Mini Mission Monday ~ My latest decluttering

Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It takes the guess work out of decluttering and makes it easy and “fun” for you to achieve some quick decluttering.

Yes I am still finding things to declutter, usually odd bits here and there, but then when did I ever declutter any other way. Perhaps my examples of clutter clearing might inspire you to let go of something similar. So this week’s mini missions will reflect what I have been getting rid of over the last week or two.

Monday – We have slowly been getting rid of old photo prints.  Photos that aren’t so good, duplicates, ones that don’t lend any insight to the history of our lives ~ such as zoo animals ~ and excess shots from the same event. As a result and with a little shuffling I have been about to empty and throw away two old photo albums.

Your Mission: If you have any old photos like I mentioned above, perhaps it is time to do a little culling of photos and condensing them into fewer albums.

Tuesday – I have also been doing a little bit of paper decluttering. I went through a couple of files that belong to our son. Old school stuff and health records. With his help we condensed down the old school papers to just what he felt it necessary to keep and let go of the rest. Then I went through the paperwork file from his accident claims and decluttered what I felt wasn’t important to his medical history or for future reference.

Your Mission: This week declutter paperwork that is no longer relevant to your current circumstances ~ old tax papers, irrelevant manuals and warranties, settled insurance claims…

Wednesday – We also have a little eWaste set aside to be dropped off at the appropriate site. Our old DVD player bit the dust and has been wasting space in the entertainment unit for a few months.

Your Mission: Do you have any electronic equipment that no longer works or you just don’t use anymore. Perhaps it is time to sell it off or dispose of it appropriately.

Thursday – There has been a cookie jar that belonged to my son sitting on the top of my kitchen cupboards for years. When he left I asked if he wanted it and the answer was no. Last week I asked his sister if she wanted it and I got the same response. So this week it is off to the thrift store.

Your Mission: Do you have any things hanging around your home that your kids no longer want. Seek out one or two and send them on their way.

Friday – Last week I was determined to do a little more reshuffling in my craft area. As a result I decided to part with some items that hadn’t been used in quite a long while, or at all in the case of some. I figured if I haven’t found a use for them yet then I probably never will.

Your Mission: Do you have craft or hobby items that you haven’t used in a long time. Perhaps they just don’t appeal to you anymore so let them go.

Saturday – This mission isn’t so much about items in particular but about being determined to reduce the contents of a certain area in order to bring everything of a certain category into the same space. In my case I was determined to get rid of enough items from my craft area in order to bring my ten or so craft books out of the linen closet and into the craft storage furniture.

Your Mission: If you have certain items that belong together but are scattered do to overabundance, identify this category of items and begin to reduce them so they can all be stored in the same space.

Sunday - Sunday is reserved for contemplating one particular item, of your choice that is proving difficult for you to declutter. Whether that be for sentimental reasons, practical reasons, because the task is laborious or simply unpleasant, or because the items removal requires the cooperation of another person. That last category may mean that the item belongs to someone else who has to give their approval, it could also mean there is a joint decision to be made or it could mean that the task of removing it requires assistance from someone else. There is no need to act on this contemplation immediately, it is more about formulating a plan to act upon or simply making a decision one way or another.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Eco Tip for the Day

Resist the urge to replace perfectly good items just because you would like something new. Wear out or use up the old ones first.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Hi Colleen! I am happy to say my husband is in full decluttering mood! Today I went through his sock drawer (old one of the big wardrobe which was filled) and he let go of approximately 20 pairs of old socks. As they are still good for use, just excess to his needs, I am donating them. And he has been open up to keeping just what he uses. I am doing the happy dance! 😀
    As for this weeks mini missions I am going through my stuff to declutter some more. I have a box in my garage that contains GKW (God knows what!!!) and I am going through it this week. Lots to do!

    • Andreia (sorry I don’t have the option of a ‘ over the e) – wow, that is a break thru! Your good example has rubbed off on him.

      • Hi Moni! Don´t worry about the accent over my name (I did google it to find another name, but as you don´t have it, it is “accent” over the e to you… 😀 ). I guess he is seeing the results as I was commenting on Friday. I am waiting to hear from you, e-mail me when you can. 😉

        • Andreia – accent, yes, that’s the word. Ironically I asked a friend who speaks Maori fluently (native people of NZ and one of our official languages) as there is a line (not a ‘ but more of a – ) that goes above certain vowels and I asked her what the proper name was and she replied……”a line thingee”.

