Day 16: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Day 16: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 16: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge

Got a lot of photos? Do you want to be able to enjoy your pictures instead of having to search and search to find your favourites? Does the thought of tackling your photo collection seem so overwhelming that you keep putting it off? Me too!

That's why this month I'm hosting the 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge! Each day I'll share tips to help you declutter your photo collection so you can really treasure and enjoy all the best ones. And I'll share my progress as I declutter my photos along with you :)

Today I'm sharing tips for organizing your photos as you declutter.

Today's Photo Decluttering Tip - Decide How You Want To Organize Your Photos

As you've been decluttering your photos, you've probably been thinking about how you want to organize them. There are two main options - chronological or by theme and there are advantages and disadvantages of each.

Chronological Organizing - Advantages

  • Digital photos are easy to sort chronologically because of their metadata
  • Printed photos from photo albums are also easy to sort chronologically because they were likely put into albums that way
  • People tend to remember events chronologically so it's easier to sort photos and find photos later

Chronological Organizing - Disadvantages

  • Older, loose printed photos may be hard to sort by date if they don't have anything written on the back
  • Sometimes you want to remember something all together but the photos may be spread out among other photos (a sport a child played for several years, birthday parties throughout the years, school photos over the years, etc.)

Themed Organizing - Advantages

  • Allows you to view related photos easily (vacations, annual celebrations, photos of ancestors, etc.)
  • Can easily create albums of related photos
  • Easier to handle lots of undated photos because themes are easier to identify than dates

Themed Organizing - Disadvantages

  • Many people have a hard time thinking in themes and prefer things chronological
  • It doesn't match up with your digital collection if that is organized chronologically

It's up to you which method you choose. There's no right or wrong way. You can even do some of both if you want . It's good to build on what you already have if possible. It depends somewhat on how your brain works (mine's pretty chronological so I'd have a hard time organizing my photos any other way lol). How you want to view, enjoy, and share your photos can affect your decision as well. 

Once you establish your organizing process you can use it on all the photos you've decided to keep after decluttering. 

My Photo Decluttering Progress

I decluttered a photo album and an envelope of negatives today. I pulled all the photos out of the album but it was quite a large album (binder style and I think I added additional sticky pages so it was really full), but I haven't gone through the pile yet. I'll tackle those photos tomorrow.

So no change in my overall number of photos decluttered. I'm very glad I'm doing this challenge. There have been days when I don't feel like decluttering photos but I push past those feelings because I know I need to post here :)  After the stack of photos from this album, I have a few more albums I want to declutter and then I'll finish up the month decluttering more digital photos. At the half-way mark in the challenge now!

Your Turn!

Today your task is to decide on how you want to organize your photos - chronologically or thematically. Consider all the pros and cons listed above and think about your collection and which would work best for you. Once you've decided on a system, start organizing your "keep" photos within that system.

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

How are you doing in the 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge so far? How do you think today's tip will help you? What photos are you decluttering today?  Are you organizing your photos chronologically or thematically?

Happy decluttering and organizing!

Here are the rest of the posts in this challenge:


  1. How do you sort through negatives? Mine are stored in one photo box and I KNOW there are some I want to reprint! How do I view them?

    1. Good question Suzzy! You can buy a viewer so you can see what's on each negative. Here's a fairly cheap option {affiliate links} or there are other kinds like this one where you slide the whole strip through. Another option would be to scan and then print the photos if you have the originals and a decent scanner. It depends on the condition of the negatives and the photos and how much time you want to spend searching through your negatives :)

  2. The idea of organizing by themes was a huge light bulb for me a couple of years back. It never occurred to me that I could do that. Since many older photos were out of chronological order, it was also a relief. When I made albums for my girls upon their high school graduations, I did theme pages, uploading and printing photo books. It is actually very fun to look at the images this way!

    1. Yes it's a bit of a new idea to me too Seana. All my photos are already fairly chronological so I don't think I'll change that but I can see how it would be fun to see pics from the same theme all at once. Great idea for a grad photo book!

  3. I find that chronological works for us when organizing digital images. But, the photos and artwork on my walls I find that themes were better. Some themes I used on my walls are family, couples, and faith.

    1. Good point about photos for the wall Sabrina. I hadn't thought about that, but I can see how themes would work well. Actually now that I think about it, I do have a couple of themes I guess... a collage with each of my kids' first birthday photos, a group of wedding photos, etc.

  4. I'm not crazy about chronological, because if I'm looking for a picture of a sunset, I don't care when it was taken. And if I'm looking for "that photo of Karen wearing the green sweater," I probably won't remember when it was taken. My dream (not yet a goal) is to invest in photo organizing software that will let me locate no matter what my criteria.

    1. I would love a program that allows me to locate pictures on a variety of criteria too Janet! I name photos pretty specifically that I use on my blog so I can find those back fairly easily, but for personal photos it's a lot of work to tag them with searchable keywords. Maybe once I get my collection down to a more reasonable size I can tackle that. For now I do a lot of scrolling :)


I love hearing from my readers! This is a great place to ask questions, answer questions, and share your organizing tips. Thank you so much for commenting! I look forward to getting to know you better :)

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