Simple Digital Photo Organization in 4 Easy Steps

If you are like so many others, your pictures are everywhere. From the Facebook and Instagram social media platforms to your phone, computer, text messages, email, external hard drives, the cloud, and more! If you look at the big picture, it’s overwhelming to know how to start. Getting a system in place sooner rather than later is going to save you time down the road and create a lasting legacy for your loved ones. There’s no better time to start than now!

Here’s what I did to simplify the process and complete my photo organization dating back to 1880.

For this article, I’ll cover ‘digital' photo organization only and will cover how to organize ‘printed’ photographs through digitization and scanning in a future post.

Step 1: Set aside 15 minutes a day

Schedule time on your calendar, make a cup of coffee or tea to enjoy as you sort through images, and add photo organization to your daily routine. Every morning, once I get to my computer, the first thing I do is do my photo organization (uploading, tagging, adding descriptions and stories, etc). I use this opportunity as a warm-up my brain and savor the memories before the chaos of the day gets into full swing. No matter what time of day you choose, 15 minutes is the key to success!
TIP: As part of your 15-minute routine, delete unwanted and duplicate photos and videos from your device. There’s no need to save, upload, and organize unnecessary images.


Step 2: Start with current photos and recent events and work backward chronologically

Since these events are fresh in your mind, it’s often the easiest task to start with. With minimal effort, you should know exactly where those photos are without having to dig too deep. The good news is that most of those images are digital, on your mobile device by date, and easy to gather and organize.
TIP: Get in the habit of immediately saving anything shared with you via text or email to your phone photo album.

 Simple Digital Photo Organization in 4 Easy Steps. Getting a photo organization system in place sooner rather than later is going to save you time down the road and create a lasting legacy for your loved ones.

Step 3: Set up a folder(s) on your favorite cloud storage platform

I use FOREVER Permanent Cloud Storage and have for the past 9 years. It’s easy to use and guaranteed for your lifetime plus 100 years. Plus, they have a FREE Mobile App that syncs your photos on your mobile device to their cloud. You can even have multiple devices syncing to the same account, so you don’t have to keep pestering your partner to share their photos with you.
For my photo organization, I like to use yearly and monthly folders. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to organize. It’s your system and you need to understand how to navigate it best so do what works for you.
Here’s a look at a sample nested structure using both chronological and event-focused folders.
  • 2023-01 Jan
    • 2023-01-01 New Year’s Day
    • 2023-01-14 Thomas Smith’s 40th Birthday
    • 2023-01-23 New Puppy Gotcha Day
  • 2023-02 Feb
    • 2023-02-14 Valentine’s Day
    • 2023-02-18 Dinner with Brad & Tina Tyson
    • 2023-02-28 Planting Early Garden
  • 2023-03 March
    • And so on… 


Step 4: Begin Uploading

Select your newly created folder on your preferred cloud storage platform and click on the upload button. This will upload your photos and videos for safekeeping. Easy, right?! That’s the first step. Some days I spend my 15 minutes uploading and then other days I feel like tagging or adding a descriptive story. But the first step is getting those photos saved into the cloud to minimize the risk of losing those precious memories due to device failures or possible natural disasters.

Building healthy habits and a daily routine of photo organization will quickly unravel your photo mess and leave you with a sense of accomplishment. As with anything, the more you do it the easier it becomes. Today, you take the first step!