How to Organize Your Photos: Step 1

This is the first of four steps I’m taking you through to finally organize your photos. If you do these steps in order, you’ll not only get those boxes of photos organized, you’ll enjoy doing it. 

Really.

Here’s a preview of the four steps:

  1. Clarify why you’re doing this
  2. Decide on your criteria for what to keep
  3. Sort like a pro
  4. Find the best storage (notice, this is last!)

 

Step One: Why are you doing this? 

Hint: doing this to get rid of boxes/clutter is not enough of a reason. Because all that does is assign yourself WORK. And we all have enough WORK in our lives! My motto is ‘make it fun to get it done.’ That means creating a sense of purpose around your project. To do that, clarify who you’re doing this for: 

  • Do you want to pass photos along to children or grandchildren?
  • Do you want an easier way to revisit your own memories?
  • Do you want to share them as a gift with friends?

Each one of these has its own motivation. And that’s what you’ll need if you want to finish a big task like this. 

I recommend writing down why you’re doing this and who you’re doing it for. Once you get to the sorting step it’s helpful to have these goals and motivations visible to help you stay focused. 

Need inspiration? My mother decided she wanted to give her kids a gift we could all enjoy every holiday. She categorized her photos by person and put them loosely in envelopes with our names on them. Other photos she categorized into holidays by decade. She kept it simple. 

The best part is this: she brings the envelopes out every holiday to pass them around and we tell funny stories. She’s told us that when she dies, she wants each of us to take our envelope of photos and divvy up the others. What a gift!

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