5 Easy Tips to Organize Your Photos

We’ve finally arrived at that not-quite-spring-not-quite-winter lull that makes me restless, itching for change, and tired of the status quo. For me, this translates into the urge to organize. In the last 3 weeks, I’ve reorganized my make-up drawer, my pantry, my pots and pans, my socks, the dog food, and a myriad of other little things that escape me at the moment. While they are all very satisfying to me, I’m certain you wouldn’t be the least bit interested. 😀 But I thought you might be interested in this. 

Digital photos can be the skeleton in everyone’s organizational closet.

How many of you have 482 pictures on your SD card that you’ve never bothered to download because now it’s too overwhelming? Or have wonderful pictures on your phone of your kids, your last vacation, etc? How do you get them off your phone? What if you lost your phone? What if your hard drive crashed?

Spring means proms, dances, graduations, reunions, vacations…more and more pictures. Do you have all your pictures made into prints? What if (God forbid) your house burned?

Pictures are the priceless treasures that become the biggest loss. Material things can be replaced. Pictures, and memories, can’t. So, I’m here to help you bring order to all that digital chaos and give you Inner Peace.

At least for your digital disorder. 😉

1. Find an on-line storage system.

Some people use Instagram, and I’m sure there are others. I use Dropbox because I have other files I need to back up. I love Dropbox! (www.dropbox.com).

You receive 2G free when you sign up. You can earn free space by signing your friends up, or for $99 per year, you can purchase additional storage. And still earn free space!

I am a half-wit, and I know this, so I have to plan accordingly. I can never remember to back up files. What if I back them up, then lose whatever I backed them up on? What if my house burns down? What if I forget to back up the files in the first place? What if I’m out of state and need a file and don’t have my laptop OR my back up system?

See how my Inner Hysteria works?

(Did I mention I love Dropbox?)

I store ALL my files on the cloud. I can access my files on ANY computer. If I lose my computer, all my pictures and other files can be accessed by any other computer or my phone.

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Here’s what my Dropbox file looks like. It’s no more difficult than setting up folders in your computer’s Documents.

Dropbox is simple to use, simple to set up files, and also has an option to allow you to share pictures publicly, which is handy. For instance, when my hard drive had to be replaced last fall, the only file I lost was the ZIP file with my niece’s wedding photos, which I hadn’t unzipped and moved to Dropbox. I emailed her, and she resent them..in Dropbox. 🙂

A caveat: if you use Dropbox on your phone, make sure your phone is password-protected so your files aren’t compromised if you lose your phone. Also, never ever allow the browser to save your password if you’re logging in from a public computer.

2. DropSnap.

If you are like me, and take a lot of pictures from your phone but don’t like worrying about transferring them (or figuring out how to do it!),  you will love DropSnap. It’s an app with a one-time fee (I think it’s about $4). Every time I take a photo with my phone,  it automatically uploads to my Camera Upload file in Dropbox. (Yes! Really!)

The downside is for this to work you have to use Dropbox. That doesn’t mean there isn’t another app out there that could do the same thing with what you’re using. It just means I don’t know about it.

My poor little pea-brain (vs. pee brain, which sometimes happens ha ha) can only hold so much stuff and everything else just sort of gets squeezed out. Sort of like the pee…okay, never mind. 😀

3. Organize Your Pictures in Folders. 

I organize all my digital pictures in folders by year.

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See?  By the way, I took this picture with my phone – sorry about the reflection of the window…ooops. The picture then automatically uploaded to my Camera Upload folder, and I used my laptop to place it into this post. Groovy, eh?)

Also, it’s hard to take a picture of a computer screen up close. I think it’s something to do with the pixels. Or at least it was back in the day when I worked in TV. But I digress.

Apparently, 2006 was the year I received a digital camera for Christmas. Which I later lost at the Truman Homecoming when it fell out of my coat pocket when I was riding with my husband in a friend’s Mule and we were careening around corners.


Sorry. 😀

I’ve not had any sugar, I promise. 😉

I then make sub-folders in each year of various events, vacations, etc.

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This is my 2014 folder. More folders will come as the year passes, but I’ve grouped them together to easily find what I’m looking for.

In my Florida folder, I have more folders broken down into locations or subject, such as sunsets or our visit to the Dry Tortugas.

You can get as crazy organizing as you want!

The purpose of this, however,  is to relieve stress and make it easier to find what you’re looking for. I don’t recommend getting ‘analysis paralysis’ and stressing over too many folders. Just categorize them generally.

4. Do a Little At A Time.

If you’re the person who has 482 pictures on your camera…or 3,487 pictures on your hard drive…or 12 SD cards full of pictures…this is going to seem like an overwhelming task.

I get that. I’ve been there.

Whatever you’re planning to do with those pictures, you can still do…it will just make it easier to find them, and easier for you to enjoy them more if they’re more organized. I can whip out my phone and show someone any of my pictures at any time – whether they want to see them or not! BWAH HA HA HA

I’ve been at lunch with former clients who have been talking about doing an update to a room in their house.  I can whip out my phone, pull up the pictures of their room, and boom! We’re right on the same page. (Usually.)

I will NOT be responsible for your friends avoiding you due to picture-fatigue. This is a VERY powerful tool, so please use it responsibly. 😉

Just start wherever you are! The next time you upload pictures, try organizing them. Do NOT get carried away weeding out the crappy ones! Just put them ALL in a folder for now.

The next time you’re stuck on the phone on hold, or listening to Great Aunt Mabel who likes to talk, or your husband is in charge of the TV remote and you hate what he’s watching, weed through them. You can delete the crummy ones, or go back through some of  your older pictures and organize a few more.

I wouldn’t accomplish anything if I didn’t do it a little at a time.  One baby-step at a time will eventually take you down the whole road.

“Chunking it” is the term my friend Michelle uses. Breaking up any overwhelming job into one ‘chunk’ at a time will eventually get it done. 🙂

5. Use Photo Boxes.

Picture box

I used to have about 25 photo albums. These albums took up boxes and totes, and I moved across country with them twice. They were heavy, and guess what? Rarely did I ever go back and look at them.

A few years ago, tired of all the space these albums hogged, I worked one album at a time, removing all the pictures and making files (by year/event/location/subject) in photo boxes. I think I even used shoe boxes!

Now, every paper photo I have ever taken fits into boxes in two totes in the basement. The totes keep them mouse proof and dry if the basement ever floods.

If you have kids, you can sort them into boxes per kid (what a nice keepsake!)

They take up less space, they are easier to move, and all I have to do is pull out a box, search for the year or subject, and pull out the pictures!

My next project is going to be sorting through and digitizing some of my old family pictures so I will have them forever. (That’s probably a project for next winter or the ridiculously hot summer months.)

Family photos

Recently, I took my wedding negatives in to have them digitized, after keeping them in a safety deposit box for years. I can promise you I enjoy them much more in their current format than I ever did in the album!

And if there’s a better way that works for you…fabulous! The whole point is to enjoy all those pictures you’ve taken rather than have them weigh you down.

Happy Organizing!

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