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Did you know that the average American takes over 20 photos a day (According to Google on Oct. 13, 2020)? That adds up to over 7,000 photos a year and doesn't even include special holidays, birthdays or other events that increase that daily number. So, what happens to all of those photos? I know I certainly am not printing that many to put in frames or photo albums. It can quite frankly, become a little overwhelming. So, read on for some tips on how to organize your photos.

The first problem many people face is compiling all of their photos in one place. We all have cell phones that act as our primary camera now and many of us still use a regular camera for those special events. Not to mention, your other family members that also take pictures and share with you. I suggest that you set aside a few minutes every month or even every week to put all of your photos into a central location (more on this in a future blog). This central location can be an on-line photo print shop like Shutterfly or Snapfish or on your personal computer or hard drive.

Once you decide where to store these photos, its important to establish a file structure so you can find the photos you are looking for. I find it easiest to first start by creating folders by year and then month. So for example, I have a folder labeled "2020" and then a subfolder labeled for each month (e.g. 01 January, 02 February, etc.). Note: File folders are often sorted alpha-numerically, so this makes sure they appear in the chronological order of a calendar. Within each month, I try to group photos into folders of special events that took place within that month. For example, within the March folder, I may have one labeled "Kali's birthday" and another one labeled "Spring Break". This way, I can search my computer to locate the pictures by event or by date. You will have to determine if there is a better way to organize your photos to fit your needs. Try to think about how you will search for photos and what information will be the easiest to locate.

Now, the most challenging and most time-consuming part is going through the photos and deleting the ones you don't want/need. Trust me, I know how hard this is! I have been an avid scrapbooker for years and that hobby has enabled my photo hoarding! I like to tell a story with my scrapbooking, so I tend to keep all kinds of photos. But what I have learned is that I need to be ruthless. If I am going to keep a photo, I need to ask myself: is it meaningful, am I using it for something and do I like it? If not, I have been forcing myself to get rid of it. Otherwise, it is just consuming hard drive space and makes it impossible for me to locate the file that I am looking for.

Looking back on all of the years' worth of photos may be overwhelming, but I encourage you to take it one step at a time. One month or even one week at a time. Just like losing weight, it doesn't happen over night! It takes time and consistency.

Good luck on finding what works well for you!