I find that has been one item in our house that I have struggled to find the “right” organizational system for. Pictures can take up a LOT of space and I was getting frustrated with the amount of space that just our pictures alone were taking up.
Granted I was a scrapbooker. But I realized that while scrapbooking, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to, so I decided to put that hobby on the back burner. Because of scrapbooking, I had a lot of printed photos to sort through. As for the ones I did not use, I just put them in a box, with no rhyme or reason. That is when I realized I needed to find a different way to deal with my picture clutter.
Then came digital photography, which has been such a life-changer. No more wasted pictures. No need to get doubles of EVERY picture. The clutter is not in actual picture form anymore – but now the clutter is on our computers. Another area of “clutter”. What do you do with all of the pictures you have downloaded from your camera?
You see the dilemma? I though the digital era would solve all of these issues, but not so much. Organization needs to happen in both printed and digital form for me! I have recently started a new way of organizing my digital photos, which is proving to be a HUGE space saver! I used to put all of my pictures on cds, but realized that even that system was broken because they were taking up more space than I wanted. That is when I decided to put them all on a large jump drive. I kept thinking that if we had a fire or some natural disaster, all of my photos would be lost because they were not in a safe. That problem is easily solved by putting them all on a jump drive, where I can easily slip that into our safe, where they will actually BE safe!
Here’s how I organize my digital photos:
1. Buy a jump or external hard drive.
2. Organize the pictures on your computer by year. While going through your pictures, DELETE the pictures you will never need – like the ones you will never remember what they are for or what they are of anyways.
3. Now that your picture folders are cleaned out, it is time to start downloading them onto your jump drive.
4. Put the jump drive in your safe, to ensure your pictures will not get destroyed!
Now for your PRINTED pictures! That’s another story, right? Here is the system I have found to be most helpful at this point (without getting rid of all of my pictures).
- Take all of the printed pictures you have and go through them. Decide if you want to keep the picture or not. Throwing away pictures may seem a little odd, but if you are unsure what the picture is of, it is pretty certain that no one else will either. Throw away the ones you don’t need.
- Organize the pictures by event and year.
- Find envelopes that fit your pictures. I use size: 4-3/4 x 6-1/2. You can buy them at any office supply store.
- Put the pictures in an envelope by year. You can also write what events are included in that envelope (assuming you have multiple events in each envelope)
- Put the pictures in order by year, in a box.
- Now you have neatly organized pictures and you know exactly where to find them.
Why do I like this system? I find it works because when I need a printed copy of a photo, I can quickly look, by year, if I have a printed copy, or I can quickly plug in my jump drive and search by year and event in that format as well. I do not have to spend hours searching through a box of pictures that are just thrown in there. Now all I have with regards to pictures are my scrapbooks (which I definitely value) and my 2 small boxes of printed photos. That I can handle!
How about you? How do YOU organize your pictures?