How to Organize Digital Photos
Clutter makes me nervous. Unorganized bedrooms, messy garages, jam-packed closets, and over-stuffed pantries make me so anxious. I have found that there is nothing quite so relieving as de-cluttering and organizing a chaotic space.
So, when presented with an out-of-order room, I can purge and clean and organize with an unmatched fervor. But for a long time, there was always a little nagging voice in the back of my mind, saying, ‘Sooooo, when are you going to organize those photos?’ For years I’d been ignoring this insanely annoying voice—constantly reminding me (and my anxiety) that my digital clutter was massive.
I had hundreds, if not thousands, of vacations, parties, holidays, and celebrations jammed onto USB drives, CDs, external disks, old laptops, and scattered across the cloud in various free cloud storage accounts. But guess what, guys, I did it. I can now breathe easily knowing that all my photos are organized, backed-up, and easy to access. Read on to learn the four simple steps I took to organize my digital images.
Bring everything to a central location.
So, the first thing I did was designate a central hub to bring all my photos together. I found that using an external drive with at least two terabytes of storage space did the trick. First, I transferred the pictures from my hard drives (external drives, USB devices, and CDs) onto the ‘main hub.’ Then, I downloaded all the images across my cloud accounts onto the drive as well. Keep in mind; this process takes a long time—so find something else to do while your files are downloading.
Organize photos according to a prescribed system.
Once I’d gotten everything into one digital space, I began organizing. I decided to separate my photos into bulk themes first. For instance, I divided my work-related images from my family photos. Then within each bulk, I organized the photos chronologically— by year, then subdivided into months, and labeled by events. Since most photos already included the date in the metadata, it was easy to highlight and drop batches of pictures into the year/month folder. Some photos didn’t have dates in their metadata; for those, I put them in a ‘miscellaneous’ folder and sorted them manually.
While organizing the photos, I deleted some unnecessary images, including several hundred of my dog, Max, and cat Sadie, sleeping. Once I’d finished sorting, though, I went back into the photos and purged anything that wasn’t essential. Duplicates, blurry shots, and ex-boyfriends all went into the digital trash.
Back, back, back it up!
The night after the purge, I had a horrible nightmare where I dreamed that my beautifully organized external hub crashed and refused to work anymore. Then, the dream switched to a scene where the dog dragged it off to use as a chew toy. My precious drive grew wings in the last scene and flew away into the milk-white clouds over the horizon. I woke up in a cold sweat. Right then and there, I purchased cloud storage for backing up my photos. Most good storage plans aren’t costly, so I had no qualms. What’re a few dollars for peace of mind?
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