Decluttering digital photos

Am I the only person who sometimes regrets the day I started scrapbooking our family photos? They were all happily nestled into those books with magnetic pages; I ripped them from their resting place, and began to sort them into multiple cleverly designed boxes. Plan was to have beautiful photo albums with sweet little stickers and cut outs and beautifully written notes below each one.

Fifteen years I'm still working on that. Seriously. If I have to find a photo I probably can, but it's not a pretty process. I also have every single shot that has someone's eyes closed, someone's head cut off, etc. because my family photos go back to the day when you took 20 shots of one pose, not knowing what you'd end up with. 

I need to work on that. 

But I'm not going to. Yet. I'm going to start where I am now, in 2011. I'm still back in that year photo-wise, so I'm taking one hour a week to do what our organizing guru, Tsh, told me to: Collect, Cull, Contain. 

It's surprising to me how difficult it is to stay on task. The digital photos are already 'collected'. They are on my computer (with a backup done every single night.) I start in January, vowing to just delete the unnecessary, awful, duplicate. Within minutes I find a photo that is adorable or makes me teary-eyed and I think I have to stop right then and share it with someone - send an email, etc. etc. etc. 

I'm pressing on. Trying to just work on 2012 digital photos, culling through - deleting what is not necessary. The plan is that when I'm done with this process I'll contain them. I'll copy them to a CD that can be filed away for further use. I thought about having a book made using my Mac, but do I really want a book for every single year of our lives? Good grief, that would be 30 years already of marriage, and since I have a 'kid' who is 35 that obviously isn't going to work. I'm thinking themes is the way to go. A book of our family vacations. A book just for Christmas over the years. One simple book for each kid, from when they entered the world til they moved out on their own. A book of miscellaneous photos that make me smile, laugh, cry, remember, reflect, stop what I'm doing to run find my husband and make him re-remember the story with me. 

After all, that's what photos are for. Not for living in closets in cleverly designed boxes.  

Step one, for me, is learning how to move photos around in iPhoto, on our computer. Plan is to make a really good cup of tea, set the timer for one hour, and dive in. I'll let you know how it goes. 

What do you do with your photos? Do you have this lion tamed? If so, please share!


Miss Lola said…
I have been thinking a long time about this same thing: boxes and boxes of photos without a permanent home. Please keep posting about how the organizing of photos is going. Your organizational journey is inspiring!
Leah in Iowa said…
I'll be interested to read the comments to see your progress, and to read about the ideas of others!
Fonda said…
Thanks for sharing Tsh's idea. (I have the book but haven't started reading it yet...guess I need to get on that!) My digital photos are filed by year, month and event on an external hard drive...BUT I have not edited out the blurs, the duplicates, etc. That will take awhile...especially the football game pictures. I just snap constantly when our youngest is on the field. It is the only way that I can catch those fast action plays for him to look at later!
Georgia said…
I have all my albums out and was debating on what to do with them too. Haven't started, but thought I'd do my old ones first, then go to the ones I've on the computer and discs. Quite a daunting project but already have had some fun trips down memory lane! A good winter project!!
Anonymous said…
This has been on my "to do" list for about 15 years. I think I'm just going to wait until I'm retired and then come up with a master plan. I have three cabinets full of albums and while I love pulling them out and looking at them, I do the same thing...tear up at the memories, wonder at how time has flown, laugh at hairdos (and harder at the don'ts), etc. But I always feel like it is time well spent, being thankful for all the joys and memories I have been blessed with over the years. Bettie

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