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Photo Overload: What to Do with All Your Old Pictures?

Old Photographs

Do you have thousands of pre-digital photographs? Do you get overwhelmed with what to do with them? Do you know where to start? I went through these questions when I started decluttering my own home. I had lugged around 10 photo albums across 4 provinces and 7 homes without even looking at the pictures. Below is my method of ridding myself of this physical clutter that barely got touched in over 15 years!

Step One – Collect ALL Photographs

Photographs are items that exist in every room of most homes – whether in frames or shoved in drawers. The first step is collecting all images from around the house, if there are pictures in frames that you do not want displayed be sure to add these to the pile. Any photographs in albums can be removed and labeled in Ziploc bags. Create separation by years, location and/or events. This will help you during the discarding phase.

Consider this step as the legwork and the preparation for culling, do it quickly and with purpose to get it done in one sitting.

Step Two – Discard Round One

Now the culling begins! Start by quickly going through the images in their groupings and removing the unnecessary ones. This is different for everyone – some people love images of scenery, while others only want photos where family members are the focus. Consider which images bring you joy, and which can be immediately discarded (e.g. anything blurry).

This step can be riddled with emotional guilt. Try to say “thank you” to the memories and let (some of) them go.

Step Three – WAIT

Box up the photos you’ve decided to keep for a few weeks or a few months. This time lapse gives your emotional culling muscle a rest and lets you appreciate what you have done.

Step Four – Discard Round Two

This second round of culling is where you will find that you are more cutthroat about the process. You have honed in on those joyful photographs and can quickly decide which ones you want.

Step Five – Hire Professionals

Although a scanner will cost you less then a professional, a professional will scan, rotate, crop and label all your images and return them to you on a space-saving USB drive. This step is great to outsource because it can be time consuming and tedious. Remember you will have already discarded a lot of images to decrease the cost and only have to deal with images that truly mean something to you.

Sempix Photo Services is a great example of a Vancouver-based company that will come to your home to pick up your paper photos and deliver the scanned images. (Even better, you can mention this blog to get 5% off your total photo scanning services!)

Step Six – Discard Round Three

Once your images are returned, save them on your hard drive and/or cloud and store the simple USB. Share them digitally with friends and family as you wish.

As for the physical images, do one more pass through the photos and keep only those that are extra special to you.

This process will help you get closer to ClutterLess Living. Contact me at to discuss how I can help you go through your photographs.

About the Author: Randeep St. Jacques is a Certified KonMari Consultant on the North Shore and a member of the Professional Organizers of Canada. She is passionate about organizing for clients that are looking to reduce their clutter and organize their lives.


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