          Yes, I started writing you an e-mail but ended up feeling under the weather last week and gave in and had a quiet weekend with a few naps thrown in but am feeling much better now. I will dig it out of the drafts file tonight and send.

      • Moni ~ Try ALT+130

    • Good for you Andréia, you finally have convinced him that there really is advantages to decluttering. There will be no stopping him now. I hope he is being justly rewarded for his cooperation.

  2. Whenever I talk to anyone about decluttering, it is inevitable that photos is brought up – I think it is something many of my generation don’t know quite what to do with all the photos of our babies, children etc. I think the younger generation are fortunate that they won’t have this problem ie digital photos. I had all our negatives digitised a few years back, but don’t think I could easily get rid the originals. I would even have difficulties getting rid of the negatives, even though I have them digitised onto cd disks. So I put this project to the very bottom of the list. Is there anyone out there who has already worked thru family photos already?

    • PS I realise that this week’s mini mission is to deal with duplicates and non-essentials, not the whole bigger picture (pardon the pun).

    • Hi Moni! I had many photos scattered around the house and I put them all in photo albums. I have many photos that belonged to my parents and are still here. As they are all organized it will be easy to separate the ones that I want to give to my Mom and Dad and the ones I am keeping. Still I find it hard to deal with photos and no, I would never get rid of the originals . I understand your problem. 😉

    • Hi Moni, I know that there are readers out there who have done this as we have talked about it several times previously. I would never get rid of the negatives because technology changes and old storage systems can’t always be read in the future.

      What we have done is have the negatives digitised. We have kept the negatives and we are culling the prints to only the ones worth keeping. Mind you I would keep far fewer of them than my husband but that’s life. Not sure how many photos of the same motorbike going around a race track do we really need. Decluttering is about compromise though.

      • Colleen – good point on keeping the negatives. I got all of ours put onto disk a few years back – you can actually buy a scanner gadget to do it yourself and save a lot of money – unfortunately I needed ours done in a hurry because of a family event and got them done professionally.
        For now, I have a couple of photo boxes and that’s where all photo related stuff ends up, and I will deal with it altogether, probably not until there is nothing else left to do.
        I got all the old family videos put onto disks last year, but they need some serious editing – talk about dragged out and boring just to see 30 seconds of something worthwhile! I’m hoping to get my son to help me with that as its a bit over my head, but he’s very tricky to pin down.

        • I can understand you putting this task off until the very last. Aside from a minimal effort here and there we really haven’t done much of this task either. Maybe that is why I keep finding other things to declutter because I am trying to avoid this one. 😆 😉

          • Colleen – I think that is my masterplan too – avoid the task! I have a number of friends who have had the task of clearing out the homes of parents or grandparents who have passed away and photos always gets a big mention as a difficult task (aside from the usual, there is just sooooo much stuff to deal with, did they never throw anything away? comments) – seems to be theme coming thru on photos, they seem to invoke a level of emotional responsibility. We really need to get a therapist or psychiatrist to sign up as a 365er to explain all these quirks to us.

      • Hi Colleen! My husband has a full photo album of a car he did back in college and its presentation. Most of the photos are far away and you can´t really see the car, but heaven forbid I touch those pictures!!! All I was “allowed” to do was place them in albums so they were all in one place and not scattered around. As the photos are all organized they don´t bother me, so I am focusing on things he keeps out of habit and not his “sacred” stuff. 😀

        • Hi Andréia, like I said to Moni we do have to compromise of certain things. I must admit the thing that bothers me most about our photos is that they have been collected over many years (before and after marriage) and as a result are in all sorts of different albums. It all looks a little messy to me but then again I am probably just a little too fussy.

    • Hi Moni,
      I’m still working on mine, but the one thing I have kept in mind with all the work of sorting them is: make sure all the family have copies of the important pictures. As much as I joke about dumping the lot, at least I know if there is a mishap, someone in the family has a photo to share.

      I lost count of how many days I have spent sorting through pics, but I am glad that I have and am still doing it. I have scanned many and have discs for everyone. That’s how I’m dealing with it and it is a monumental job but I’m getting there!

