The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Printed Photos Week 1 Tips | From Overwhelmed to Organized: The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Printed Photos Week 1 Tips

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Great Photo Purge Challenge: Printed Photos Week 1 Tips

Welcome back to the Great Photo Purge Challenge!  If you missed any of the posts from earlier in this challenge, or want a quick refresher, here they are:

Yesterday I showed you the printed photos I purged last week and shared the lessons I learned as I purged.  If you missed that post, click here to read it.  There's a list of types of photos I purged that may help you in the challenge this week!

Not too bad eh?!  I'm still pretty amazed that I was able to purge nearly 1000 photos :)  

Today, I'm sharing steps, tips, and advice to help you purge your printed photo collection.  

Steps to Organize Your Printed Photos

This was last week's challenge and if you joined the challenge then, you should now have all your printed photos in one place.  If not, you can do that before you start this week's challenge :)

Step Two:  Decide how you want to enjoy your photos

This week, first consider your space and available storage.  Based on that, decide how many photos you want to keep.  It may be a certain number of albums or boxes.  Decide what size pictures will fit your space too (e.g. all 4x6's or do you want some larger photos to display?).

You'll also want to consider how you prefer to enjoy your photos.  Do you like looking back at old photos? Or do you take them, print them, and then rarely look at them?  Do you enjoy displaying albums on your coffee table and flipping through them with visitors?  Or do you prefer to flip through a stack of photos?  

Understanding how you appreciate the memories associated with the photos will help you as you purge your photos.  

Then, using some of the guidelines in this post, decide what kinds of photos you want to purge and what kinds of photos you want to keep.  

Step 3:  Purge your printed photos

Now you're ready to start going through your photos, following the rules you set for yourself. 

I suggest you start with photos that you think will be the least sentimental.  That will help you gain confidence in purging and you won't get bogged down in memories or overwhelmed making decisions.  {It's like with any organizing project... you don't want to jump into an emotionally charged project first... you start with something like a bathroom drawer or a junk drawer and then build your de-cluttering and organizing skills!}

Take breaks as needed.  This may be a long-term project, depending on how many photos you have.  If you stand and stretch from time to time you'll find you can make better decisions. 

If you're struggling with this project, I'd suggest setting a timer for 15 or 30 minutes and see what you can do in that time.  If you've had enough after that then stop and get back at it again another time.  If you're good to keep going then grab a snack and set the timer for another 15 or 30 minutes.  {Note:  I recently heard a great tip on using timers... use the kitchen stove timer... you have to get up to turn it off (unlike a timer on your phone or computer right next to you)... and it's often a more annoying and persistent sound than other timers are!}

Only you can decide how many photos you want to purge.  If you want to keep all your photos or only purge a few bad ones, then that's perfectly fine.  As long as you're valuing the photos you keep so they don't become clutter.  If you have tons of scrapbooks or albums or photo boxes and they are accessible and you browse through them from time to time, then that's great (provided you have the space of course!). 

But if you're hanging on to photos because it's too overwhelming to deal with them, and if you have them stored away in bins or boxes in the basement {ahem... like me...}, then you're not really respecting those photos.  

So, decide your threshold for your photo clutter and then dig in!  You'll feel so much better afterwards :)

Printed Photo Purging Tips

Each week of the challenge, I have been sharing tips I've found online to help you purge and organize your pictures.  Here are some tips for helping you purge your printed photos:

  • Leah wrote a series a few months ago about organizing photos and in this post she gives lots of purging tips as well as some suggestions for sorting your photos.  
Fabulously Organized Home

  • Unclutterer has a great article with tips for helping you decide what is photo clutter and what is not.  

Your turn!

If you have lots of printed photos that you want to purge and organize, I hope you'll be part of this challenge!  Just follow along each week (or jump in and do it any way that works for you - we'll essentially be applying the same steps as I did for the digital photos in July).

Let me know you're joining the challenge by leaving a comment here, or on Facebook or Google+!  We'll all encourage each other along the way.

You can set whatever goal you want, based on your available time.  Some people may want to set a goal of a certain number of printed photos purged each week.  Others may want to measure success by size of piles of purged pictures (e.g. 1 or 2 inch piles).  Or maybe you want to go through a specific number of pages or albums.  It's completely up to you!  Just don't make it unrealistic or it will become overwhelming... and that's definitely not the goal here :)  Even if it takes you months, every little bit helps!

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 storing and displaying them in a way that we can enjoy them more).  And the best way to accomplish this is to get rid of all the pictures that we don't need or want.

Here are all the posts in the series.

How many printed photos do you have?  What kinds of photos do you plan to purge?  Which photos are the most difficult for you to part with?

Happy organizing!

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