Spring clean your photo library

Whether you are getting organized for a Week in the Life project or gingerly snapping springtime photos, the warmer weather has likely sent you on a declutter bender. The transitional time has us digging out of winter’s tumbleweeds while also setting up new systems to make it through the busy spring and summer.

Some targeted attention to your photo library during this time will set you up for less anxiety in your memory keeping. Before we dig into a few strategies, here’s my rationale for why spring cleaning will help your scrapping.

I read a wonderful post last month at Sorta Crunchy, talking about one simple action that transformed the writer’s productivity. This post gave me a huge boost, because I identified the one thing that keeps my scrapping on track.

When I stay caught up with my photo processing, I feel in control of my memory keeping life. When I know where my photos are, I know that I can jump right into a layout when a great new kit catches my eye. When I have a system that’s working for me, I’m prepared (and excited) to tackle new projects.

Three Ways to Tidy Up your Photo Library

1. Revisit labeling – It’s so much easier to find what you’re looking for if there is a consistent strategy for naming and labeling files and folders. Take a fresh look at your system and see if its working for you. Balance having a folder structure that makes sense with limiting unnecessary creation of folders (where a file name could serve the same function).

2. Delete liberally – I talk about this frequently, but its sometimes easier to part with photos after time has passed. For every new set that you import from the camera, spend a few minutes culling old photos for images that are duplicative, just not so good or not needed (like web-sized versions). While you’re at it, flag the very best for scrapping and know that’s one more set ready to go!

3. Relocation – We’re always planning how to back up our photos, but at some point there’s really no reason to keep a version on your harddrive. Choose simplicity and less clutter by transferring a copy of your images to DVD and keeping your primary archive on a site like Flickr. Free up that precious space for new photos and of course, lots of new scrapping goodies.

Now is the perfect time to get your photo archive up-to-date. With National Scrapbooking Day (NSD) on the horizon, you’ll want to be squared away for the biggest shopping day of the year.

Can you think of another easy way to “spring clean” your photo library?

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Stan

    Love the idea of letting a little time go by before editing and deleting – those “really important” pictures don’t seem so important anymore with a little time….

  2. linda

    What a timely post…I’ve been trying to go through all my digital files…years and years…it is definitely intimidating! I find that having a structure to put copies of photos in for scrapbooking use really hopes, categories or story topics, however you like to scrapbook. It’s hard work though!

  3. RKSP

    My system is very organized, and I stay on top of my photos and delete photos immediately. Great idea about going back to old photos though! One issue I struggle with it what to do with RAW photos once I have processed them. So far I’ve been afraid to delete them because I have had to go back and reprocess a few in the past (my lightroom skills are pretty minimal at this point). But the raw files take up a huge amount of space, and I’d love to delete them. But these photos are primarily of my newborn, and these certainly qualify as important to me. Maybe as the kids get older, I”ll get bolder about deleted the raw files….

  4. Christine

    Some great thoughts/advice on organizing photos! One thing I would caution against is burning CD/DVD of your photos had ONLY having that copy in existence. The images are burned to the CD/DVD on a waxy substance that degrades over time. I’ve had some DVDs degrade and go unreadable in just 4-5 years. So I would not use that as permanent storage.

    • Jennifer

      I totally agree. I consider Flickr to be the most permanent – since I’m paying them to keep my files (and regular backups) forever. Internal and external harddrives, as well as CD/DVDs, all fail.

      • Mindy

        I may sound lame, but how does Flickr as a backup work? Also – does anyone have a particular brand of DVD that they know is more reliable and safe than others? Thanks!

        • Jennifer

          For $25 a year, Flickr gives you unlimited storage of full resolution image files. Even if your plan lapses, they will keep your photos forever.

          While nothing is 100% foolproof, I consider my Flickr photo archive the safest location of my full-sized images. My main working archive (RAW files and exported JPEGs) is on one EHD, with a mirror on a second.

  5. Elisabeth Bucci

    Amen to staying on top of your photo organization “Revisit labelling”. I discovered long ago that the process of organizing my photos is key to getting me inspired to tell my story.
    I am a BIG FAN of tagging. Once you make tagging photos part of your workflow, you will never go back to folders, which are so restrictive as they are actually copying the paper way of doing things. I can find any picture taken anytime because of my tagging system. Plus, I can put multiple tags on the same picture, and use it to tell a variety of different stories. As a result, it gets me out of my chronological paradigm.
    I could go on and on but I’ll stop now.

    • Brenda

      I would love to see how you tag your photos! Sounds great – I still use folders, but I am looking for a new system!

    • TerriW

      Please share your tagging system!!

  6. Bev

    I would like to see some tips/articles/tutorials on tagging photos…also categories lists. Thanks in advance



  1. Daily Posts for 16th & 17th April 2010 - Vicarious Thoughts - [...] finally, this blogpost about Spring Cleaning your Photo Library from Simple Scrapper has three easy tips for getting digital…
  2. Daily Posts for 16th & 17th April 2010 - Vicarious Thoughts - […] finally, this blogpost about Spring Cleaning your Photo Library from Simple Scrapper has three easy tips for getting digital…

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