Photos, whether physical or digital, can cause clutter like any other material possession. There’s even a term for it: sentimental clutter.
Sentimental clutter, such as old photos, souvenirs, memorabilia, and inherited pieces, can be the hardest to get rid of. This is because sentimental items remind us of happy times, important people and events, and we have attached feelings to these items.
So how is one supposed to determine which photos are worth keeping and which aren’t? After all, you might change your mind in 10 years!
It’s actually quite simple, as decluttering old photos is like decluttering anything else. If you don’t use them, need them, or even like them, they can go in the literal or figurative bin. In other words, if your photos, be they digital or physical, are no longer need, it’s best to get rid of them.
When you declutter your photos the right way, you’ll feel lighter and more focused. Plus you’ll keep your truly precious photos neatly organized and more easily accessible so you can revisit your favorite memories whenever you please.
In this blog post, we share our best tips on decluttering and organizing your photos, so you have more space for what truly matters.
Before You Start Organizing Photos
First things first, you need to decide what photos you want to keep and what you’re okay letting go. If you have a lifetime of photos to sort through, this first step may already feel overwhelming. But don’t fret – there is a simple way to determine what pictures you can declutter.
Ask yourself these questions:
Does this photo hold a special place in my heart?
Does it bring fond memories or capture a significant moment in our family life?
Will our kids need this to help them get to know our relatives and friends?
If the answer to any of those is a resounding “yes,” then it’s a clear keeper. The keeper photos will simply feel good to look at. These will instantly transport you back to good times in your life. These are the ones you want to preserve and cherish.
But we’re not stopping thee. You also need to think about the quality of the photo and its overall relevance to your life today. If you have lots of duplicates or photos that are very similar to others, choose the best version. Then bid farewell to the rest.
Next, if you have pictures of people or places you no longer recognize or have any connection to, get rid of them. Focus on keeping photos that document important life events or relationships and let go of the rest.
Declutter With a Purpose
It’s essential to declutter with a purpose and be ruthless in the process. If you have a ton of photos, you need to be highly selective. Get rid of duplicates, test photos, and pictures that hold bad memories, and also those of yourself that you don’t like. There’s no point in keeping those awkward photos of yourself in high school that make you cringe – we promise you that in 10 years you’ll still look awkward, and you’ll still cringe looking at them!
Of course, if you’re sorting through family photos, it’s best to do it together. You can all then decide which ones are keepers and which ones are not. As a bonus, talking together about your memories and important moments will make the process much more fun.
It’s important to remember that decluttering your photos doesn’t mean losing those memories. By decluttering and organizing your photos, you’ll curate a collection that best represents the moments that truly matter to you and that is easier to navigate and therefore more enjoyable to revisit.
With that out of the way, let’s jump to the best ways to keep and organize your favorite and most precious photos!
5 Options for Keeping and Organizing Photos
1. Embrace digital storage.
We live in a digital age, so take advantage of it by digitally storing most of your not-too-precious photos. It’s a practical and space-saving solution that is guaranteed not to cause clutter!
If you’re looking for the most reliable option to store your photos digitally, we recommend getting an external storage drive. It offers incredible storage (thousands upon thousands of pics!) and is simple to use – just transfer your photos onto the hard drive and make regular backups to prevent data loss.
Cloud storage is another clutter-free option. Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox are all secure online storage platforms that you can access from anywhere in the world as long as you have Wi-Fi.
2. Opt for digital photo frames.
If you have many photos that you’d like to display but don’t want to use traditional photo frames as you’d likely need dozens of them, why not try digital photo frames?
Digital picture frames allow you to transfer photos directly from your phone, computer, or camera easily and quickly. Best of all, they can hold hundreds of pictures, significantly reducing physical clutter in your home while enabling you to enjoy your treasured memories.
3. Rediscover the charm of photo albums.
If you prefer a more traditional approach, invest in large, quality photo albums that will allow you to easily organize your precious physical photos.
Keep in mind, it’s good to be selective here. As mentioned, pick only the photos you really like or that are in some way meaningful to you. Don’t keep duplicates, blurry photos, or pictures of people you are no longer friends with.
Once you select your most cherished pictures, record an identifying description on each one. Finally, arrange them in an album in a visually appealing manner for a more tangible photo experience.
4. Create personalized photo books.
For a more creative and modern twist on photo albums, consider creating personalized photo books online. This option is especially fitting when you have a collection of important photos from significant life events. A personalized wedding photo book, for example, can beautifully capture the magic and emotions of your special day.
Choose your absolute favorite photos, arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing manner, and voila! You have a beautiful photo book that can be kept on a bookshelf or coffee table, ready to be shared and enjoyed whenever you desire. Who knew decluttering could be this fun!
5. Digitize your favorite photos.
If you have a ton of old printed photos that you normally keep in big, dusty boxes, consider scanning them and converting them into digital copies.
Converting your old physical prints into digital files and then saving them either on your computer or cloud storage is a great way to preserve old memories without creating lots of clutter. This way, you can organize and categorize your old photos, making them more easily accessible.
Having digital copies of your most precious photos will also keep them safe for longer (no discoloration or accidental tears), and as a bonus, you’ll be able to share them with your friends and family.
Preserve your special memories.
You may panic at the thought of getting rid of your photos. But again, you are only removing those that are no longer needed and not worth preserving. This will lead you to organizing only the photos that you really need, so it’s easy to access anytime.
This will then highlight the memories that need to be cherished and will let you and your family focus and enjoy them. So again, don’t be afraid of going through hundreds, or even thousands of photos, be selective, because at the end of the day, it will be all worth it!