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Dizzy – fortunately I don’t have much in the way of ancestor type photos to deal with – we have a few that are in frames but in a storage box in the ceiling. I don’t have any plans to have these ever put back up (it was a stage my husband went thru after his grandmother died) and I’m going to remove them from the frames – the frames aren’t my kind of thing anymore either. I do have them scanned already but I’m going to attach a note to the back or something so that the info isn’t lost in the mists of time down the track. I wonder there is an iPad app for doing something similar.

      • Hi Dizzy, you are more conscientious than me about having copies for everyone, I really just don’t care that much. I know that my mother in-law also has lots of photos of my children when they were little so if mine were lost then I could just get some copies from her. So long as there are a few from each age I am happy.

        • Hi Colleen, I started tidying through them all long long ago, but what I have done with this bunch is choose all the significant ones. Also picked them out with funerals in mind. Morbid I know but I have lost track of how many times I have helped friends trying to find photos of their loved ones to have a pictorial done. Everyone is different I know but at least we all have specific pics of important people and dates in time. I am constantly amazed by what people keep none more so than photos, they are never good or great pics either, they tend to be blurred, crappy shots, long distance or grass, trees and flowers!!!!!

          My advice, if anyone can handle going through photos! you can handle anything!!!!

    • Hi Moni ! I have ! Not everyone would like what I’ve done but I’m very happy with our system and the photos are now readily accessible and therefore looked at and enjoyed more .
      It took a few weekends and dedication – not the easiest thing I’ve ever done I must say. Firstly I gathered all the tins ( yes I had a tin of childhood photos ) and boxes and photo albums and loose photos and put them all in one place .Then I started by removing them all from albums – some albums were half empty anyway. I find albums incredibly bulky – they take up way too much room .Then I put them into piles with preliminary categories e.g holidays – family , specific destinations , friends -children growing up , overseas family , grandparents, husband’s childhood , mine , grandparents, pets etc etc. As I went through the sorting process, I discarded obvious blurry ones or duplicates . Then ,once all the photos were in piles I could see roughly how big the catergories were .I then bought boxes (the sturdy and pretty ones available at all the discount variety stores )and put the photos in the boxes, labelled them with my little labelling device and put them on the book shelves where everyone can help themselves to a box and look through the photos whenever they like . The grandchildren like to do this on” family lunch” days. I’m really happy with what I’ve done – it works for us – there are eight boxes in total and they take up so much less room than albums. I’m not obsessed with capturing every moment on film – I’d rather experience the moment than photograph it . I love the boxes – they are not necessarily “acid free” boxes but I believe these are available .I may one day investigate that further – and I may sort the photos into more categories but for now its fine .It wasn’t difficult but it wasn’t the quickest thing I’ve ever done either!!

      • Well done Jez, this is the sort of thing I need to do. Not to mention identifying people, places and pets on the backs of photos (with an archival quality pen of course). I must admit it does my head in when I try to figure out the best way to categorise them. My preference is just to sort them in chronological order. However you are correct the photos should be stored in an acid free environment. Also being handled without protection won’t do them any good over time either.

        • I suggestion on major categories that you can then subdivide. These are thanks to Stacy Julian who teaches a class at Big Picture Classes about this. The categories are: US, People (Or People we love), Things we do, Places we go. I found that it worked good when I was sorting and scrapbooking.

      • Hi Jez – thank you for sharing this, I too pulled all of mine out albums as I wanted to get everything into chronilogical order and there were photos given to us by friends to incorporate and rolls of film that surfaced years later that I wanted to included too. So the photos are currently stored in paper envelopes in photo boxes ie all the ‘May 1997’ photos from the album (I was pretty good adding date stickers in our albums) are together, but I do have all these extra ones to incorporate.

        I think looking back that I decided to do this quite early in my decluttering days and the project was constantly interrupted by me finding more packets of photos or rolls of film or even memory cards – and then Cindy wrote a post on digital clutter and so I went on a big clearing out session on my Inbox and found ones that had arrived as attachments.

        Anyway, I think I decided that I should just let all the photos accummulate in one box (which is actually several boxes) and until I was sure there was no possible way for any more to surface – as in, my house was completely decluttered – then I should re-visit this project.

        I would like to get this done – its definately on my to-do list, I don’t like things being left unfinished, but I have to admit I know its going to be a big job and ideally should be done uninterrupted and I think that’s why I keep putting it off.

