3 Questions To Ask Every Time You Print a Photo
Updated: Apr 26
Hello all! I am about to admit something that I have no admitted to anyone besides my mom and my husband. Are you ready? Here we go.
I had this bin. It was in the basement. It was hiding in my storage room behind the Christmas decorations and beyond the gifts for my nieces and nephews next Easter. It was low profile and it had the lid on so I could pretend it was just as neat and tidy as the rest of my storage room. Every few months I would think about this bin and immediately banish it from my mind. I moved on without another thought because I was embarrassed and honestly frightened by it.
What was in this bin you ask?
Okay that was dramatic but really, it's how I felt!
In this bin lay every. single. photo that we had ever printed just waiting for me to have a free Saturday to deal with them. Okay who are we kidding, a free MONTH of Saturdays. Because you guys, I had not dealt with them. And there were YEARS of photos sitting down there. Unloved, unused and hidden! I was letting them sit in a bin just hiding behind items I only used yearly. Why would I let such treasured memories just lay downstairs unloved?
Let me tell you what was in this bin. Photos of my 3 children. Photos of my husband coaching football. Photos of me and my grandfather as a child. Photos of my childhood dog. I needed to be sharing these precious memories and photos with my family and the world. But they were just sitting there in a box!
So I decided to get drastic and make some changes. And today, I am encouraging you to do the same. Because every single time we print a photo (which is happening less and less these days, but in a fit of panic we go and print EVERYTHING we have stored on our computer and what are we supposed to do then?? Amiright? Just me?) we have a HUGE pile of more pictures and no room in our albums and things just end up in the storage room in that bin. And I just kept thinking that if I don't love an item enough to display it, I won't love it any more packed away in my storage room.
So I decided to go on a mission: a mission towards photo freedom!!
And I want you to come with me.
I challenge you today to declutter your photos. Decluttering can seem like a scary word when we're talking about photos and memories. But if we want to enjoy the ones that truly mean something to us, we need to get rid of the ones that do not matter. And we need to have them out so we can enjoy them!
Let's do this! I'm going to give you 3 easy questions to ask yourself as you sort through your photos. Here we go!
1) Would I frame this and put it on my wall?
WEIGHTY QUESTION I know, but let me explain why it’s important. When I was sorting through my pictures, I tried to think about each and every single picture through this lens. I would pull out a picture of my first daughter on my bed with her cute little legs up in the air and her concentrating on getting those toes just about close enough to her mouth to chew on them and I thought to myself "Yes, I would frame this. I love everything about this photo!" And I knew right then and there it elicited the response in me I was searching for - I felt the love I felt for her right at that moment. It was a keeper!!
But then I pulled up the photo of an arch I had seen on a sight seeing trip in Germany with the side of some stranger's face in the frame and thought to myself "Nope, wouldn't frame it" and it became clear that getting rid of this photo would not affect me in the least.
And it got easier! I would pull out 3 photos of my child in quick succession and realize that only one of them was wall worthy and I kept that and got rid of the others. And the group of photos I was left with were ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING to me and my family. Just a gorgeous, curated group of photos of all of the best moments in my life. And I realized I was not missing anything.
So I want you to consider, really consider, with every single photo whether you love it or not. Does it make your heart sing and give you all the feels and would you frame it on your wall? If so, keep it. If not, release the guilt and get rid of it. Because we want items in our life that we love and that bring us joy.
2) What is the best way to store or display this photo?
Instead of just tossing them all in a box like I did, brainstorm some ideas for how to display them or store them in a way that can be enjoyed. After searching for a while for a way to store the select photos I was keeping, I settled on a beautiful photo storage box.
This box allows me to organize my photos by year and month which I found to be the best way for me. Others could use it to store the photos by year and then by event. Whatever way works for you, adopt it and stick with it. This way when you are looking for something it is extremely easy to find.
As I went through all of my photos, I sorted them by year and by month. I sorted them into the photo cases and labeled them as such. What a difference!
Other options for storing and organizing your photos to easily see and display them are:
Make up a photo book for events (shutterfly is great for this! Nope, not affiliated I just like them!!)
Display cherished photos in a photo album and leave them out where people will browse.
Make a gallery wall! Why not enjoy the photos every day that bring you joy.
There are many beautiful ways to display your photos so others can love them. Search Pinterest for your favourite ideas!
3) Would this photo be better digitized?
In the time we are now living in, our photos are more often taken and transferred to our computers than printed. And sometimes we feel guilty for having all of these photos just sitting there on our computer and we do a mass printing where we end up with tons of photos. But sometimes it is better to leave our photos digitized, or to take our printed photos and make them digitized. If you are not saying yes to the first question (Would I frame this and put it on my wall), and you're not sure how you would store it but you're not ready to get rid of it, digitizing your photos may be the best option for you.
There are many ways to organize your digitized photos but here are my top tips:
Use a single storage device for your entire library. If the one you currently use does not have enough memory, consider purchasing one that does.
Organize them in file folders on your device by year and event, or year and month, whatever suits you best.
Back them up in at least 2 different locations so you are not scared of losing them.
Digitizing your photos is a time consuming process but you will reap the rewards of digitizing and organizing for years to come. Commit to monthly maintenance on these digitized photos, or commit to decluttering and organizing your digitized photos every time you download from your phone or camera to the computer. This will keep your work neat and tidy and organized and make it a joy to look through your photos.
These 3 questions can be immensely helpful as you go through and declutter, organize and cherish your photo memories. There is no right number of photos for you to own! Each person will have a specific amount that feels right. And once you start displaying, storing and digitizing these photos in an organized fashion, you will be able to see joy and memories from your past instead of keeping them stored in a box at the back shelf of your storage room. Memories are meant to be shared!