Day 17: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Day 17: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 17: 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's post is about scanning your printed photos so you can have digital copies of them.

Today's Photo Decluttering Tip - Scan Your Decluttered Printed Photos

After you've decluttered all your printed photos, you can scan them so you have digital copies. Here are some reasons you may want to do this:

  • So you can back them up in case something happens to your printed photos
  • So you can share them online with friends and family
  • So you can create photo books, which generally take up significantly less space on a shelf than photo albums do
  • So your photos last longer (printed photos can deteriorate in albums or boxes but digital copies don't)
  • So you can edit your photos (brightness, red-eye, discolouration, etc.)
This is what I'm planning to do once I finish decluttering all my printed photos (the ones that were pre-digital-camera photos). It's the main reason I'm decluttering so much now, so I have less to scan later. 

There are several options for scanning your photos:
  • Scan them yourself at home
  • Send them away to be scanned (usually an online service provider)
  • Drop them off at a local store that offers photo scanning

If you decide to use a photo scanning service, take time to research what is available in your area or online and what services are provided. These are your memories they are dealing with. Also make sure you know what you intend to do with the scanned photos so you can decide what quality of scanning you require. 

If you decide to scan your pictures yourself, be sure you have a good quality scanner. If you have a lot of photos to scan you may want to borrow, rent, or even purchase a high-speed scanner to save you lots of time and effort. Be sure you're keeping your photos and the scanner clean because dust and fingerprints will be visible in your digital copies. 

When it comes time for me to scan my photos, I'm planning to rent a good scanner with some friends and fellow organizers. We'll share the cost of a weekly rental and each use if for 1-2 days or break it up and do a little bit every day.

If you're looking to buy a scanner, here are a few low-cost options (I haven't used any of them personally but 2 of them are very good brands - these are affiliate links):

Epson Perfection V19 Color Photo and Document Scanner with Scan-To-Cloud with 4800 x 4800 dpi $51.99

 Canon CanoScan LiDE220 Photo and Document Scanner $77.87

Canon CanoScan LiDE220 Photo and Document Scanner $77.87

Keep in mind you usually trade time for price, so cheaper options will take more of your time to use, whereas more expensive options will scan photos quicker and in batches. For higher end options to rent or buy, check out E-Z Photo. They are partners with the Association of Personal Photo Organizers. Or if you're in Canada,  you can also check out Digital Treasures. They are associates of Professional Organizers in Canada.

My Photo Decluttering Progress

Today I worked through the pile of printed photos that I pulled out of a very large album yesterday. I'm up to my university years photos so I'm getting there :)

Funny story...  Yesterday as I pulled photos out of that album I was thinking about some of the university friends in the pictures and wondering what they were up to now (I've lost touch with most people I went to school with back then... it was 25 years ago after all!). Today I went for a physiotherapy appointment at a clinic I'd never been to before. As I was talking with one of the therapists when I came in, she said she recognized me and immediately remembered that we lived next door to each other in residence in first year. She and her roommate were good friends with my roommate and I and we spent a lot of time together that year. She'd lost touch with everyone in our group too but it was fun to reminisce briefly today. And I told her I was literally looking at pictures of her and others on our floor just last night. What a small world! And what a great memory she had to recognize me after 29 years!

OK back to my decluttering. I decluttered 86 pictures, which was about 47% of the pile. I will likely declutter a few more after I look through the next album and a scrapbook because I think there is some overlap.

In light of seeing my university friend today, I probably kept more university photos than I might otherwise have kept, but I'm OK with that :)

Your Turn!

Today your task is to research photo scanning options in your area. Calculate the amount of time it would take you to do it yourself with your current scanner and compare that with the amount of time it would take you to do it yourself with a high-speed scanner. Calculate the costs of having a scanning service do it for you. Weigh out the costs vs. amount of time you'd spend and decide which option is best for you.  In the meantime, keep decluttering your printed photos so you won't have to scan as many! 

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? Is scanning yourself or using a scanning service a better option for you? What kind of scanner do you have if you're doing it yourself? Which service are you using if you're having someone else do it for you?

Happy decluttering and organizing!

Here are the rest of the posts in this challenge:


  1. I already own a good quality scanner - good enough for me anyway. I spent the better part of a week scanning 80 (x80) reels of slides for our 40th wedding anniversary. It did 16 at a time so didn't take long really. Except I have to go back and rescan 2 or 3 reel because they were covered in dust. It didn't show up too much when I was looking at small pictures but... AND I have to rescan the first 2 reels I did because they were in backwards and yes it makes me crazy. Fortunately I decluttered a lot of slides before I scanned so it is actually less daunting this time.

    1. Great idea scanning slides for your 40th anniversary! Too bad you had to rescan some but thanks for pointing out that we need to check for dust and correct positioning. I'm glad your decluttering saved you time :)


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