    • GracefromBrazil

      Moni, this is my current situation! I just happened to be scanning a lot of photos today before I read the mini missions. I just have to keep remembering that I don’t want to saddle my kids with all of these. I am scanning all of my pictures (3-5 at a time on my scanner) and keeping only the ones that have a significant memory.( I have to be hard on myself here and usually ask an opinion when in doubt) Remember, you can always reprint these. It IS hard to let go. I had scanned hundreds of photos recently but could not throw them out but once we got them on my hard drive, and a back up (an may be another back up in the future) I could let them go. A great advantage to having them on your computer is that you can have these pictures come up continually as your screen saver, then you can see them all day long…much better than in a photo album. You can do this. There might be some grieving involved but think of the end result! And a bonus is that these are already scanned so that when you have to do a graduation party (like my son is going to have on Tuesday) or an anniversary etc…they are already in the computer.

      It is important to make good folder titles so that you will be able to find the photos again. Once they are scanned you can even have them put in several different folders just in case you might forget, like Christmases AND the year of the photo.

      You can do this! Grace

  3. Hi Colleen ! I know what you mean about still finding things to declutter -“odd bits here and there”. I’ve been decluttering even longer than you I think and I have been very happy with all the space around what’s left but I still managed to fill two bags for the op shop this weekend – and with a couple of things there was still that old familiar tug “what if I need this one day “! The feeling related to some fabric -beautiful pieces of macro suede (upholstery fabric) which I’ve had fun with in the past and enjoyed using .Realistically I have no use for it now ,no plans for any future projects and what finally helped get me over the line was the thought that someone else might get the same pleasure -so time to LET IT GO ! There were also a couple of knick knacks with sentimental value but it was actually very easy to let them go once they came sharply into focus – its funny the way some things just stay on the periphery of consciousness -you’ve always had them and never questioned not having them .Anyway I decided life as we know it really will go on without the little pottery sheep! I think their energy was getting a little stale here and they need a new home and new appreciation-and just like the fabric someone else will enjoy them If I give them a chance. Same goes for the lovely little milk jug and sugar bowl – lovely but never used – so they will be given a new life too!

    • Good for you Jez. I know exactly what you are saying about those pangs to keep things just in case. When you have spent a lifetime, crafting, mending, admiring pretty things or attaching sentiment to object it takes a lot of repeating new habits of letting things go for those pangs to subside. Knowing that someone else will appreciate these things more sure is a good way to help let them go.

  4. Hum! I need to think about these mini-missions. I think I can do something about some of them. Just recently I went through all of the photos and I have thrown out a bunch. But I now need to go through the digital ones on my laptop and decide what to do with those. I have done a lot of that but I need to transfer some to Pinterest and wipe them off of my laptop as I don’t need them in both places.

  5. Ha! Good point about the pictures. I’ve always been quite laissez-faire about them and it did no harm, because I take so few in the first place. So if I just get rid of one or two occassionally, that is enough to keep them in check.
    However as I have started a blog now, there are lots of digital photos of rather random stuff (not random for the blog of course, but I don’t need proove personally of how lovely my ingredients looked) and often many shots, as I edit them on the computer. I did already get rid of the ones I didn’t use in previous blog posts, but I’m rather unsure if I can delete them all and just “store them on the blog” or if I should keep a back-up on my computer.
    Also I realized just how much work is involved in a blog, although it mainly is fun, so I’m even more in awe than ever that you keep this blog going for such a long time already!!

    • Hi Sanna, I keep a copy of all my blog photos in my computer. I don’t trust the the blog won’t crash and I will lose them all. They are all in order of when they were posted so that if the worst happens it will be easy enough to relate them to the appropriate posts. Should words and all get lost then it is just bad luck and people won’t be able to read through the archives. That is an awful lot of reading anyway.

      Aside from the odd older photo prints that I hand off to our children they are fortunate that most of the photos they possess are digital. So they will not have the problem of sorting. I suppose that doesn’t really ring true for my son who is a photographer and loves to photograph in film. Crazy lad.

      Off subject. Sanna I was very confused there for a minute when I took a look at your blog (not realising the you had started one) and it opened in Japanese. Here I was thinking you were German. I wasn’t until I translated it into English that I realised I hadn’t complete lost the plot. Correct me if I am wrong but I also thought you lived in Italy.

