The Great Photo Purge Challenge Week 1 Update & Tips | From Overwhelmed to Organized: The Great Photo Purge Challenge Week 1 Update & Tips

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Great Photo Purge Challenge Week 1 Update & Tips

{This post was nearly ready to go on Monday when I lost power due to the crazy rain storm that hit the Toronto area.  Power came back on later and thankfully we had no basement flooding - many we know did - but then we lost our internet, home phone, and cable yesterday.  Won't likely be fixed until Friday due to the number of issues related to the storm.  So... I'm hanging out at my parents' place... using their internet to get some blogging done while the kids run through the sprinkler (my parents have a great backyard for sprinkler fun!).  Thanks for being patient with this update!}

Do you have tons of digital pictures on your computer?  Then join the Great Photo Purge Challenge this month!  For more on how this challenge works and why it's important, check out the introductory post here.

My progress this week

Here's a new shot of where I stand this week:

I'm down to 24,800 pictures!  That's still pretty scary, but if you remember from last week, I started with 25,552.  So I deleted 752 pictures this week!  Actually 842, because I also added 90 pictures this week.  That's much higher than my target of 250 pictures per week.  I'm very happy with my progress this week :)

Here's how it breaks down by year.

What kinds of pictures I deleted

I started at the very beginning... a very good place to start. {Anyone else have Doe a Deer from "The Sound of Music" going through their heads now?  My favourite movie of all time!}

OK, back to the challenge.  First I deleted blurry pictures and any duplicate pictures from 2000, 2003, 2004, and some of 2005 and 2006.

Blurry pictures were easy.  {I can't believe I kept those all these years!}

Duplicates were easy, if they were side by side.  The difficulty was that there were quite a few pictures that were saved with the wrong dates so it became harder to tell they were actually duplicates.  In some cases I edited the dates, but this was time consuming so, for now, I've stopped.

{I have lots of duplicates because when I upgraded computers a few times some of the pictures were copied again, even though the setting was to only copy pictures that were not previously uploaded.  Boo!}

I was getting a bit overwhelmed with how long it was taking me to go through these old pictures, so I took a break.  {Always a good idea when you're getting overwhelmed!}.

When I got back at it, I switched gears and started going through the 2012 pictures.  I was more successful here because there were so many pictures that I had taken for blog posts, but didn't use.  I only ever use a small portion of the photos I take, and I really didn't need the rest of them anymore.  So I deleted LOTS here!

I'm still working my way through 2012, but seeing the progress I've made is very encouraging.  Now I can find pictures easier when I do need to look back for something.  And I even came across a few projects that I never blogged about and added them to my blog topics list!

Lessons learned this week

I realized this week that my numbers will be changing throughout this challenge because I will be adding new pictures at the same time as I'm deleting old ones.  And I won't be able to delete very many newer pictures as I go, because often they are for blog posts that I haven't written yet.

But, just like in the email deleting challenge, going through this challenge is helping me do a better job of purging as I go.  The lessons I learn through the process of purging pictures will help me purge new pictures that I don't need to keep.  Here are a couple ways I can keep my new picture count under control:

  • I deleted a lot of blurry or dark pictures this week.  Moving forward, I plan to delete these types of pictures as soon as I upload them, so I don't have to do it later. 
  • I deleted a lot of "extra" pictures of organizing projects that didn't get used in blog posts.  From now on, I will delete these extra pictures as soon as the blog post is finished.  Again, this way they won't accumulate, and I won't have to do a big purge later.  

Steps to Organize Your Digital Photos {A few more in coming weeks}

Step One:  Combine your photos
If you have digital pictures on several devices or storage mediums, combine them all in one central location so you know what you have.  It's hard to purge duplicates or multiple pictures of the same pose if you can't see them all in one place.  Note:  if you use photo software to organize and view your photos, make sure you have your settings to only upload pictures that have not been uploaded before.  Test a small sample to make sure the setting works.

Step Two:  Purge your photos
Delete (or consider deleting) the following types of pictures:

  • Blurry pictures
  • Copies of the same picture
  • Multiple photos of the same pose (you know those ones where you take 2 or 3 or 10 shots to make sure you get everyone smiling and looking at the camera?).  Even if they are all "pretty good", do you really need lots of versions of the same picture? 
  • Pictures of the backs of people's heads
  • Photos with poor lighting (especially for bloggers who are taking pictures to share on their blog)
  • Scenic pictures that you no longer care about or remember where/when they were taken
  • Shots of people you've lost touch with or that you don't really care to keep anymore 
It's your call how many pictures you keep, but as you decide, think about things like what you will do with your pictures (print them, put them in digital albums, share them online, etc.), how much storage space you have, how long it takes you to back up all your photos, and how quickly you can find the photos you're looking for.  

This could take some time, depending on how many photos you have.  I suggest setting aside a little time every day so it's manageable and doesn't become overwhelming.  You don't want to think of this as a huge project or you'll find {very creative!} ways to avoid doing it.

Digital Photo Organizing Tips

Each week I will share tips I've found online to help you purge and organize your digital pictures.  Here are this week's tips:

  • Jessica from Mom of 6 gives some tips on deciding which photos to keep and which ones to delete.  She also shares a great system to help you from getting overwhelmed by the process!  Go check it out.

Mom of 6

  • Morgan from Morganize With Me shares her thoughts on the importance of keeping photo clutter under control and the tips she uses to manage hers.
Morganize with Me
  • Lastly, here's an article from Huffington Post about letting go of photo clutter. Some excellent points here if you're struggling with the idea of purging photos!  Here's the link:  How to Let Go of Photo Clutter

Your turn!

You can join in the challenge by leaving a comment here, or on Facebook or Google+!  You can set whatever goal you want, based on your available time.  Just break the challenge down into manageable chunks so it's less overwhelming.  Even if it takes you months, every little bit helps!  Let me know how you're doing each week.  We'll all encourage each other along the way.

If you have a system for keeping your digital photos organized and under control, please share your tips with us!

Remember, the point of this challenge is not to get rid of all our pictures. The goal is to take better care of our special pictures (by being able to find them faster, back them up quicker, and maybe even add tags).  And the best way to accomplish this is to get rid of all the pictures that we don't need or want.

Adele from Arrange My Place is co-hosting this challenge with me so don't forget to check out her progress on her Facebook page.

Here are all the posts in the series.

How many digital pictures do you have?  Do you keep all your shots or delete the bad ones as you go?  Please comment if you're joining the challenge or share tips if you've got this digital pictures thing under control!

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!