The Commandments of… Photo Purging!
Do you have boxes stacked on boxes of loose photos? Here are some tips on how to tackle those!
Do an initial purge. Toss photos if:
- They contain people you have no emotional connection to anymore: exes, people you met once and never saw again, old friends you liked but lost touch with, old friends you didn’t like so much!
- They are out of focus.
- They contain vampires… ie, folks with red eye.
- They are unflattering of any of the subjects.
- They contain landscapes with no beloved subjects (in other words, “post-card shots” that you weren’t the first or last to photograph).
- They make you cringe.
- They make you feel “meh” for any reason that you can’t explain. Trust your gut.
- Duplicates or very similar shots.
The weird truth is that the less you keep, the more likely you are to look forward to viewing them- because you know that you won’t be so overwhelmed when you do. The idea of looking at 30 photos that perfectly capture the essence of a vacation seems more pleasant than wading through a thousand photos from that trip.
Time to organize: You can group photos by person, or by event (graduations, weddings, trips), or by year… Or a little of all three. I sorted first by year/event, and then by person if I had leftovers. Then I placed every grouping in its own envelope and clearly labelled the top of the envelope.
Now that everything is purged and organized, it’s time to scan; good to do it in this order, because then you don’t have to organize them digitally! If you don’t have a scanner, you can use a company (like ScanDigital, Costco or iMemories) that will do it for you. If that’s not in your budget, hire a nice college kid to scan them for a price that you are both happy with.
Once your photos are digitized, back everything up on both an external drive (I have and recommend this one) AND the cloud- I personally love Flickr because of how I can organize my photos- I also love the free terabyte of space.
Now you can email the digital photos to your friends and family if you like. You can snail-mail relevant photos to anybody who would appreciate the hard copy.
Now that you have digitized every photo of yours, and shared the keepers, toss all physical photos except for the ones you want to actually display around your home or office in frames. No point in keeping photos that won’t live in a frame, especially when they’re already backed up, right?
Now you will have meaningful pictures around your home, getting the attention they deserve, and a little more space in your storage system!