      • Thank you for telling me how you handle these things, Colleen! That’s a big help!

        Why, yes, I am German, but the blog is in Japanese. I have been studying Japanese for years and am very interested in Japan (I’ve also been there twice for a couple of months). The blog is both a means to practice the language for me and about a subject that is dear to me. It is about German food, as in daily, homemade food, including recipes. I often encountered Japanese persons who thought and complained that Germans ate nothing but sausages and meat – and unfortunately, “traditional” restaurants over here often serve mainly roasts and other meals that are rather “sunday meals”, if you know what I mean, so even Japanese who travel here hardly ever get to try the everyday food.
        I guess, German cuisine just isn’t as well known as the French or Italian one, so I’m going to fill the gap. 😉
        I already got good reactions, especially from Japanese ex-pats who live in Europe at the moment and never dared to try some of the unfamiliar ingredients they see in the supermarket, as they didn’t know how to use them.
        So I think I have enough motivation to keep going and practice my Japanese skills further. 😉

        P.S. I wasn’t sure whether I should include the adress at all here, because I think most won’t be able to read it, but then I thought that you have a very global readership, so maybe someone who can read Japanese will stumble on it – or others can enjoy the photos of what I am doing in my kitchen with Deb J’s cookie cutters. 😛

    • Sanna – I’m glad you’ve mentioned the amount of work that is involved in a blog as I wanted to bring that topic up, especially as a reader was a tad critical a couple of weeks back. When I’ve had a guest post published, I am always surprised at how much time it takes to respond to each comment and we should note that there is no advertising on this blog to provide Colleen with a small income to offset her time in writing and responding. A big thank you to Colleen – your work has made a difference in soooo many lives, I would never have gotten as far as I have with my decluttering without your site.

      • I agree. I think, everyone who enjoys what she is blogging about will be happy to receive comments and engage in conversation, but the thing is, life is going on as well, so time may be scarce – and sometimes you might just be fed up with sitting in front of the screen so much. So, the continuity of it all is the real challenge and I appreciate it very much that Colleen taking the effort even when it doesn’t come so easy.
        Thank you very much, Colleen!

      • I agree Moni. Colleen is doing a fantastic job just posting and then she tops it with replies to most comments. It’s time consuming. Thanks Colleen.

      • Hi Moni ~ And thank you for that nice comment. I appreciate your support and that you recognise how much time and care goes into producing this blog. I am only glad I have some wonderful people like yourself who help me out with guest posts here and there which gives me a breather. I am also grateful for yourself and your fellow readers whose participation in the conversation each day can allow me the freedom of taking vacations while knowing the conversation will still continue heartily with me.

        A tab critical might be an understatement of the comment a couple of weeks ago, but oddly enough it didn’t really phase me. Usually I feel more concerned for the person who feels compelled make such scathing criticisms. I always feel there is something upsetting going on in their lives that drive such a reaction. Or that they are simply struggling with coming to terms with letting go of their stuff and feel trapped between wanting to be free of it and not being able to make the hard decisions.

        Thank you aslo, Sanna and Deb J, for both your support and the great contributions you make to 365 Less Things.

        • Here here, You should by now know that we all think along the same lines, my favourite overall thing about this blog, apart from the fact that it helps, is the lack of advertising, I know most blogs earn the blogger a wage as such, but sometimes it does get distracting with all the sidebar action. In saying that I do love ‘A Slob Comes Clean’, she is paid and sponsored, but her life is one big shamozzle at times and it creases me with laughter that she manages to look at it all with a grin.

          Some sites, although they have good info etc etc, sometimes make me wonder do they want to help people de-clutter their homes and lives or clutter it up with more ‘stuff’.

          I feel the scathing comments just need to be let go!! He/She/Them obviously have issues of some sort, and on the other hand some people just can’t help themselves being the type that ‘engage the mouth (or in this case the fingers!!) before brain is in gear!!! Like you Colleen, I often think what sort of morning, whatever they have had to come across all snippy. Each to their own though.

          If, in the near future, you want to earn a little or be sponsored whatever, It wouldn’t bother me, as I do appreciate the time it takes to do what you’re doing. I do love that we can tune in each day and there is something for everyone. Cheers. 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • Sorry – I’ve been out of touch for several days and am just now catching up. I’m putting in my Thanks So Much to Colleen as well! This blog has really helped me clean up my home, but also clean up my mind, if that makes sense. 🙂

          • Thanks Michelle, how is the brooch project and the renovations going?

