The Great Photo Purge Challenge! | From Overwhelmed to Organized: The Great Photo Purge Challenge!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Great Photo Purge Challenge!

Do you have tons of digital pictures on your computer?  Or piles of printed photos stuffed in shoe boxes under your bed?  Then this challenge is for YOU!

Why purge and organize photos?

Pictures are a wonderful way to remember special times and people in our lives.  They document our history.  

But it can be overwhelming keeping up with all the pictures we take!  Whether you print pictures or create digital albums, it takes time to choose the best pictures and then follow through on printing them or making albums.

If we don't keep up with the process, our photos can create clutter on our computers or in our homes.  And that can make it hard to treasure those memories!

So, this challenge will help us take back control of our pictures!  It will help us decide which pictures are important and which ones are not.  We'll look at options for storing our photos in ways that ensure they are kept safe.  And I'll share tips for how to organize the photos we value.

How this challenge will work

Each week, I'll be decluttering and organizing my photo collections (digital and printed) and I'll share my progress with you, while giving tips for how you can deal with your photo clutter.

You can join in by leaving a comment here or on Facebook or Google+!  Let me know how you're doing each week.  We'll all encourage each other along the way.

If you have tips for us, please share those as well!  I loved how that worked during the You've Got {Too Much} Email challenge!

Adele from Arrange My Place is co-hosting this challenge with me and you can follow her progress on her Facebook page.

Here's the plan for the challenge

In July I'll be focusing on digital pictures.  I have TONS of those and I know there are a lot that should be deleted {blurry ones, backs of heads, duplicate poses, etc.}.  Please tell me I'm not the only one :)

Then in August I'll deal with printed photos.  I haven't even bothered to print pictures for several years because I couldn't keep up with all the ones I already had {organizing them, putting them in albums or frames or giving them away to friends and family}.  I've got boxes and bins full of photos that need to be organized.

Read to start?  July's all about purging digital photos!

One of the blessings of digital cameras is that we can take so many pictures of the same pose and not have to pay to print all of them.  But the downside is that we can take so. many. pictures. of the same pose.  It's a huge source of digital clutter because most of us rarely go back and delete the pictures we don't want.

I plan to go through my digital pictures and delete all the blurry ones and duplicate ones (I have a bunch of these due to a technical malfunction when I merged pictures from different computers).  I also plan to delete pictures when I have multiple copies of the same pose or event or project, and just keep the best ones.

Where I'm starting

So... full disclosure... here's what I'm starting with.

Do you see that number??  25,552 files!  That's how many photos I have on my hard drive!   Over 47 Gigs of pictures.  Oh my.

I use the photo software that came with my camera to organize and edit my photos.  Here's the breakdown by year from that program.

It's scary seeing those large numbers, but I find the pattern of them interesting.  I got my first digital camera for Christmas in 2003 {not sure why 2 pictures showed up as 2000!} and my son was born in March 2004 so we made good use of it then!  A bit of a lull in 2005 and then my daughter was born in October 2006 so things picked back up a bit.

I think the 2007 and 2010 numbers are high because of a lot of duplication {when we got a new computer it copied pictures that we already had - I definitely need to get rid of a lot of that duplication!}.

But 2012... that's the really scary number that motivated me to do this challenge.

Check out this shot which breaks that year down.

2012 was the year I started blogging.  Can you tell?  I started blogging in late May but I began taking pictures of my organizing projects in April.  And then I went a little crazy in June :)

I use the same camera for our day-to-day family pictures and the pictures for the blog, so I'm not surprised the numbers grew in 2012.  But I only use a very small percentage of those pictures in my blog posts.

I take lots of shots of my organizing projects (gotta love those before and afters!).  I need to take lots of them in case some are blurry or have bad lighting.  But then I just choose the best ones to post.  And I don't do anything with the rest.  So they accumulate.  And become overwhelming.

It's time to do something about it!

The point of this challenge is not to get rid of all my pictures.  There are tons of special ones in there!  But I do want to take better care of those pictures (by being able to find them faster, back them up quicker, and maybe even add tags someday).  And the best way to do that is to get rid of all the pictures that I don't need or want.

I'm setting a goal of 250 pictures per week.  It's ambitious, because I'm starting with over 25,000 pictures!  But I learned from the email decluttering challenge that I need the accountability of a target.

How I'm going to make this challenge not overwhelming

In order to not be overwhelmed at this task, I'm planning to chip away at this challenge a bit at a time.  Just like I did with the email challenge.  I know I can do some deleting during the evenings while I'm vegging and I'll also try to go through pictures a bit during the day if the kids are happy with some other activity.

Will you join me?

If you're overwhelmed with how many digital pictures you have, I hope you'll join me in this challenge!  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!

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!

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