When it comes to tangible things, I am by no means a hoarder. I cleanse my closet often, donating everything that no longer does it for me; I get rid of tickets, wristbands, and everything else that many people like to keep to remind them of fun times. In my mind, I have the memories of these objects and events, and that’s all I really need! But when it comes to digital photos, I just can’t seem to let go. I’ve only really started taking photos within the past two years (which is insane for me to think about), but since then I have acquired thousands upon thousands upon thousands.
I love taking photos. I love capturing moments of beauty and fun in everyday life. I love that a photo allows me to keep these moments with me forever. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The problem with being a photo hoarder, though, is that it clogs my mind. All of these photos I’ve taken are saved on different memory cards and hard drives and computers… and it’s not that I have a few photos from different excursions I’ve been on. I have a million photos from every minute of every excursion. It’s like I never want to miss a photo opp – and then when I’m onto something, I shoot 139487 photos of it to try to get the perfect shot – and then I never want to delete any of those shots just in case I just so happen to need one of them one day.
And for what? Sometimes I want to say to myself, “You just took 87 pictures of an apple, Brigette. Save one, if you absolutely must. But when will ever be a time in your life when you need all 87 photos of that apple?” Actually, sometimes I do say things like that to myself, and my answer back to myself is usually, “I don’t know. I just might need them one day!”
(Above: 21 photos of the same Costa Rican sunset on my external hard drive.)
I probably sound like I’m insane right now, but my hope is that I’m not the only one out there. My head spins when I think about the disorganization of all of the digital photos I own. It’s an absolute mess, and I feel like I need to go on a photo-purging spree just to bring some clarity to my mind.
So, how do we fix this issue? Something needs to be done. I’ve come up with a little plan, and it’s definitely going to take some time, but I’m going to do it. The plan has 3 steps.
Step 1: Cleanse
I am going to go through every single device that houses my photos: cell phone, laptop, desktop, memory cards, and external hard drives. I have a 3 TB external hard drive, and this is where all of my photos will go. I am going to make general folders, and then more specific folders within them. My general folders will probably be something like nature/people/events/trips, or something along those lines, and then specific excursions will go within each one. After making these folders, I’ll go through each of my photos and delete photos that are not necessary. If I have 27 photos of the same thing, I’ll keep 1-3. That’s reasonable. This cleanse is going to take a long time, but it has to be done. I will do it!
Step 2: Print
This is the fun part! While I’m cleansing, I will also make a folder with my favorite photos. I’ll get these printed at a photo print place, and then they’ll be tangible! I know this means I’ll now have more photos than I did before, since they’ll now be printed out, but tangible photos are lovely to me. They don’t hurt my mind like my mess of digital photos does. There are also some really cool services that’ll print your Instagram photos for you, like Printstagram!
Step 3: Maintain
Once I’m organized, it’ll be easy to maintain this system! Every time I take photos, I’ll keep only the ones I need, and immediately transfer them to their necessary folder. Easy! Done!
Who’s with me? Will you do a digital photo cleanse? If you have any other ideas to help out photo hoarders like myself, leave a comment! I may have already devised a plan, but I need all the help I can get!
More inspiration from BLDG 25.