Welcome to another Tidy Tuesday!

We’re back again for Week 2 of Review Month as we summarize the material we covered earlier this year. Today, we’re looking at photo organization.

If you want to dig into the detailed weekly topics for what we’re reviewing this month, visit the Tidy ’24 Calendar page and scroll to the list of posts from February.

Review Week 2: Photo Organization

Photo management is a big topic and may even be stressful for some of us. It’s hard to discuss it comprehensively even in a whole month. But the big picture (pardon the pun) isn’t actually complicated. Organizing your photos takes much the same kind of work as organizing anyone else’s. As long as you know what steps to follow and set aside some time regularly, you can make real progress even if you don’t have all the details worked out up front.

Photos Week 1: Find Your Media

In week one, we started out by finding your media. You can’t organize your stuff if you don’t know what you have and where it is. Here are the action steps from that week:

  1. Identify the devices, apps, and cloud services that you’ve used to capture, store, or share photos and videos
  2. Make a list of each item along with a small note indicating how important its contents are to you

These steps are all about defining your task. Where are your photos and videos? Are they on your smartphones, tablets, or new or old computers? Are they in cloud storage somewhere? Might they even be hiding out in text message threads among family members? The goal is to get an idea of where you’ll need to gather your media.

By the end of these steps, you should have a list you can systematically work through once you’re ready.

Photos Week 2: Pick Your Platform

In week two, we focused on picking a platform as a home for your master archive of all your photos and videos. Here are the action steps from week two:

  1. Consider your goals for your photos and videos
  2. Consider your technical ability, interest, time, and budget
  3. Choose a platform and take the first step to start using it, like signing up for a trial account

There are many options here, and I can’t recommend one solution that will fit everyone’s needs and preferences.

The biggest question is whether you want to use a cloud service (like Google Photos or iCloud) or want more control and privacy with something local. Personally, I use and recommend Mylio, an impressive photo management app that offers a great combination of local control and privacy along with a number of features normally only found with cloud providers. If you’re unsure at this point, definitely check out Mylio.

By the end of this week’s steps, you should have a platform chosen–at least something to try out and see if it works for you.

Photos Week 3: Centralize Your Collection

In the third week, we moved past the information-gathering stage and started collecting photos and videos in a centralized location, such as a dedicated hard drive or online photo storage service. Here are this week’s action steps:

  1. Choose one device or service at a time to work with while importing your media.
  2. COPY, don’t MOVE all media from that location into your new platform.
  3. Mark each device as completed when finished to easily track what remains.

The specifics of this process will depend on which platform you chose last week. You might use File Explorer on Windows or Finder on a Mac to access image and video files on your devices and media and copy them to a new location, or you might install and use a service provider’s app like Google Photos or Mylio to walk through the import process on each device.

The most important part of this process is to ensure that your media files are not deleted from their original location as you import them. Most apps make it clear during the process whether that’s even an option, and it shouldn’t be enabled by default. If you’re working directly with your own files, just make sure you copy from the source to the destination rather than move.

Deleting the old, original, disorganized copies of everything is the last step after you’ve collected everything and organized it. That might not happen for weeks or months, and that’s okay. It gives you peace of mind and freedom to experiment and be more aggressive while culling and filtering than you might otherwise be. If something goes off the rails, you can return to the beginning with all your original data.

By the end of these steps, you should have your entire collection of photos and videos (or at least as much of it as you’re currently aware) copied or imported into your platform of choice. You’ll still have way more than you intend to keep, and it won’t be organized yet, but it will be ready to clean up.

Photos Week 4: Organize Something!

In the final week of Photos Month, we made our first concrete move toward an organized photo set with the following actions steps:

  1. Choose one piece of your collection to organize, such as a week’s worth of photos or photos from a single event.
  2. Cull and filter this small media set by removing duplicates and low-quality images.
  3. Tag or rate the best pictures, being as strict as possible to end up with a minimal final set of “shareable” images or videos.

These steps are only the beginning, but they give you a motivating experience showing what’s possible now that you have all of the most important pieces in place. All that remains is to repeat those steps on more and more of your collection until you’ve got it as organized as you want. The more you do, the more efficiently you’ll get through each new batch: eliminating poor-quality images, aggressively cutting out redundant shots, and leaving just the best photos that are worth sharing or revisiting from time to time.


That’s all for our Photos Month review. If you’d like to explore any of those topics further, be sure to check out the original posts or videos from each week.

If you have questions, comments, or ideas about photo organization, comment below or send me a message.

If you’re not already subscribed, make sure to join the weekly newsletter email list with the simple form below. You can also bookmark the Tidy ’24 Calendar page for a master list of every currently published Tidy ’24 topic.

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