Tips for Decluttering Photos {Decluttering Sentimental Items - Day 27} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Tips for Decluttering Photos {Decluttering Sentimental Items - Day 27}

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tips for Decluttering Photos {Decluttering Sentimental Items - Day 27}

Today in the Decluttering Sentimental Items series, I'm sharing tips for decluttering photos. Now this is a huge topic and I could do a whole series just on this topic (actually I did that a few years ago when I was decluttering my photos!).

I'm not going to tell you what you should keep and what you should let go of... as always, that's totally up to you. But if you're ready to declutter your photos I hope these tips will help!

Why photos are hard to let go of 

Photos are VERY sentimental! I mean they represent so many memories, experiences, people, and feelings. It's our past. Our history. They are hard to let go of.  Not much more to say about that.

Tips for letting go of photos 

But photos can be overwhelming.  They can pile up so much we don't really enjoy any of them.  Which is a shame.

First of all, decide if you want to declutter digital photos or printed photos.  There are some tips that overlap and some that are unique to each medium.

Here are some tips to help you declutter your digital photos (chances are, you have thousands of digital pictures you can delete!):

  • Delete duplicate photos (you know those times when you used the burst button or took 37 copies of the same pose so you could get those 1 or 2 perfect shots?!).  Keep the 1 or 2 great ones and declutter the rest.
  • Delete blurry photos or pictures with a thumb that got in the way.  
  • Delete pictures that just had a temporary purpose (e.g. pics you took of items when you were shopping so you could refer to them later or show someone else).
  • Remember, even though these pictures are digital and don't take up a lot of physical space in your home, they can take up a lot of space on a camera (unless you regularly copy them to your computer or the cloud and delete them from your camera).  And they can become overwhelming. It's hard to enjoy your favourites when they're buried between tons of other pics you don't care about. Just like with any other items, decluttering the ones you don't want will help you treasure the best ones. 
  • Any time you've got a few minutes (waiting in a line, at an appointment, before a meeting, etc.) just scroll through your phone or camera and delete any you don't want. Every little bit helps. Start with the most recent pics and work your way backwards in time.

And here are some tips for decluttering printed photos:

  • First, decide what your goal is for your printed photos.  How do you want to enjoy your photos? In albums, scrapbooks, boxes, frames, etc.? Consider how they will be stored, how you will protect them so they last a long time, how much space they take up, etc. Or maybe you want to declutter them and then scan the ones you keep so you have digital copies.
  • Once you have a plan in mind, then go through your photos and let go of any that you don't really love. They could be of people who don't remember, people you don't want to remember, places you don't recall, blurry pics, photos with heads cut off, etc. 
  • Back in the day, printed pics were expensive so everyone kept every picture they ever printed. But if you wouldn't bother printing it now, then why keep it? Give yourself permission to let go of whatever you no longer love.
  • If you have old photos and you don't know the history of them, you can either try to find out from other family members, or, if you're not interested in knowing, you can see if other family members would like the photos you're letting go of.
  • Just as with other sentimental items, search for the treasures and let go of the rest. You (and those around you) will appreciate being able to flip through a few special albums and sharing stories, rather than being overwhelmed with 28 huge albums full of pics that don't mean as much and that are buried in bins in the basement and it's a pain to dig them out to look at.

Take your time with decluttering photos.  There will be lots of memories and it can be emotionally draining. But keep your goals in mind of how you want to enjoy and treasure your photos once you're done! It will help you make decisions quicker and easier.

Ways you can reuse/repurpose/display photos 

Reusing and repurposing don't really apply to photos (let me know if you find some creative ways to do either of those!), but there are TONS of options for displaying your photos!

Here's a great infographic that may help you decide what you want to do with your photos:

September is Save Your Photos Month, and SpareFoot partnered with the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO), by creating this infographic to help you organize and store your photo collection.

Wow! Lots of great content and ideas there!

Here are a couple of comments and stories shared by members of the 365 Items in 365 Days FB group:
  • "I conquered this a few years ago. I have a large blended family so there was his, hers, and ours pictures. So I bought a scanner and scanned all of them (took a couple weeks doing it about an hour or so a day). I put them into their own folders per kid and family. Then I let the kids take what pictures they wanted and made a disc for each person and a few extra copies just in case.  It worked great. Down to one little box of family members I have no clue about and I made myself 2 albums."
  • "Work in progress. I find it so much easier to click delete for digital pics than throw out printed photos, but persevere, I will. Thanks for the tips, Hilda."

A Few More Helpful Ideas For Your Favourite Photos

If you'd like to make easy photobooks and you share a lot of pictures online, Blurb {affiliate link} will create photo books for you based on your Facebook or Instagram photos.

And don't forget about the Keepy app {affiliate link}.  They're offering 20% off your whole order between now and October 31, 2016!  Get the details here.  It's not just for artwork :)

If you're looking for a good back-up tool so you never lose your favourite digital photos, Picture Keeper {affiliate links} might be just the thing for you.  Right now they're offering 2 great deals:


There are lots of other tips out there for organizing, decluttering, and displaying your photos.  Here are a few links that I think you'll find helpful:

Don't Start Your Decluttering Journey With Sentimental Items

Just a quick reminder that if you have "regular" (non-sentimental) clutter in your home, it's better to deal with that first and set aside your sentimental clutter until your home is less cluttered.  Decluttering your everyday items will likely make more of an impact on your daily life than sentimental decluttering will.  And sentimental items are generally more difficult to tackle so it's better to build up to them.

Whether you're decluttering sentimental items or general clutter, join our 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group!  You'll find lots of encouragement, motivation, and tips as we all declutter our homes and lives together.  You can find more details about the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge here too.

For More Decluttering Sentimental Items Tips

Want more tips?  Check these the 31 Days of Easy Decluttering series!

Or the Decluttering From A to Z series from last October!

If you'd like more decluttering ideas, you can check out my Decluttering/Purging Tips & Ideas board on Pinterest.

Your turn! 

Have you decluttered your photos? What are the challenges with letting go of photos? If you've decluttered your pics, what made it easier? What tips can you share for others doing it?

As you declutter your photos, take pictures and share them on social media using the hashtag #declutteringsentimentalitems so you can inspire all of us to declutter our sentimental items!

If you've got a picture of how you displayed your photos, please share it in the comments or on one of the series' social media posts.   I'd love to see how you are giving honour and respect to your sentimental items!

Happy organizing decluttering!

Here are all the posts in this challenge in case you missed any or want to share some with your friends or family!

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