How I Organized 12 Years of Family Pictures

How to organize thousands of photos.

I adore pictures! I take wayyyy tooo many and always have….probably always will.

Looking back at family pictures of my babies when they were little, trips we have taken, and loved ones that we don’t get to see often always makes me smile. Seeing the ‘memories’ on my Facebook is one of the highlights of my day.

How I Organized 12 Years of Family Pictures | Finding Mandee

However, my pictures were a mess! There was no organization what-so-ever to our pictures. I had memory cards with pictures from 2007 mixed in with pictures from 2018. I have some baby pictures printed of my oldest, but almost none of my youngest.

One of my 2019 New Year’s Resolutions was to get this task done. And while I did a little of the work throughout last year, during our Covid lock down, I finally finished it up.

Here’s how I organized 12 years of pictures!

Gather Them in One Place

The first step is probably the most overwhelming step in the whole process. I was inspired by Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix to gather all of my pictures in one place.

That meant I had get them all off of my random memory cards, flash drives, and CDs. Then I downloaded my cell phone pictures and the pictures from my Facebook.

There were THOUSANDS of pictures to deal with!

I found it easier to do this one ‘location’ at a time. For example, I gathered all of my memory cards and transferred and organized those pictures. Then downloaded my cell phone pictures them before moving onto Facebook pictures, etc.

How I organized thousands of family pictures during quarantine.
(Soooo many pictures!)

Organize Them

This step was pretty time-consuming and I spread it out over several weeks. I would lying if I said it wasn’t kind of enjoyable though. I binge-watched tv while I was organizing our family pictures and loved looking through all of the memories.

There are several ways you can organize your pictures: by person, by year, by event/holiday, by trips/vacations, etc.

I chose to organize my family pictures by year. Here’s how I did that:

  1. Make a folder for each year.
  2. Inside each year’s folder, make folders for each month.
  3. Inside each month, you can separate pictures for events, trips, holidays etc. or just dump the pictures in there

Copy or Transfer to External Storage

Besides having extra time during Covid lockdown, one of the main motivations for getting these pictures organized was that we are getting a new computer soon. So, I really needed to get our pictures off of this old one.

I transferred each year’s folder to SD cards. On some cards, I could fit 3-4 years, while on others, I could only fit 2-3 years. It all depends on how many pictures are in each folder.

After labeling the SD cards with the years that are on it, I put them in an SD card storage case and then into our fireproof box.

All of our family pictures fit on these 3 little cards.
(All of our pictures from 2007 to 2019 on 3 little cards!)

In addition to the SD cards, I am also utilizing an on-line photo storage as a back up. I have chosen to use Shutterfly, because it’s free and unlimited, but I don’t expect that to last forever.

Eventually, I would like to make a Shutterfly photo book for each year. But that might have to wait until lockdown round 2!

For now, I’m relieved to have all of our pictures safely in one place and organized. It honestly makes me feel like I actually have my life together, ha!

You can see the rest of our Quarantine Projects here!

How I Organized THOUSANDS of Family Pictures | Finding Mandee

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