Now that we’re in the digital age, people are becoming overwhelmed with digital clutter. Digital clutter is everything that is stored in digital form, e.g. electronic files, scanned documents, downloaded music, various software programs, and especially photographs. Photographs tend to be one of the most disorganized. This is mainly due to the fact that so many people carry around smart phones with built-in cameras, leading to digital photo clutter on their phones or computers.
In the past, if we wanted to see and enjoy our photos, we had no choice but to print them. Today, we can keep our photos indefinitely in digital format and still enjoy them in easy to use slideshows. However, in order to get the most out of our past memories, we still need to have some system of organization so that we can find what we need when we need it.
With that said, it is a little easier to organize digital photos. You just have to make the time to do so, and also have a system, just like you would when organizing your physical stuff.
Here are 7 tips for organizing your digital photos:
1. Schedule some time each week to work on your digital organizing project. If you don’t schedule the time, you probably won’t get to it.
2. To make things easier, before uploading to your computer, it’s best if you delete any duplicates and poor shots. If this sounds like too much work, then skip this step.
3. Once all photos have been uploaded, if you didn’t follow step no.2, this would be the time to delete all duplicates. Otherwise, go through a second time and delete any that are blurred, or that you simply don’t like.
4. Take the time to rename each photo to something that makes sense and is easily searchable. It is a good idea to include the name of the people, or occasion, since that’s generally what we think of when searching for photographs.
5. Create digital folders on your computer, by year, person or occasion and move each photo to the appropriate folder. Pick an organizational system that works for you.
6. If you already have a lot of software programs on your computer taking up prime hard drive space, you may want to consider storing your photos online, using an cloud storage service like Picasa, Photobucket, or other similar photo storage service. These services also allow you to easily edit your photos and share with family and friends.
7. Even if you store your photos online, it is still a good idea to have a back-up on a portable hard drive or on CDs. Be sure to select a portable hard drive or CD that is suitable for storing photographs. Both are readily available in local Baltimore area office supply stores, like Staples or Office Depot.
Finally, if you are also scanning printed photos, follow the same system for organizing them. Getting organized, whether it’s physical or digital organization, will make your life easier.
If this is too big of a job for you, get professional help. The Baltimore chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers has members who organize both physical and digital clutter! Visit NAPO Baltimore to find an organizer.
Baltimore Organized Families writer, Jacquie Ross, has been writing for The Examiner since 2009. Please check out her other articles related to de-cluttering, organization and time management. Jacquie, a professional organizer, virtual organizer and certified life coach, also shares organizing tips in her Timely Tips e-newsletter. Subscribers are eligible to receive a free email declutter tips e-course when they sign up for her newsletter.