Let’s Get Those Photos Organized!

Summer is officially over and we are getting into the routine of our fall activities and responsibilities.   A 20130727_170052responsibility that most of us leave as a low priority is the organizing and preserving of our photos. We’ve had an active summer taking photos of vacations, family gatherings and family celebrations. But we tend to leave those photos on the device that they were taken from (i.e. Smartphones, cameras, etc.). To then only have thousands of photos on these devices that are hardly viewed or worse yet preserved.

As a Certified Photo Organizer and a member of APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers), we have a concern that we are going to loose a generation of pictures. The millennial don’t seem to be as concerned about their photos as the baby boomers are. They click and click and click yet don’t go much further than that. SIM Cards go or smartphones go and their photos are gone. Or they think storing their photos on Facebook is the safe way to go.

Do you know that every two minutes today, we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800’s? In fact, 10% of the photos we have at this moment were taken in the past 12 months.

One has to ask why we take so many photos yet don’t take that extra step to preserve them, or share them, or enjoy them from time to time.

So what do you think are the top 10 reasons people don’t organize or preserve their photos?

  1. First, they become overwhelmed by the quantity of paper photos they have and don’t know how to get started.
  2. Their paper photos are stored all over the house and they aren’t even sure where they all are located. Some are in boxes, some in albums, some still in the enveloped received from the developer. They are not fully aware of how many photos they have.   There are so many they are afraid to search it out.
  3. They begin to look at those heritage photos from their parents and don’t know who half the people are so they give up dealing with them.
  4. It’s so overwhelming and they know it will be a BIG project and they are waiting until they have that “chunk of time” to focus on them. The only thing is they don’t ever have that chunk of time.
  5. They feel like a bad parent because they never got a handle on the photos when the kids were young. Now they are adults and it almost seems senseless.
  6. It might be too emotional going through the paper photos because there are family members who have passed and it’s a painful process.
  7. Because their photos are in photos albums they think they are all set. The problem is the average photo album we purchased years ago was not archival safe. So the photos will begin to deteriorate.
  8. They wait for the right motivational moment when all the issues in life calm down. It’s just that they never seem to.
  9. They don’t feel like they are computer “savvy” so they don’t know how to begin dealing with their digital photos.
  • They did not realize that there are Photo Organizers out there that can help bring order into this chaotic situation.

So how does one begin on their own to bring some order and sense into their paper photos?

  1. Decide on a place in the house where you can work and not have to clean up until the project is over. Many times I work on the dining room table with a client. We leave everything as is between our visits and if it’s not near a holiday; the dining room is usually not used.
  2. Gather all your photos (boxes, albums, loose) and put them in this designated space.
  3. Apply the ABCs of Photo Organizing to these paper photos (see below).
  4. Photos that are your “B” photos; be sure to put in an archival safe box. Very important.

ABCs of Photo Organizing

A – A is for those photos you want to place in an album to help tell your stories.

B – B is for box. It’s those photos you want to keep but not place in your album.Photos after being organized by Professional Organizer Regina Sanchez

C – C is for Can. These are the photos you are going to toss in the trashcan. They are photos that perhaps are blurry or photos that are strictly scenery and you don’t even know where the photo was shot. Or these can be photos with people you have no idea who they are.

What about your digital photos?

  1. Determine which computer you will put all your photos on.
  2. Gather all your devices and transfer the photos to this designated computer.
  3. Before you begin organizing, be sure these photos are backed up on an External Hard Drive (EHD) or the Cloud. Have at least 2 backups. You never know when something can happen to an EHD or even the Cloud.
  4. Create folders on your computer and sort and tag each of them. If you get in the habit of doing this right after the photos are taken, then you won’t have an abundance of photos to organize and feel overwhelmed.
  5. Apply the same ABCs of Photo Organizing that you would with your paper photos with your digital ones. Don’t keep photos on your computer that you don’t want, like or know what they are.

If this project seems overwhelming to you, by all means contact your local Certified Photo Organizer. We love to work with people helping them preserve their memories. Now go and gather those photos!

Your Organizing Expert … Believing in You!


  1. A few years ago, my sister and I sat down with a box of photos from our parents and organized them by decade. Unfortunately, that’s as far as we got. Maybe it’s time to move to the next step!

    • These projects do take time. But they, in the end, are worth it! There is nothing better than preserving your memories … and telling your stories. Thanks for sharing.

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