Six Tips for Organizing Your Photographs

Here is a great guest post on how to organize the old photos you have lying around the house.  There is a real connection between clutter in your home and energy-just ask any fung shui specialist!  Every time I clean out a room or the garage, I experience a major, unexpected life change (usually positive!).  Since I have an entire drawer full of old photos that I accrued prior to the digital photo era, perhaps I’ll use a few of these tips to clear the clutter and create an energy shift.

Thanks to the author for this great set of tips as I recover from surgery.  More on that later-ta-ta for now!

Everyone has those boxes of loose photographs in the basement or the bookshelf full of photo albums that have gotten out of order over the years. With the advent of digital cameras it has become even more difficult to stay organized and keep photos in order, let alone come up with a way to view them all regularly. Here are a few tips to help the organization process.

Tip#1: Do a Few Photos Each Time

A giant stack or box of photos can be daunting, which makes the task of organizing photos a chore rather than a pleasure. Instead of procrastinating, set aside a little bit of time every day to go through some portion of your photos. Make it manageable. Set the goal of going through perhaps 100 pictures a day, and then enjoy looking at them as you sort. This will help make the task more reasonable to manage.

Tip #2: Purge Your Photos

As you’re looking through your photos, do not be afraid to throw some away. These include the pictures that are blurry, the photos in which you don’t recognize any of the people, and the shots of a landscape – but you can’t remember the location. A good rule is: if you would not put this picture on your refrigerator, in a frame, or in a scrapbook, go ahead and toss it.

Tip #3: Pick an Easy Way to Store Photos

Once you know which photos you’re going to keep, you need to figure out the best place to put them. Ideally you want to store them in an easily accessible place so you can find and enjoy them whenever you’d like. Two easy options are photo albums (or scrapbooks) and online. You can read more about digitizing below, but buying photo albums or re-using what you have can be the easiest. There are two keys to storing photos successfully: mount them on acid-free paper and make sure you have a place to write. The acid-free paper will help ensure that your photos stay safe for years to come; a place to write on the page means you’ll be able to remember the occasion of the photo for years to come. Take the time to make some notes about where and when the picture was taken, as that will make things easier to remember the next time you’re looking through pictures.

Tip #4: Pick a Theme

When you’re organizing your photos, it’s best if you have a loose theme. Basic options include organizing photos chronologically (e.g. by year), by life event (e.g. vacations, birthdays, graduations, etc.), or by people (e.g. family photos, friends, baby pictures, etc.). As you sort through your pictures or put them into albums try to categorize them based on this common theme, and you’ll find them much easier to find later.

Tip #5: Digitize Photos

Before or after you mount them in an album, a great way to save photos for posterity, make them searchable, and easily organize them is to make digital copies. Not only do digital photographs take up far less space, but you can tag them with captions or keywords that make them very easy to find later. Photo scanners are quite inexpensive these days, and though scanning photos can take time, it is well worth it in the end. In addition, if you do a small number of photos each day it will make the task considerably easier.

Tip #6: Show Off Your Photos

Lastly, why do we take pictures other than to look at them later and remember the experience? After you’ve sifted through all your photos, the last tip for organizing them is to put them where you can see them regularly. Whether they go on the refrigerator, in a frame, or in an album on the coffee table, put them in a place where you will frequently see them.

Photographs are wonderful reminders of places you have been and people you have seen, and daunting a task as it maybe, organizing those photos need not be a weekend chore. Do a little bit each day, don’t be afraid to throw some away, and set out with a themed plan. You’ll have your boxes of pictures exchanged for well-organized albums or computer folders in no time, and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself and your experiences a little bit along the way.

George Baker is a photography enthusiast, tech geek and product writer, working for a company specialising in vacuum cleaner bags. He’s an expert on all things vacuum related, from vacuum cleaner maintenance to Numatic hoover bags.