Hands up if the thought of organising your family photos has simply got out of hand and now seems WAY too overwhelming to even bother?

That's certainly the way it has been in our household for years and I promised myself that I'd get to doing something about it as soon as my boys were both in school and I'd have a bit more time to focus on it. I feel I've found a good system now and I wanted to share it with you.

1. Firstly... get everything in one place!

You gotta get it together! Get everything off your phone, your husband's phone, your camera, every device you own.... and stick them in a folder on your desktop.

Top tip... Do not name that folder SORT; you will never sort it! I've tried and had 7 'sort' folders, all unsorted, saved all over the place hahahaha.

Just kidding, it doesn't really matter what you call it... Just so long as you maintain the will power to actually follow through on getting through it!

2. Sort everything into folders

Right, you now have your folder filled with an overwhelmingly monumental amount of images. Make sure your folder view is on "details" and sort by date, that way your photos are all sorted from oldest to newest and you can easily see the date they were taken.

Now, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! You have to make things less overwhelming by setting yourself small sorting goals.

Create yearly folders (2017, 2018, 2019 etc) and highlight all the photos from each year and cut and paste them into their respective yearly folders. This should be pretty quick and easy.

The next step in the sorting process would be to go into each yearly folder and create individual month folders. Make sure you add a number to the front to keep things the months in order ad not alphabetical. So for instance, 01. January, 02. February, 03. March etc.

Now, once again, ensuring that you are in the "details" view to ensure you can see the dates easily, highlight all images in each month and cut and paste them into their respective monthly folder.

Yearly folders within the main folder

Monthly folders within the annual folders

3. It's time to cull!

I don't know about you, but with it being so flippin' easy to take phone photos today, I sometimes find I can be a bit "shutter happy". I tend to take multiple photos of the same thing, pick one to send to the grandparents and then just go about my day. I don't need all those images of the same thing and if you find the same, now is the time to pick your favourites and delete the rest. Be ruthless.

Get rid of all those blurry photos, toss the lunch photos you took for insta (unless that's your thing). Hit delete on those memes you saved and the screenshots you only needed for the particular moment you took them.

4. One bite at a time!

There's that elephant analogy again! Find small blocks of time to work through this process. Pick a single folder to work on at a time, or if you have a bigger block of time, set a goal to finish a bigger chunk. Make a note of where you're up to so when you need to pick up again, it's easy just to jump right back into it.

5. Back-up, Back-up, Back-up!

If you're not already doing this... girl, you are going to regret it. It's all fun and games until it happens to you.

Photos are way too precious, treat them as such! Hard drives fail and they are not indestructible! The golden number for back-up locations is 3!

  1. Local hard drive,
  2. External drive or server
  3. In the cloud!

There are a myriad of cloud storage options, but I can only speak for the one we use which is Google Photos. The reason we chose this platform is simple. Between hubby and I, we have a wide range of devices using a mix of operating systems like Android, Linux and Apple iOS. We had to use a system that was versatile and not locked to any one operating system so that we could both access and share photos at any given time and the transition was seamless.

The added bonus of Google Photos is that their free plan has unlimited storage for High-Resolution images. The quality of which is perfectly adequate for 99% of your phone photos. Google Photos automatically sorts your photos in date order, so you don't have to do it all again.

6. Do yourself a favour and make it a habit!

You will have now probably spent hours and hours of your life sorting through the last decade worth of photos. I bet you don't feel like doing that again in a hurry? Nah, I didn't think so!

Pop a reminder in your calendar to do this at the end of every month. Or if you know you're not going to stick to that, set one every 6 months or even at the end of every year. But remember that the best intentions are fraught with disappointment and I know that in amongst the madness of the Christmas season, I am certainly not going to be getting any of this done and I will end up with the same decades worth of photo sorting in a heartbeat. So pick your timing wisely! Set your goals for success.

smiling Photographer holding pixel phone working on macbook pro