It’s day 23 of the 31 Days of Decluttering, and today we’re going to delve into something that may be kind of tricky… pictures.
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Sentimental items are some of the hardest items to declutter, and pictures are at the top of that list for most people. Deleting or getting rid of pictures can feel like erasing memories, and I’ve found that the easier the pictures are to take, the more we tend to end up with.
Growing up, when I used film to take pictures and only had 24 or 36 chances per roll, I would very carefully plan my shots. Looking back at them now, other people may not be able to tell, but I really worked hard to get good pictures taken the first time. Now that we have digital cameras and the ability to take pictures with our phones, I seem to take at least 20 pictures of everything! My husband thinks I’m kind of ridiculous, but the truth is that by clicking a bunch of pictures I usually end up with a couple great shots that I probably wouldn’t have gotten if I’d worked hard to get one staged shot.
Unfortunately, this means I have a ton of mediocre/horrible pictures hogging space on both my phone and camera. Add to that my kids’ love for taking funny pictures on my phone, and it’s a big, cluttered mess.
The task of sorting through all of my pictures is, for me at least, way too big to handle in one day. We have a bunch of photo albums, thousands of pictures spread across a couple of computers, and probably a thousand or more on my phone too. If you’re in the same boat, just try to sort through a little each day. Instead of focusing on finishing the task at hand, try focusing on working hard for a set amount of time (15-30 minutes or more). When your timer goes off, you have successfully completed the task no matter how much work remains! Goal accomplished 🙂
Tips for decluttering pictures:
- Gather the pictures you’ll be sorting through in one place or open your computer file/images on your phone
- Immediately delete/get rid of all pictures that don’t look good. Any image that was taken by mistake, is blurry, of someone’s nostril… delete it. You won’t miss it.
- Sort through duplicate images and choose one or just a few favorites to keep. We don’t need enough images to create a flipbook, just a few to remember the moment.
- Organize the pictures you’ll be keeping in a way that makes sense to you. Most people organize photos chronologically, but if a different method works for you, use it. I organize my personal photos by date, but many of my blog photos are organized by subject. If the exact date a picture isn’t important, it may be easier to find down the road if it’s organized with other images in the same category.
Another important step in organizing your pictures is keeping them all in secure locations. For physical images, you may want to invest in this book that explains how to preserve photos, archival bags and storage boxes to protect your pictures through the years. You can also scan your images and keep digital versions on your computer or external hard drive.
We use both external hard drive and Carbonite to back up our images and documents, and I recently found out that all Amazon Prime users get a certain amount of free photo storage for free!
If this isn’t an area that needs work in your home, feel free to move on to another task. Just set a timer for 15-30 minutes and work on a space that will improve your peace of mind and how your home functions.
Are your pictures out of control like mine are? How many do you have to sort through?
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