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4 tips to start organising and storing your photos safely

Coffee on and brewing:

If you have a pile of photos, be it on a dozen memory cards, or printed in a box stuffed somewhere and you long to get them organised, then this blog is for you.

I was delighted to have Suzy Kell of Suzy Kell Decluttering on my Instagram last week (catch the replay here) and we discussed how to overcome the overwhelm of starting, how to organise, store and save photos safely and how to use your photos in photo albums, frame and so many more ways.

Suzy Kell is a decluttering coach from Dublin who uses her background in psychology to help with decluttering and getting rid of stuff in an eco-friendly way. Suzy can be found at @suzykelldecluttering on Instagram and check her website at

Suzy is the person you need in your corner when you have a big decluttering or tidying project and don't where or how to start!

Coffee brewed, lets go:

So today I want to recap the top tips we covered. We went over 4 tips (and many detours) of what you need to know to get started. I will cover them here briefly but for full details I would encourage you to check out our live replay.

4 tips to start your organisation journey:

Tip 1: Focus on the why

Suzy started of the live with looking at our whys! Why it is so hard to get started with these big projects, focusing on the overwhelm of such a big job? She advised us to focus on our why, the reason that is motivating you to even consider starting.

Often with photos, we start projects like this to ensure the photos last for generations and so we can find photos of people we love easily. But your reason can be anything you like. But once you know why it will motivate you to do it.

She also discussed how to tackle big projects, by breaking it down into smaller tasks. One example she gave was to start today with photos you have taken on your phone this week. Delete the bad, label the good ones and put them into folders on your phone.

Tip 2: Cull and label

Once we have moved ourselves to start, how do we actually do that? I talked about various culling methods aka deleting any and all pictures you can. I always advise people to focus on their gut reaction to the photo.

Did it make you smile and connect you to a moment you want to remember?

If not, no matter how technically good it is, it is not worth keeping. Then once you have gone through your photos getting rid of as many as possible, go through them a second time but this time looking at the technical aspects.

Is it flattering for your subject?
Is it well exposed and sharp?

Now if you answer no, don’t automatically think you have to get rid of it. Instead use these questions as a filter to help detemine if you should keep it.

Do I have a better photo that has the same connection and is better composed?

For example, do you have 20 photos of grandma's last birthday and you want to keep them all because it was the last time you were all together. That is perfectly fine, but perhaps you can keep the best 3 or 5 that really encapsulate the day and show grandmas true personality instead.

Remember to also label/tag your images. The more information the better but as a minimum I would recommend the date (either day, month, year or season and year) and names of anyone in the picture. But you can also include location, event reason eg birthday and of course any other relevant details.

A good insight Suzy came with was to think about the 'future you' are trying to find this picture - what would be the reasons you are looking for it and then include that information now in the file or written on the back of the image.

Tip 3: Pick a theme

So Suzy then came up with some great ways to organise all the pictures once you have your curated selection.

She discussed picking a theme or event or concept and organising the photos around that. I loved her idea of doing yearly albums so all photos from that year, including events, days out, funny images you sent your husband etc all get put into an album and printed online.

Of course you could do it for birthdays - have all pictures from birthdays of each person and keep adding to the album every year.

She said the theme is not so important but once you choose one that inspires you, getting the photos into albums becomes much easier and then you have albums where you can enjoy the memories the photos represent.

We recommended iPhoto (Suzy), Photobox (Suzy) or Snapfish (My recommendation) for printing online photo albums. I used Snapfish for my wedding labrum and absolutely was thrilled with the product. These sites are also nice because you can create duplicates for family, do them up as gifts or create products like mugs, coasters or posters.

Tip 4: Store safely

So once you have done all of the above work, you want to ensure your originals are stored safely.

As a minimum I would always suggest 2 forms of storage preferable different forms of storage. The more the merrier of course, but investing in a hard and soft method is recommended.

Hard means saved to something you can touch such as a memory card, or ideally a harddrive while soft means something you can’t touch, often called the cloud.

Often hard storage ends being a hard drive but not all harddrives are created equal and you want to be sure to invest in a SSD drive not a HDD drive. The main difference is how they are made - HDD have moving parts and this results in a higher rate of failure when accessing your images.

Originally HDDs were a good option due to their larger memory sizes and cheaper price tag but these days SSD have just as large memory capacity and are very cost effective now and infinitely more reliable. So please ensure you are buying an SSD for your hard memory storage.

For cloud based storage there are many options to consider depending on your needs.

I created a pdf download available here which goes through the 6 areas you want to look at when deciding on a cloud storage solution.

But please remember it doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. Google photos is a free option that is more than sufficient for a lot of people’s needs. You are probably already using it to some capacity on your phone and it offers many great features.

Final Sips of coffee:

So that is a lot of information and this is not a one afternoon kinda project but hopefully with these tips and advice from us, you can get started on sorting through your images and creating albums that allow you to enjoy your memories with ease.

If you want to hear the full conversation head here to listen to it. And don't forget to grab your free PDF here to help you choose your cloud based storage and all your storage options!

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