Do You Hoard Photos? And It’s Stressing You Out?

I wanted to share with you today a little more about my upcoming “How to Organize Your Digital Vacation Photos” (or any other group of photos) series. But I know that anxiety can be a huge issue to overcome when you first think about organizing your photos. So let’s address this issue first.

Now who isn’t a bit anxious thinking about the cluttered mass of photos we’ve accumulated? Most of us have more photos than we know what to do with. That kind of makes us photo hoarders. I don’t mean to be cruel or judgmental, but, hey, let’s face facts: if you just accumulate photos and seldom do anything with them (besides a quick share on social media), yet you have a sense of comfort in knowing they’re there, then you’re a hoarder. Acceptance is the first step to recovery. Or as I like to think, the first step to “Motivation.” Motivation will be key to getting your photos organized.

For example, we all love to eat, right? I know I do. Too much. But who enjoys cleaning up the kitchen after the meal? Not many of us but we do it anyway. And we love to go on vacation, but how long do walk around the suitcases until we finally put them away? It could be days or weeks (as you secretly hope you can simply repack them for another trip. Problem solved). But if the reality is that another trip is not in store soon, then you get up the energy to store them away.

I know I don’t like doing the “after” stuff. A sister of mine does though. I find that odd. She must have inherited the “clean gene” or figured out that taking care of things right away results in less anxiety for her. For me, the “after” stuff is seriously nothing short of boring and painful. I was born with the “fun gene.” Fun motivates me! But sometimes we just have to get the tough jobs done.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m simply short on motivation. If you weren’t born with the “clean gene” either, then you struggle like I do getting the boring stuff done. I really enjoy taking photos (like I enjoy eating a meal). It’s fun. But the “cleaning” and organizing part (like cleaning up after the meal) can be a chore sometimes. Just as there are quicker ways to clean up the kitchen if you learn a few “tricks,” so can it be with managing photos.

But first we need to know what’s causing our anxiety or lack of motivation that makes us photo hoarders. Is it lack of time? Knowledge? Fear of making a mistake? No clue how to get started? It’s really not that fun to organize? Regardless of the reason, once you know the cause (and accept it as an issue to be resolved) you can move forward to overcome it. That’s where the motivators come in.

So what would motivate you to invest the time to organize your photos? For me, it’s being able to find the photo I need quickly. It frustrates me to have to search forever and sometimes never find what I’m looking for. For you, it might be:

  • the same thing so you can easily create photo books or gifts on the fly;
  • putting together a last minute video for someone’s birthday party, anniversary, graduation or wedding without the stress of downloading from the cloud or transferring from your devices the photos you need;
  • you enjoy sharing your photos a lot and you’d like the recipients to know what the photo is about. Is 20160703_123456.jpg really helpful?
  • you need to get the photos off your device because the “low memory” message is preventing you from taking or storing more photos;
  • you don’t want to lose your photos! You want them off your devices and backed up in a safe place for now and future generations to enjoy—and make sense of.

After all this, we can conclude that hoarding pictures on all your devices and having no organization to them can cause incredible anxiety and frustration. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Every time you take a picture you are confronted with the fact that you’re adding to the problem that already overwhelms you. And not addressing it prevents you from more fully enjoying the photos the way you’d like.

If being a photo hoarder stresses you out, and you’ve discovered what will motivate you to finally get your photos under control, then you’ll want to make time to follow this series. One thing you’ll learn is how to purge and when to purge your photos to nip those anxious feelings in the bud. How great will it be to quickly reduce the clutter in your collection to a manageable number? Isn’t it a chore to clean out your closet of clothes you’ll never wear again that are just taking up space? But the end result is freeing and satisfying! There’s so much more room now. And the pole or shelves won’t fall down…again (Hint: that’s a motivator). Purging your collection of really bad or irrelevant photos will give you that same sense of freedom and satisfaction.

You’ll soon be able to enjoy your photos in new and exciting ways because everything you need will be at your fingertips and quick to find. You’ll be free to get creative with them! Now that’s fun. And you’ll know that they’re safe from loss or damage. And those are great motivators.

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Anyone have a photo hoarding story they’d like to share? What are your biggest challenges in managing your photos?

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