Friday, March 4, 2016

Throwing Away Photographs: What's the Answer?

I have several boxes of photographs. As part of my GETTING THINGS DONE™ tour I am currently going through and sorting them, mainly chronologically but with some subsidiary categories. (More on this below.)

But I need to thin the herd of photos. Choose the ones that are scrapbook/photo album worthy and then what shall I do with the rest?

To the Internet! I searched "Should I throw duplicate photos away?"

The answers fell on both sides of the debate;
  • YES! As long as you keep the negatives safe somewhere in case of disaster, toss any photos you don't use.
  • NO! You'll regret it!
Many people feel guilty when they toss old pictures. I have mainly found it difficult to throw away pictures of my son. It always felt like I was throwing HIM away somehow. But I have a zillion pictures of him and I am over this issue. Once you throw one away and nothing happens you are emotionally freed to toss more!

I don't see how I will regret tossing bad photos. In any case I have the negatives from my camera in our safe deposit box and my brother Everest has the negatives from my mom's camera so they are recoverable if necessary.

There are SO MANY pictures!

For instance, my mom took a LOT of pictures of Thor, who was her only grandchild for several years until granddaughter Shenanigans came along. Almost weekly, Mom would take an entire roll of 24 pictures of him posing in the backyard or eating lunch or whatever. Then she had duplicate prints made, giving me one set and keeping the other. At some point she gave me the box with all her copies too. So I have two copies of a ZILLION pictures of my son and they are all undated and mixed up.

What I have decided to do is this: Go through the boxes and pick out the pictures I like, tossing the ones I don't. Then I think I will be down to a manageable amount of pictures.

I have created scrapbooks from Thor's grade school years but I still have dozens of school-related pictures in storage. I will go through and toss these too. I already went through and picked out the best shots from 6th Grade Camp, for instance. They are in the scrapbook. Why keep the ones that didn't make the cut?

Same with vacation stuff. The scrapbook is done. The extras can go. Extra pictures of the pet rats? Scrapbook's on the shelf. Bye bye, extra pictures! 

As I sort I am mainly sticking to chronological order as that is how my brain works. But there are special categories that I am picking out as I go. I already have a folder with a bunch of pictures of me and my best friend Lady Chardonnay. I would never part with a single one of those pix!

I am pulling out any pictures of Thor and HIS best friend too. And I need to have a good pile of pictures with me and CPA Boy, love o' my life! Then there are things like cars, school pictures from family and friends, junior high and high school, scouts and a few others.

Now this particular photo project covers the years of my life with CPA Boy (since 1989). I also have the pictures from my childhood and college years but they are already sorted by place I lived (I moved every few years in those days) and they just need to be placed in albums.

And I am still working on figuring out the best way to store digital pictures. Right now they are copied to CDs and DVDs as well as on my computer's hard drive but I also need to get some into the Cloud. Apple, Google and Amazon (and other smaller companies like Dropbox) all have some sort of photo storage but I need to do more research first.

I need to get back to sorting. That's right, I am GETTING THINGS DONE™!


  1. "Extra pictures of the pet rats? Scrapbook's on the shelf. Bye bye, extra pictures!"
    Wait, what?! You tossed BONUS pictures of rats?! How could you?
    "I moved every few years in those days"
    I think you meant to say "I moved every few days in those years"
    The United States Patent and Trademark Office shows 13 trademarks (rejected, pending and approved applications) that contain the words "getting things done," including two approvals
    but neither seems to be specific to scrapbooking. Time to apply now!

    1. Um, you haven't even looked at the rat scrapbook yet and now you want a pile of extra rat pictures? Consider them yours!

      Oh drat! Now I need to find a new catch-phrase!