Every family has cherished photographs that represent important moments in their lives. Whether the photos are printed or digital, it can be difficult to keep them organized. You might have the best of intentions when it comes to organizing them – and they might still get out of control.

With that in mind, here are four tips to help you organize and store your photos so that they remain in good condition and you can find them when you need them.

#1: Sort, Distribute, and Discard

The first step to organizing printed photographs is to sort through them. It may help to have some guidelines in mind as you begin:

  • Separate duplicates and set them aside for other family members. Any duplicates that you don’t want should be recycled or thrown away.
  • Get rid of any unflattering photographs as well as blurry images and anything else you don’t want to keep.
  • Distribute duplicates as needed.

This preliminary step will help you as you get into the organization process.

#2: Develop a System of Organization

The next step is to give some thought to how you want to organize your photos. Some groups of photos may go together naturally. For example, wedding photos or your kids’ school photos may best be grouped and stored in the same place.

Depending on what other items you have, you may also want to include things like certificates, awards, and memorabilia. There’s no hard and fast rule here. You can use any system you want. Take your time and sort photos as you go.

#3: Shop for Albums, Boxes, and Cases

Now it’s time to take a trip to your local container or craft store, or go online to order supplies to help you store your photos safely. Here are some options that you may want to consider:

  • Photo albums often come with removable plastic sheets, labels, and materials for storing archival photos. You may want to consider ordering multiple sizes to hold photos that are the standard 3 X 5, as well as 4 X 6 and 5 X 7 photos.
  • Instead of using shoe boxes, consider ordering plastic boxes that are specially designed to hold photographs. You may be able to find boxes that will protect older photographs as well as new ones. Some large photo boxes even come with an assortment of small boxes that fit inside them to help you organize by event or by the subjects of the photographs.
  • Portfolios may be a good idea if you have oversize photos and certificates to protect. Most photo albums are designed for fairly small photos so if you have larger ones you’ll need to get something to store them in.

As you acquire your storage materials, put photos into them. Where possible, label photographs with dates and names.

#4: Store and Print Digital Photos

These days, many of us rely on digital cameras to take pictures. Online galleries and storage makes it easy to organize them, but even digital storage can get out of hand.

Take some time to apply the same organizational methods to your digital photos that you did to your printed photos. Make new albums and files and sort them as you go.

Once your digital images are sorted, you may want to consider having some of them printed. Photo albums, books, and calendars can be printed online on various websites. They make wonderful gifts as well as giving you easy access to your photos when you’re not online.


It’s easy for photographs to get out of hand, but walking through these four tips can help you eliminate duplicates and unwanted photos, organize what’s left, and make it easy to find and share them with family and friends.

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