Digital Spring Cleaning

Digital Spring Cleaning

Carrie McBride
May 21, 2009

We normally like to think we're pretty organized when it comes to our digital files, but looking back at the photos from our son's (almost) first year of life - they're a mess! We have two major problems: First, we saved photos and videos haphazardly in file folders that might have made sense in the mental haze after our son's birth, but are indecipherable now. Second, we have fifteen shots of essentially the same thing and haven't yet been able to bear the thought of deleting any. Oy! Heading into year two, we have to get a handle on this! Click through to see what we're doing to clean up our mess and offer your own suggestions. If you are pregnant now - devote some of that nesting energy to getting a system in place - you will thank us later!

Our first plan of attack is to pare down. We were recently informed by our computer that we are running out of storage space and that our last attempt at a backup failed due to lack of space - not good! We could move the bulk of our photos to a dedicated hard drive or even onto dvds, but we really need to tackle this problem head on and do some deleting.

Emotionally, it's hard - using digital cameras makes everyone snap happy and it's tempting to keep every single photo no matter how similar it is to a dozen others you took in the span of a minute or how blurry or how badly lit. Not only does every moment and memory of your child seem so precious, but you are more aware than ever how fleeting time is. But we've got to get real! We've already made a first pass of deletions to get rid of the truly bad photos - out of focus, accidental shots of the ceiling, etc. Now we need to make a second, harder, pass to choose the best few shots of series. It will be tough, but I think we'll appreciate it in the future when we can sit and easily look at all of our favorite memories rather than wade through thousands of images.

The second prong of our attack is to organize our folders so we can find what we want more easily. As you can see from the screen shot above, we're organizing them by year and month. We put a number in front of the month (starting with the month our son was born) so they'll sort quickly.

One more thing: is the date set correctly on your camera? We thought ours was until we found that 80% of our photos have a creation date of January 1st. Fixing that will make it much easier to correctly sort our photos by date in the future.

Okay, your turn - how are you handling the mountain of digital photos and videos piling up on your computer? How do you handle photos of multiple kids? Do you think we'll regret deleting even a single photo?

(p.s. The answer to the question in the top photo is "neither" - we have a third photo that is much better than either of these and it's a keeper!)

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