3 Steps to Declutter Digital Images – Step Two (part two)

In the previous post of this series, we sorted our files into general folders. If you remember, it was likened to the act of unpacking a moving truck. We put the boxes (pictures) into the room they most likely fit into (general folders). In this second part of the sorting process, we’re ready to unpack.


Step Two – Part Two: In-depth Sorting


So this is where it gets a bit tricky in our process. Just like moving into your own home, you’ll want to make this personal.

First, look into photo software options. There are a lot of programs out there so you can do a simple search online for photo organization and explore. A couple of programs that I’ve been impressed with are Mylio and Pictomio. Both are free downloadable software programs, but Mylio needs a monthly subscription to enable all of its features (which are pretty awesome). If you’re simply looking for a way to search for pictures on your computer both of these platforms will work. You can view, sort, filter, tag, and rate your photos and videos for quick and easy organization.  If you decide that one of these programs is the way to go for you, then you can go to Step Three.

In my experience, most professionals use Lightroom, I personally use Adobe Bridge.  Both of these are the more expensive options and are not really needed for the average household.

Another option that you can use to forgo this step is to hire a professional photo organizer. That’s right. They exist and there’s probably one near you. The Association of Personal Photo Organizers educates and trains their personnel  in digital organization. What a concept! Check out their site to learn more.

The whole point is to find a system that works for you. The software programs and on-line storage solutions will give you some freedom from the in-depth sorting process, but the files will still be jumbled on your computer. The free apps like, Google Photos,  will help you organize the photos that you DOWNLOAD to it, but not everything. By sorting your photos on your computer with a logical (to you) system will help eliminate duplicates, give you a consistent way to upload future pictures, and help you to quickly and efficiently FIND photos that have been stored. If you’d like to read more about creating a system, this post by How To Geek really geeks it out for you.

Alright, now we get to the in-depth sorting process. I want you to think of an office/craft room in a house.  It’s the same room that has two different purposes. To unpack those boxes, you’ll need to create a part of the room for office supplies and a different part to put the craft supplies. This is what we’re going to do with our general folders. Split them up into different sections. For example, in your Holiday folder, you can split the room into specific Holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc)  or years, or even both. For your family folder, maybe you want to catalog the family as a whole but separate each child’s specific life event (Leo’s piano recital 2012, Sarah’s 1 year portraits, etc.).

What you DON’T want to do is get too in depth.  Clicking through 6-7 folders to find a single picture is a waste of time and it will get too confusing. An example would be if you make a folder for each of your children, what happens when two children are in the same picture? Where do you store it? In your favorite child’s folder or the other one. That was a joke. But you get my point, right? Let me break it down.

  1. Open one general folder.
  2. Create a subfolder that fits your sorting system.
  3. Open both folders side by side.
subfolder Studio Thirty-One Thirty
4.Copy and paste the pictures from the general folder to the subfolder.
5.Delete the originals from the general folder.
6.Repeat this process until all files have been moved.


We’re still not going to worry about duplicates or file names at this point. That will be for next week.

Goal for this week:

Create subfolders within your general folders AND/OR download a software program to organize all the photos in your general folders.

We’ll continue next time with Step Three: Culling.