2 In Archiving/ Creative Photo Projects/ Digital Photos/ Photo Organizing Workflow/ Printed Photos

The #1 Mistake People Make When Trying to Organize Their Photos (+How You Can Avoid It!)

A lot of people ask me whether it’s worth the investment in time and energy to organize their memories, and my answer is always a resounding YES! It’s an investment – sure – but they are definitely worth it! However, a lot of people don’t approach the process the right way, so read on to hear why you should plan your process first!


Your Memories are Worth It!

Here’s the sad truth: Many of you will start to organize your photos, but fail miserably. You may get discouraged, overwhelmed, or just not finish at all. Then you might give up. Let’s not go down that road.

Your memories are important! They need to be organized, and safe, for your benefit and that of your family. I don’t want you to fail or give up. I want you to go down a different road, with me as your GPS, towards organized success! So let’s get to it.

Most people fail at organizing because they just jump straight into the organizing process without thinking about the planning part. And yes, I understand that it’s not as fun, but it’s necessary.

Ever hear someone say “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? Well, in organizing, it’s not what you organize, it’s how you organize it.

Organizing your photos can seem like a really daunting task, so it’s important that you understand the workflow of what needs to be done before you start any organizing project! Skipping that part will guarantee your project’s failure.

If you take the time to understand what you are doing, and why, you’ll be better off in the long run, just like with anything in life. In organizing, there are some steps to follow in the right order to get to the result you want, and it’s what I refer to as the organizing formula.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  1. Gather (Get everything in one place + get rid of the obvious trash by deduplicating)
  2. Sort (Figure out your main categories and place your photos; can be done automatically with a good photo program)
  3. Edit (Fix anything that needs fixing, for example color corrections)
  4. Organize (Add captions, keywords, people, places, and other info + rename)
  5. Evaluate (How’d you do?)
  6. Adjust (How can you do better in the future?)

This simple idea goes for anything you are trying to organize, whether it’s photos or shoes. The #1 mistake people make when trying to organize their photos is not following through with the organizing process, skipping steps, or completing them in the wrong order.

Organizing is like cooking. You have to complete the steps in the correct order for it to work. You don’t sauté your veggies before you cut them, right? In that same spirit, don’t try to organize your photos before you have edited your collection. Most of all, don’t try sorting before you have gathered all your photos into one digital photo hub! Stick to the process, and you’ll be alright!


The #1 Mistake People Make When Trying to Organize Their Photos (+How You Can Avoid It!)

I’m a Perfect Pinnable!


To help you understand the organizing process in depth, I have created a new mini-course to help you plan your project!

Here is an except:

“Ever tried to declutter, but it wasn’t as easy as you thought? Perhaps you couldn’t throw away as much as you had hoped, and you ended up keeping most of it because you “might need it someday”?

Why did you fail? Simple. You didn’t follow the organizing formula.

Here’s another example: You decided to get organized, so you went and bought a bunch of containers, determined to have them all filled up and put away by the end of the week. Several weeks later, they’re still sitting in the corner, silently wondering when their time will come. And now, you’ve got more clutter.

Why did you fail? Simple. You didn’t follow the organizing formula.

And here’s a third example: You had a burst of energy, so you pulled everything out, and started sorting. Then you had to take a break, and never quite regained your momentum. Now, you’ve got stuff everywhere, and you’re wondering why you pulled it all out to begin with…it was working better before you tried organizing it. Sound familiar?

Why did you fail? Simple. You didn’t follow the organizing formula.

I want you to stop failing!

The reality is that you can’t just pull out random things, sort for a few minutes, buy a few new containers, and hope that things will sort themselves out. That’s like buying a gym membership, never going, and wondering why you’re not buff. It just doesn’t work that way. Things are just going to pile up again, and just like those Christmas pounds, it’ll all be back with a vengeance.

Once you understand the organizing formula, you can organize ANYTHING in the same amount of steps – whether it be photos, paint brushes, or your time. There are reasons why things are done in a certain order, and those reasons are pretty darn good. If you understand all of the fundamentals of organization, you’ll be able to organize anything that’s thrown at you, and you’ll have a much better chance at succeeding with your goals.”

Did any of this hit home? If so, enroll in this mini-course over on our Academy! It’s absolutely free and without any obligations!

Happy Organizing!


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  • Meenakshi @truorganizer.com
    November 8, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Hi Caroline, this is such a great post. I identify with it because I suffered from all sorts of photo organizing problems and its also a reason I am building a photo / video tools company that helps users get a handle on photo organization. I’d love your feedback on our tool – it’s called Tru http://www.truorganizer.com. Tru is dead easy – we have strived hard to reduce complexity and make it “just work” to take photos and organize them in a consistent structure. Please do take a look when you get a moment.

    • Caroline Guntur
      November 10, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Thanks Meenaksi – I’ll be sure to have a look!

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