How to Organize Years of Photos without Getting Overwhelmed

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

When it comes to scrapbooking, one of the biggest hold-ups for people is feeling overwhelmed with organizing their photos. If you have years of photos piled up on your computer or photos spread between multiple devices, it can be easy to put off preserving your memories. The longer you wait to organize your photos, the more overwhelming it will become—so now is the time to start!

Because we believe in the importance of memory keeping, we want to help make the task easier, so today we’re going to walk you step-by-step through how to efficiently organize your digital photos for scrapbooking. It’s a process that may take some time, but which will be well worth it when your memories are all in order!

Step One: Consolidate Your Digital Photos

Upload all of your digital photos to one location on your computer. We recommend using a photo managing system, like Google Photos or iPhotos, to easily transfer photos from your phone onto your computer. If you haven’t transferred them already, go through the photos on your phone, your camera, and upload them all to this one location.

Step Two: Eliminate Unwanted Photos

Once you have all of your photos in one place, go through and eliminate any that aren’t worth keeping: repeats, photos with a blurry finger covering half the lens, photos of your to-do lists, etc.

Tip: Moving forward, make it a habit to do a Daily Delete—every day, go through the photos on your phone (or camera if you took pictures on it that day) and delete any of these types of photos. It will take you two seconds and save you tons of time down the road. You’ll be able to skip step two entirely in the future!

Another tip: Use the time traveling home from a vacation to do your deleting. That way when you get home, you’ll have already eliminated all the photos from your trip you don’t want to keep. Plus, it’s a fun way to relive those memories again while you’re heading home.

Step Three: Organize Your Digital Photos

In your photo managing system, create folders for each month and year. Then place the corresponding photos in these folders.

Step Four: Back Up Your Digital Photos

Back up all the photos in your photo managing system onto an external hard drive and/or a safe permanent online cloud service.

Step Five: Create To-Print Folders

Once you have organized your photos in your photo managing system, you’re ready to start thinking about scrapbooking them—woohoo! Even though all the photos you have left are photos you have deemed worth keeping, you may not want to scrapbook all of them. A great way to figure out which photos you want to scrapbook is to copy and paste a given folder onto your desktop. Then go through and delete any photos you don’t want to print. You can also edit any of the photos you’re going to print if you want to take that extra step.

Step Six: Upload & Print Photos

Once you’ve gone through all the photos on your desktop folder, you’re ready to print! We recommend creating a table, like the one below, to track each folder’s progress. When you have printed your photos, you can delete the desktop folder you created (remember, you’ve already saved these photos elsewhere!).Organizing Years of Photos #closetomyheart #ctmh #organizingphotos #organisingphotos #sortingphotos

Tip: Choose one day every month to do a print run. Some months you may be able to afford printing more photos than other months, but get in the habit of printing your photos on the same day each month.

Step Seven: Organize Printed Photos

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

Option 1: Use our photo organizer to sort and keep your printed photos.

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

You can organize your photos by date, person, event…whatever you want! Think about the album you want to create with the photos, and organize them that way.

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

Option 2: Create a work-in-progress album. Use one of our D-ring albums and divided Memory Protectors™ to separate out all the photos you’ll want for an album. You can group like photos together so you know how to plan your layouts.

And that’s it! The next step is to start scrapbooking away! If the idea of scrapbooking itself overwhelms you, a great place to start is with our scrapbooking kits. You can also talk to your Close To My Heart Maker (or find one online!) to help you know where to start.

We hope this post helped you feel empowered to start organizing your photos for scrapbooking. We know that when you take that leap of faith, you’ll find so much joy and satisfaction in preserving your family’s memories and stories.

Have additional tips for organizing and printing your photos for scrapbooking? Share them in the comments below!

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30 thoughts on “How to Organize Years of Photos without Getting Overwhelmed

  1. You are assuming we are all you and have all our photos digital. Many of us grew up when we used film in cameras.

    • Whatever era your photos are from, the steps are basically the same – collate, cull, backup, organise into years and months, print what you want, store them safely. If you have negatives or old film photos, you can use a scanner to save a digital file. When I would get film photos printed, I often had the option of putting the photos onto a cd to keep, so I can backup cd’s instead of scanning all those negatives. For photos without negatives, I’ve scanned them and saved them on my computer so i can edit them and use them, or just for safekeeping. Whatever photos you have, it takes time to organise them.

    • Hi Kathy. 🙂 We wanted to provide the most comprehensive overview of organizing your photos. If you only have printed photos, you can simply skip to step 7. Also, if you want to back them up, you can scan them onto your computer and then follow the remaining steps. Hope that helps!

  2. This is fantastic guide to organising both your digital and printed photos, I love it! especially storing the photos into the organiser. Be sure to keep this in a dry dark place and don’t leave them in there forever!
    Thank you CTMH

    • Thanks, Anna! Yes, don’t let them sit in there forever! Place them in a scrapbook! 🙂

  3. Love the idea of using the large organisers and tabbed dividers – this is great for all the photos that were processed before the digital era.

    • Thanks, Persnickety Prints! Yes Dropbox is a great option, and it’s awesome that your app backs everything up for you! And thanks for the promo code! Our readers love it. 🙂

  4. Laughed out loud at Step Two — I really thought I was the only one who snapped pictures of my to-do list!

  5. The backprint on our prints is the filename… if you’ve renamed your photos july5_2017.jpg … that is what will be printed on the back. You could print them and put them in albums per year, or boxes by year … a photograph is more archival/safe than a digital photo. We’re always here to help!

  6. I laughed out loud at create “To Print Folders” because I thought I was the only one doing that. But yes, I also snap pictures of my to do list!

  7. Hi Carissa. We don’t believe Persnickety Prints will put the dates on the back of the photos, but you will have the digital copies to refer to if you forget which date and month the photo was taken. That may not be ideal, but at least you will have something to reference in case you forget. You could also print you photos in batches so you know which folder they are from. For example, you could print one folder each week or month so when you get it, you know which dates it was for. Hope that helps!

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  9. Great information, thanks for sharing, I just realized I have like 8,000 plus digital photos between what is on my phones, my computre and an external hard drive. This helps so very much. Thanks, again……

  10. Thanks for your tips. I was becoming overwhelmed and not sure how to sort it out. I found creating a folder on my desktop an easy way to sort my photos that need to be printed. Thanks again for sharing

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  13. Thank you!! I was way beyond overwhelmed but steps outlined makes sense and make my project doable. I especially liked your suggestion of placing photos I will use in binder. This way I get a general idea of how to plan scrapbook page layout. Thanks again!

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