The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Week 4 Update & Tips | From Overwhelmed to Organized: The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Week 4 Update & Tips

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Week 4 Update & Tips

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 24,029 pictures, which is a total of only 85 pictures deleted this week.

Summer got the best of me :)  We had 3 nights of baseball games last week, I volunteered at the Canadian Open PGA golf tournament, and spent the weekend watching the last two rounds of the tournament live.  Fun times... but little mental energy to tackle photos.

I'm happy with my overall total this month though... 1523 pictures deleted!

Here's how it breaks down by year from start to finish.

What kinds of pictures I deleted

This week, I finally finished deleting family pictures for 2012.  I thought about going back to some older pictures since I hadn't gone through them since week one.  But, I know this is going to be a challenge I continue to tackle for a long time, and I wanted to at least finish one year!

This is a good strategy for any overwhelming organizing project - break it down into smaller tasks and complete them one at a time.  That way you see your progress and are motivated to continue.

{I still have to go through lots more blog project pictures from 2012, which should greatly reduce that total number of pictures for 2012!}

Lessons learned this week

My strategy was a little more defined this week.  Instead of looking at each picture individually and deciding whether to keep it or not, this week I looked at a collection of pictures from a particular event or outing, and then chose which pictures were the best.  I kept those and deleted the rest.

This week I also tried setting a limit for myself of how many pictures I would keep for each grouping of pictures.  That made it easier to delete the rest without feeling guilt or angst.

I also kept thinking about what I might do with all these pictures (see last week's post if you're looking for some ideas).  No matter what I decide to do with them, I know I don't need 108 versions of essentially the same picture.

No exaggeration there!  I had 108 shots of my kids at skating lessons.  On several different days.  You can't even see their faces most of the time and the lighting isn't great in the arena.   Why do I need to keep all of these?

So I chose a couple that showed progress throughout the fall and a few closeups that show their expressions.  And I purged the rest :)

Steps to Organize Your Digital Photos

Step One:  Combine your photos
Step Two:  Purge your photos
Step Three:  Organize your photos
Step Four:  Share or print your photos

These steps were covered in previous weeks.  You can click the links above to read them if you've missed any. Now for this week's step:

Step Five:  Back up your photos

This is SO important!!  I've heard horror stories of people's computers crashing and losing years of memories.  I've come close a couple of times to losing several months of photos and it's heartbreaking.  Please do NOT let this happen to you!

There are so many ways to back up your photos.  You can save them onto an external hard drive or data stick.  There are also lots of cloud-based options for backing up your photos.  Many people do a combination of both.

I haven't attempted any cloud-based backup solutions... yet.  So I can't speak from experience on those.  But I will share links below to other bloggers who have so you can pursue that option if you'd like.

Initially I burned my photos onto CD's to back them up.  But that started to get costly and take up more space than I cared to store all those CD's.

So I bought an external hard drive and used it to back up my whole photo collection.  That worked for several years.  But as my collection grew, this became more and more time consuming.  So I'd end up not doing it very often.  And my photos would be at risk.

My compromise for the last year or two has been to add folders of new pictures to a memory stick about once a month.  I've got all my old pictures still on my external drive too, so everything is backed up somewhere outside of my laptop.  {Note:  I'm careful not to delete any photos from my memory card in my camera until I've backed up my collection from my laptop.... at least that gives me two copies all the time.}

This may not be the perfect solution for everyone, but it works for me for now.   My only fear is that if our house was burning down, would I remember to grab that hard drive and data stick?  Or would I be able to?

One of my goals for purging my collection to a more manageable number is that I want to be able to put the whole thing on a memory stick and keep it in our fireproof box with our other important / irreplaceable items.  {My external hard drive doesn't fit in our current box.}  So I'm going to keep purging until that's possible!

Someday maybe I'll look into cloud-based options, but for now I think this is the best way for me to ensure all my digital photos are safe.

Digital Photo Organizing Tips

Each week I have been sharing tips I've found online to help you purge and organize your digital pictures.  This week's tips are all about backing up your photos:

  • If you choose to back up your photos onto CD's or DVD's, here are some pretty printable sleeves from eighteen25 (other years are available too).    

  • Here's an article with several great online back-up options:
  • Here's another article that compares a variety of back-up options:
  • Lastly, here's another example of using CD's to back up your digital photos:
Achieving Creative Order

What's Next?

This is the end of July, so the digital photo organizing part of this challenge is coming to an end.  I still have a long way to go... a LONG way!  But I will keep going.  The lessons I've learned this month and the motivation I've uncovered from purging as much as I did, will help me continue.

In August we'll be switching gears to printed photos.  I've got boxes of pictures that I need to organize!  How about you?

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.

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 do you back up your digital photos?  Are you a physical back-up person or do you prefer a cloud-based option?  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!