Organizing photos can be one of the most frustrating areas to organize. We have all these amazing photos with our kids and pets and friends, but where are they?! Oh, there they are…dying alone, on our cameras and phones.
Let’s debunk the issue of organizing photos and get them off our photos, into folders so we find them again, and onto our walls and into photo books for everyone to enjoy!
This post will lay out how to organize your photos in just five steps–do this over a week and have your photos all organized in just five days!
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If you love checklists like I do, snag this free one to check off as you organize your photos!
1. Clean off phone photos and get everything in one place
Before we can start organizing, we have to clear the clutter and get all the pictures in one spot. That means off your phone, off your camera, and onto your computer. From here, we’ll be able to get them cleaned up, organized and backed up.
- Upload pics from camera and phone onto the computer.
- When those new files upload onto your computer, quickly go through and delete, delete, delete! Don’t keep multiples of the same picture, keep the best one and delete the rest.
2. Organizing photos into folders
This is probably the most daunting step–but most important, I believe! Don’t let volume scare you…do this step and making finding, printing, and creating with your photos SO much easier!!
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It’s important to get organized before we do any backing up because we want our photos backed-up in an orderly fashion, not the modge-podge that they likely are right now! Get organized, then back things up!
For me, I find the best way of organizing my photos is by date. I label my photo folders like this: “1-2019; 2-2019,” and so on. Labeling with the month’s number instead of the actual month’s name puts the folders into numerical order, which, for me, makes it easier to find things.
I almost always know what month it was taken, so I can easily find things. Within the month folder, if you want to label something by event, that’s great too.
Example: 2-2019 >> Noah’s Birthday
- Let’s get our photos into folders. Chances are, you’ve already got dates on most of your photos, so let’s start there.
- Create folders for each month of the current year. Let’s start at the present and work backwards.
- Move your photos into the correct folder. Don’t worry about events or any fine-tuning right now. Let’s just get things where they need to be.
- Delete blurry, duplicated or just plain bad photos. You’ve likely got hundreds…maybe thousands of photos! Let’s just keep the very best ones!
- Create a “To Print” folder while you’re working on this step. Just copy the photo that you love and want to print and move it over to your “To Print” folder. If you’re like me, you have a stack of outdated photo frames that need new pictures in them!
- When you’ve completed this year, move on to last year, and so on.
3. Upload to a photo server
All your photos are organized now, so let’s load them onto a photo server online. We’ll also back things up again in a bit, but I like to back things up twice just to be safe. Also, it’s so nice to have things on a photo server because you can easily print items or make photo books.
Here’s a few choices:
- Shutterfly (this is what I use, not because it’s better…I think these are all a lot the same…but I’ve used it forever and have no reason to change.)
- Google Photos
4. Back up everything
Your photos are organized and backed up onto a photo server, let’s back them up on an external hard drive. This will ensure all your pictures are at an arm’s reach all the time in addition to Shutterfly or your online server of choice.
Here’s a few external hard drive options:
- this one is really cool because it’s dust proof and water proof, so you’ll never have to worry about your photos getting damaged
- the Western Digital choice gets amazing reviews on Amazon
- Toshiba Canvio is a great price and has really great reviews too
We like to store our hard drive in a fire proof safe with some of our important papers.
Also, I move all my photos OFF the computer except for the photos of the current year and last year. I do this because it frees up space on my computer’s hard drive and I find I don’t really need to access those older pictures that often. If I need to, I can grab them from Shutterfly or grab the external hard drive.
5. Create with our photos and get them out in the open!
Ok friends, here’s the fun part! THIS is why we organize photos–to get them OFF the device and onto our walls, our frames, onto our coffee tables and more!
My current mission is to get more prints and frame more photos.
I love to create photo books, or family yearbooks with our photos. Additionally, the other mission I have is to get caught up on our family yearbooks. I got behind a couple of years ago when we moved cross-country.
More ideas for creating with your photos:
- print canvases of your favorite photos…instant art!
- create a homeschool yearbook (included scanned-in pieces of your child’s art!)
- make a gallery wall of favorite photos in your living room
- hang up a pin board in your kitchen of favorite photos and keep them rotating
- create a photo book full of portraits of relatives…helps with kids staying familiar with far-away loved-ones
- also, here’s over 100 ways you can create TONS of meaningful mementos for your family!
Print out this free checklist to get photos organized ASAP!
Finally, on-going: set up a daily purging routine
After all that work, keep those photos organized! Make it part of your routine to sit down at the end of the day and delete any unneeded photos, screen shots or videos from your phone. This will totally cut down on the garbage pics and make it easier to organize into folders later.
Make a habit–maybe once a month when setting your monthly budget–to upload photos onto your computer, put in the correct folders, upload to your online server, and back them up. After you have a system, it only takes a few minutes to keep up on it.