  6. Oh Colleen! How did you know I have many photos of Hubby going round the track on his motorbike? Well I suppose I should spend some time today sorting them.
    I am still working through the saved images on my ipad, I am down to 5233, a long way to go yet.

    • Wow Wendy, I think you are spending way too much time in cyberspace. Is there such a thing as cyber addiction? 😉 I can see I am going to have to have a chat with you over coffee this week.

    • Wendy, I know that means you have a lot of work to do. Do it in bits at a time. First set up file folders in the categories and sub-categories you want. Then look through 20-30 at a time and move them to where they belong. When I first did this with my pictures I even had one named Toss. I put them there but then could look through them again before I made my final decision. In some cases it might turn out once you have gone through all of them that a picture is the only picture you have of a particular subject. My friend, S, takes as many as 500-600 pictures some weekends. She has 1000’s of pictures and many of them she not only has on her computer but has scrapbooked them or has printed them out and they are in boxes waiting to be scrapbooked. I don’t know how you keep up with that many. She has probably 10 years worth of pictures she still hasn’t printed out. She has a fortune in pictures she has had printed.

      • Hi Deb J, I think you will find that Miss Wendy is just being cheeky. Her and I a great mates and go to coffee all the time.

        However I will take your advice in the future when I am working on my photo backlog. I am almost a point where that is all that is left to declutter so there is no more ignoring it. I am actually happy about that.

        I have to say Deb that I think the sheer quantity of digital photos that we would take on vacation was what put me off scrapbooking. There were so many to go through and so many good ones that I had to choose between that I gave up before I even got to cutting one piece of paper.

        • I know what you mean about having so many pictures to choose from. When I first got my digital camera I went nuts. Now I am much more choosy about what I will take.

          By the way, I went through a bunch of photos today and either deleted them, put them on disc to give to the person they are about or put them on disc to save. I have fewer and fewer photos on my laptop.

  7. I know most people have been discussing physical photos here but I want to share how I have organised my digital photos (only 1000 files to go!) in the hope it might help others who struggle with having a pc/laptop full of uploaded photos which they don’t know what to do with as it seems to be quite a common problem with people I’ve met – usually they want to show you photos of a recent trip/holiday and then can’t find them for the chaos!

    – I have a folder labelled ‘photos’ then in that have a folder for 2011, 2012, 2013 and so on, inside this I then break it down even further either by month/event
    – If you do some kind of craft or hobby like me you might want to make a separate folder following the above system so that all your photos for that are in one place, this system makes it easier for me to see all the sewing projects I’ve completed and when
    – Organise as you go! Don’t just upload to your laptop and then leave them lying for months unorganised – this leads to complete and utter chaos whenever you want to find something, and a rather long job trying to organise them long after the event has passed! Try and move them into the appropriate folder as soon as possible so you don’t end up with thousands of photos to sort through. If you are currently in this situation try and aim to sort so many per day, I used to set myself a goal each day of how many I wanted to get organised – don’t try do it all in one day, especially if you have thousands to organise.
    – Delete as you go – before you move them into their own folder go through each one as a slideshow and delete the blurry ones or duplicates or anything which didn’t come out too well
    – I don’t know if any of you do do this, but I also tend to keep photos which aren’t mine but which are beautiful/pretty/amazing/inspiring. To solve this, I first delete any I saved and no longer want for reference and then have a ‘pictures’ folder sorted by category ie ‘landscape’ ‘wedding ideas’ ‘cross stitch inspiration’ etc. Pinterest is another way to organise these, though I have chosen not to because I fear I’d never do anything else ever again! 😉
    – Back them up! Can’t stress this one enough – write them to disc every now and then. I planned to do this 2 years ago and kept meaning to, knowing that my hard drive looked like it was on its way out – I eventually ran out of time and lost 10 years worth of photographs. Someone in my family has worked with computers for around the last 15 or so years and found that it was too corrupted to save any of them. Not a single photo. I also had no disc copies as this had also been on my to-do-someday list. Back. Them. Up. To disc, or to an external hard drive, whichever you prefer, and do it TODAY. Or as soon as possible.

