Day 20: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Day 20: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 20: 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 talking about backing up your digital photo collection.

Today's Photo Decluttering Tip - Back Up Your Digital Photos Properly

Now that you've done all this work decluttering your photos and organizing them, you want to protect your precious memories from technical malfunctions. If you think about how often technology doesn't work the way it should, our digital photos are actually more at risk than our printed ones.

The key to protecting your pictures is to back up your collection regularly and thoroughly.

What does "regularly" mean? I'd suggest you set reminders on your phone to back up at least once a month. More often if you take a lot of pictures. Some online backup services can synchronize immediately. Think about how far back you'd be able to recover photos if you lost your phone, your hard drive crashed or a fire destroyed both your computer and your external hard drive. Not trying to scare you, just wanting to ensure you don't lose those memories :)

What does "thoroughly" mean? The photo experts at APPO (The Association of Personal Photo Organizers) recommend the 3 - 2 - 1 backup process. That means you have 3 copies of your photos, on 2 different mediums, with at least one backup being off-site.

What that looks like will be different for everyone, but here are a few options:

  • 1 set of photos on your computer, 1 set on an external hard drive, and 1 set backed up online
  • 1 set of photos on your laptop, 1 set on an external hard drive, and 1 set on another external hard drive stored at someone else's house (far enough away that a natural disaster wouldn't affect both your home and theirs)
  • 1 set of photos on your computer, 1 set on your laptop, and 1 set on an external hard drive in a safety deposit box (in that case, maybe the external hard drive isn't updated as frequently but all photos are kept on your phone until it has been updated)
  • 1 set of photos on your laptop, 1 set on an external hard drive, and 1 set on a photobook site where you've made photobooks out of your photos (or at least your very best photos).

Each of these examples allows you to restore your photos from one medium to another one if one of them is destroyed or isn't working. And with one copy being away from your home, your memories are not at risk if something happens to both copies in your home. 

Here's one option for a physical backup: Picture Keeper {affiliate links}. It backs up all your photos the first time you plug it in and then only backs up new pictures when you plug it in after that. Right now they have a great deal:

HALLOWEEN EXCLUSIVE OFFER: 50% off site wide! Use code "HALOWEEN50". Sale ends Oct. 31, 2017.

I currently only have photos on my laptop and an external hard drive (similar to the one linked but mine has a lot less storage space... they have really increase storage for about the same price over the years!). I was worried that if I scan my printed photos I would need to buy a bigger hard drive, but once I declutter my digital photos I should still be able to contain it all on my existing hard drive. However... I need a 3rd option off-site in case something happens to both my laptop and my external hard drive. 

Options for Online Backups

There are lots of online backup options. You can use online storage sites like DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, Box, or Evernote. Here's a great review of 10 different options. Some are free and some charge based on the size of your collection. Look for options that are secure and private.

Once I have my collection decluttered, scanned, and organized, I plan to back my photos up with Google Photos. There is a 15 GB limit (which I'm well over!) but if you reduce the quality of your photos just slightly then it is unlimited storage for free. Here's more information about Google Photos

It's entirely up to you how often you back up your photos and how thoroughly you do it. But these recommendations from APPO make sense and seem to give the most protection possible without having to do a lot of extra work to keep your pictures safe (because let's face it... if it takes too long or is too complicated, we're not likely to keep it up, and then our photos would be at risk). 

My Photo Decluttering Progress

I went back through one pile of photos I kept a few days ago and compared them with a University yearbook and a scrapbook. I found 8 photos that were duplicates or similar so I decluttered those. I'd like to get back to my digital pictures soon, but I still have 1 large album and 1 large scrapbook that I want to go through.

Your Turn!

Today your task is to think about how you are currently backing up your digital photos and whether it is regular and thorough enough. If it's not, research options to protect your photos and decide which ones will be best for you to implement.

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? How do you back up your photos? What do you think of the 3 - 2 - 1 backup guideline?

Happy decluttering and organizing!

Here are the rest of the posts in this challenge: