Operation: Organize Your Family Photos

by Melody on May 13, 2015

Operation Organize Your Family Photos

This year I tackled the organization project that was my biggest source of mama guilt. Family photos.  Ugh. I’m pretty sure I just heard the collective sigh.  I realize that some of you have your photos categorized, labeled and creatively displayed in scrapbooks.  I applaud that kind of awesome.  But for me, making this happen was a dragon to slay.

The good news is it’s doable.  Here are three strategies I used to make it happen.

1. Start

Brilliant, I know. Just set a goal, and start.  We often overthink these big mountains in our mind to the point where we drown ourselves in details, waste all of our energy in planning rather than doing and lose motivation and time.  So start. Today.

2. Commit

Make up your mind that you WILL do this.  I wrote it in my planner as my goal for the month.  I told a friend or two about the monstrous project I was working on so I would face a little public humiliation if I quit have some accountability to keep me going.  You need to commit to making it happening.

3. Forget perfection

Michael Hyatt said it best, “Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination”.  The caveats to doing this well are what held me back from doing it all along.  And in the meantime I only got further behind.  My goal was to have photos organized in books so my family could enjoy and relive the awesome memories we are making together.  I’m pretty certain, well organized photo albums, even if they aren’t perfect, trumps no photo albums any day of the week.

You may have a few questions before you can truly commit to this:

Where do I find the time?

Busy lives seem to be all the rage these days and finding “extra” time is hard.  I committed 30 minutes a day to getting this done.  After my kids were in bed I drug out my picture bin and got to work. And I did it again the next night. And the next, until it was done.  Get up early or use part of your lunch hour. Forfeit a half hour of television time in the evening.  Find a way to carve out 30 minutes and get it done.

Is it going to cost a fortune?

There are certainly ways to whittle down the cost of this project.  Here is what I learned.

WALMART – Prints are $.09 each, done in an hour.  You can’t beat that list price.  They are about $.02-.06 cheaper than their competitors’ list price which saves you up to $30 on 500 photos.

SHUTTERFLY and SNAPFISH – The deals to be had on these sites are in their sales, and they offer them frequently, but be patient for the good ones.  I found the best deals to be penny prints with flat rate shipping.  These sales come around every month or two, work out to about $.07/print and are delivered to your door.

SNAPFISH APP –When you download the Snapfish App to your mobile device you will receive 100 free prints per month for a year.  With shipping that is about $.06/print.  This is a great way to stay on top of ordering prints throughout the year.

COSTCO – This is where it came together for me.  Prints are $.13 here, not fabulous.  But as I was on the hunt for simple, elegant and durable photo albums, I came across these:


Exactly what I was looking for.  These nice leather albums come in a two pack for $19.99 (occasionally on sale for $15.99).  But did you notice that coupon noted on the package? With each pack of albums you get 100 free prints at the photo center.  That is $13.00 worth of free photos.  In the end I paid about $8 each for the photo albums I wanted and got nearly all the prints I needed for free. I like that math!

Completing a goal and nailing a good deal is rewarding, but not as rewarding as the morning after my project was completed.  The morning my kids sprawled across the living room floor, pouring over our albums.  Photos help us re-live events and adventures, milestones and memories.  And they are far too precious not to be properly organized and enjoyed.

So now it’s your turn. START!


Katie Westenberg is a stay-at-home mama, married to her high school sweetheart and loves making memories with their four kids as they enjoy life on a little piece of land in the country. She is blessed enough to find a little time to write on the side.  Katie recently started blogging at IChooseBrave.com.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Candee May 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm

I got a little lump in my throat picturing the kiddos enjoying and reliving memories through the photos you put together. I know my kids would do the same. Although I have all my photos organized on a photo website, I really need to take the time to print them off or make photo books for them to hold, flip through and be available to enjoy whenever they want. Thank you for the encouragement!


Tiffany May 13, 2015 at 8:02 pm

Thanks for sharing your project. This has been on my to do list for years. Yes, years! Just the thought has overwhelmed me. And I love the quote you shared, “Michael Hyatt said it best, “Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination”. ” Do you have any tips on how your photos are organized on your computer and how did you choose which photos to print? So many things to think about! Oh no! I’m starting to feel overwhelmed again. 😉


Katie May 13, 2015 at 9:09 pm

Good question, Tiffany. Digital organization could be a post of it’s own! At one point I organized my photos immediately into sub- categories (by event, holiday, etc.) after downloading them, but for me that felt like extra busy work, particularly when my goal is to get them off the computer and into albums. My current method is to just use folders labeled by date. Since I’m downloading photos regularly, the date ranges are pretty small and I can find what I need quite easily. And as with anything, once you get an organization system established, maintaining becomes much easier. You just have to get established first. 🙂 But if I finally crossed it off my list, I promise you can too!


Melody May 13, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Since I haven’t printed a picture since the beginning of time, I keep mine in sub-categories like you mentioned. I have a folder for each year, then a sub-folder for each month and additional sub-folders for big events or holidays.

Katie, I’m really hoping your project inspires me to get to steppin’ on my own photos. I do make a photo book every year (which takes FOREVER, but I force myself to do it) and my kids absolutely adore looking through them. So there’s that.


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