    On another note, I did think recently about what will happen to the future generation when they eventually inherit all our digital photos – how will they know what all the photos are and who is in them as you can hardly write on the back of a digital photo! I did think of one solution though I’ve yet to find time to implement it – when I get time I want to include a small word document in each folder with maybe a paragraph or so about the event/holiday and who was there etc. Does anyone else have any other ideas for labelling digital photos for future generations?

    Anyway I hope some of that helps if anyone is facing the task of organising all their photos! (And Colleen I hope you don’t mind me writing such as a long comment!)

    • Great wisdom you are sharing Jane. On thing I have learned is that if you right click on a photo and go to properties you can write a note about the photo. Also if you have a photo program like Photoshop Elements or the full Photoshop you can make tags and notes on the pictures that way.

    • Hi Jane, no I do not mind you writing a long comment. After all your advice was very sound. We have always always done just as you have suggested although we us Picasa when storing our photos which automatically sorts them into years. Picasa also has a face identification capability which would solve the problem you mentioned of identifying people in photos. All you have to do is put a name to a face and the program will identify that face in every photo it is in. With modern technology storing digital photos is just so easy. Not only can you sort them into year, event etc etc you can then ask the program to show you every photo of a certain person at once no matter what category they are filed in. And providing you have the date set correctly on your camera every file/photo is date stamped identifying when it was taken.

    • Jane W – it sounds like we have a similar filing system going – the photos that came out of the photo albums were easy to assign to eg 1997 May as I’d put date stickers in the photo albums, when I got the negatives digitised, it was fairly straight forward to put the photos into the correct folder.

      It was all the other flotsom and jetsom that slowed down the process – a friends who have been in and around our lives forever, sent me a big bundle of photos spanning many years, some years back, duplicate sets of hers. As she is a shutterbug who takes her camera everywhere, she got some lovely photos that I do truly appreciate them.

      As I decluttered more and more, other photos surfaced around the house – sometimes ones sent from relatives and some that are possibly duplicates. And then when the work negatives were digitised last year……. more photos appeared on those.

      So its really a case of sitting down uninterrupted and getting the job done.

      All the photos that have been digitally filed under year and month and event, I renamed each one with a successive number 001, 002 etc but then added details ie 001 Dayna with grandma Marion etc etc. It took ages but I’m hoping that in the future it will assist.

      I initially saved all of ours to an external hard-drive – probably one of the earlier ones but it was dropped and we lost everything on it. Fortunately, my bro-in-law had taken a copy on his computer while planning a digital picture frame for the grandparents, but it was a valuable lesson. One, don’t drop external hard drives and two, a back up system is smart.

    • Hi Jane, I do all of the above, and yes I lable digital photos as well, my hubby regularly backs everything up, and I never ever just upload and leave, (well hubby doesn’t) I drive the thought process he does the work hahaha. I print what I really want to look at all the time, but I also have a slideshow disk, whenever we have a family day I put it on loop and everyone can look at the pics whilst having a quiet moment or drinking coffee and watching it all on the big TV screen. I like everything to be names and dated and a little info where possible, in the future should anyone wish to have it all it is all spelled out for them.

      It is a huge job and I appreciate that not everyone wants so much, but for now I’m glad I’m doing it. It may change as technology changes but for now my family enjoy it.

      Thanks for all your tips> 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. Good mini missions this week. I have been thinking that it is time to start tackling those photo albums :).

  9. I do a lot of digital art and design, and have thousands of photos on my laptop. They’re all organized in folders, and I do go through them regularly, but I still tend to have more than I need.

    You just never know when a corner of this, and a section of that will make a nice piece of art, so it’s hard to delete some of these, but I make myself. Otherwise, the sheer amount of photos to plow through would be overwhelming.

    Since you’ve reminded us to work on photos this week, Colleen, I might just take a little time and delete some more of mine.

    I also use Dropbox to store backups of some of my digital photos, mostly family photos that I’d hate to lose.

    • Becky – if you don’t mind me asking you a bit more about Drop Box – does it cost a lot? Do I have to download software onto every computer, phone, laptop etc? Can I access it from anywhere?

      I have an external hard-drive, you may have read above that my original was dropped and damaged (this was an earlier type of external hard drive, not the usb powered tiny ones that we have now) and I have often thought I would like to have another copy of records – especially insurance, wills, power of attorney, photos etc off site in case of fire, natural disaster etc etc. Would it suit this purpose?