Organizing Your Photos: How to Get Started |

Does organizing your photos so you can look at them more often sound good? How about your digital pictures – would you like to be able to quickly find that adorable shot of your daughter in Kindergarten to post on Facebook? Most of us have strong connections to our photos, or more technically to the memories they capture, but frequently they are at the bottom of our priority lists when it comes to taking care of them.

A friend recently told me that she was overwhelmed by the sheer number of digital photos she has. This is not surprising considering that in 2017 it is estimated that Americans will take over 1.3 trillion photos. In 2006 it was a mere 63 billion photos. According to “every 2 minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s.” It’s no wonder we are all overwhelmed as we continue to snap away on our iPhones and DSLR cameras.

Organizing Your Photos: How to Get Started |

Organizing Your Photos: Print Pictures

Where should you begin if you would like to get control of your photos both print and digital? First, gather all of your print photos into one place. I frequently work with my organizing clients and we will find a few envelopes of pictures in this drawer and a few envelopes in the other, some albums in the hall closet and a few more under the bed. Make a concerted effort to go around your home to all your hiding places and find as many of your photos, slides, negatives and albums as you can. Now put them all in one spot in your house, say on your infrequently used dining room table.  The purpose of this is not to make you anxiety go through the roof but rather to give you a good birds eye of what you are working with.

Organizing your photos |

My husband’s ancestors in front of the Hill Family farmhouse in NC in the late 1800s.

Organizing Your Photos: How to Get Started |

Organizing Your Photos: Digital Pictures

If your digital pictures are your primary area of concern, make sure all of your photos are in one folder on one computer (that is backed to the cloud or at least an external hard drive – more on that later). When my dad passed away, I spent days going through my parents’ computer deleting duplicate pictures because sometimes pictures would be downloaded to one folder and then not deleted and later downloaded to another folder.  A quick way to do this is to create a new master photo folder. Mine is actually called “Master Pictures”. Then do a search for all JPEG files, then move all of those files into your master photo folder.

Now that you know you have two bins of printed photos or 15,000 digital photos you can start developing a plan of attack.  Next week we’ll discuss the next step in the process – making a plan and breaking it down into doable pieces.


How many photos do you estimate you have?  Because I have inherited many of my grandparents’ photos, I probably have over 7,500 printed pictures and 20,000 digital photos.  By the way, I’m a Certified Personal Organizer and when I look at those numbers, they seem overwhelming to me.

If all of this seems too much or you just want advice on how to handle your photos, I recommend you contact a Certified Photo Organizer, like me, who can help you. You can find one in your area at You can also contact me directly at

Organizing Your Photos: How to Get Started |