value that my children get out of these books is worth every minute and every penny spent on them. My children grab the books all the time and share memories with the pictures. Now that Emma can read, she will read the captions on the pictures and it’s just so rewarding. My biggest tip is to spend time creating meaningful books of your memories. If you’re interested in ordering your own Chatbooks: click to start yours! (affiliate link)

These are my photo tips from a real professional organizer and a real mom.

I hope you guys have a great day. Happy organizing!


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