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Monthly Photo Clean-Up Habit

Every 1st of the month I post a reminder on social media for everyone to take some time to clean-up their photos from the past month. It's only 30ish days of photos so it really shouldn't take you that long and it's much better to break it down into a month at a time, instead of trying to do a full year, which is a bigger time commitment. I've broken it down into some steps for you to work through and there is a checklist at the end you are welcome to download to mark the steps as you go. This idea is good for anyone who takes photos, but this list is ESPECIALLY important if you are the person in charge of keeping track of your family pictures for future enjoyment. This is a way to help you keep your photo collection in control and organized so you always know where all your photos are located and nothing slips through the cracks. I cannot tell you the number of people I work with who sometimes are trying to track down photos from an event 5 years ago and the link doesn't work. Doing any of the steps will be better than nothing but I encourage you to try to finish the steps each month. Your future self will thank you and it will save you a lot of headaches!


These days, we take the majority of our photos with our phones. I personally take photos of things I see at the store, signs of things I need to remember to do, something I see online I want to buy, something funny I want to share with a know what I mean. It's amazing how many "pictures" I find I take over the course of the month that don't belong in my family archive of photos at all! This weekend I took pictures of some garbage cans. Those CERTAINLY don't need to live on forever in my photo collection. They served their purpose and now they can be deleted. This is why it's really important to edit the photos on our phone cameras. If I've taken any photos in burst mode, I pick the best one from the bunch. I delete screenshots I don't need. I keep the best of the best ONLY. And you should, too!


If you don't use any other cameras, you can skip this step! I still use a big DSLR camera sometimes which means I need to get those photos from my camera to my computer (which is my photo hub). I will usually delete through those photos as well and save only the ones that tell my family's story. If you are using Apple Photos as your hub, you need to get your camera pictures imported into that program. Sometimes people use small point and shoot cameras or go-pro cameras so don't forget to think of those as places, as well.


I often have photos to gather from people who were taking pics on the sidelines of a soccer game. Sometimes people share a Shutterfly gallery or a google photos link of photos from an event. Maybe my husband took some photos when he was out with the kids and I would like to keep those with our other family photos. Now is the time to get any photos people have emailed, texted or stuck in an online gallery. If you have to track photos down, it's best to do it sooner than later, as people often delete things once they think you have it. For Apple users, it's great to create a shared album or have people Airdrop you the pics that need to be saved.


As you're going through your photos, make sure to mark/star or rate your favorites so you can easily find your best photos later with not a lot of work. At the end of the year, it's easy to pull together an album of all your favorites from January through December to use those for a photo book, a calendar or something else. Take the time to mark your favorites monthly and you'll be so happy later on.


I'm a BIG believer in having your photos in 3 places....For me, personally, that is one copy in Apple Photos, one copy on my computer and one copy in the Amazon Photos Cloud. My personal system is that I take photos with my iPhone. Once I have gone through and deleted the extra images, I go into the Amazon Photos App and turn on "auto-sync." I wait for my photos to upload to the Amazon Cloud. Once they have all uploaded, I am then able to go into Amazon and download my photos directly to my computer. The nice part about using Amazon is that they are all renamed with the date taken as their filename so it saves me from having to go back and edit filenames.

This is my personal method but there are lots of ways to do this and depending on your set-up (Apple, PC, clouds storage you like, etc) you can find the best one for you. Whatever you use, make sure you have your photos backed up!

If you want to keep a checklist handy, feel free to download this monthly photo clean-up checklist.

Monthly Photo Edit
Download PDF • 81KB

Happy Photo Organizing!

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Blue Pencil is based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Locally servicing Fairfield and Westchester Counties. Remote consultation available.

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