Organizing Photos

How many have you have photos that are stored like this?  Old photos, new photos.  Thrown into a box with the idea that when you have time you'll sort, label, and store them properly.

Tips for How to Organize a Mess of Family Photos

For a little over a year I’ve been doing genealogy research on all the branches of my family tree (which, including step-grandparents means that I'm doing 6 trees...oh my!).  Eventually I’d like to put a book together with the research and family photos, but this is probably a LONG way off.  I’ve restored a lot of the old photos that I scanned from other family members.  There are many more to do, so I wanted a way to organize the photos as they are finished and printed.  These are a few ideas that I’ve come up with to keep things neat.  I haven’t organized any of my current photos (most of them aren’t even printed!), but these ideas would work for new photos too.

I’m a little obsessive compulsive about certain things.  Because of that, I wanted all of my restored photos to be the same size, finish, and be labeled identically.  (My OCD is also the reason why I'm restoring the photos to begin with....I like imperfections on some things, but not my photographs!) So regardless of the original size of the scanned photo, I’ve cropped and resized all of the finished photos using  Adobe Photoshop into a 4x6 print.  This also helps to get a nice modern, close up kind of picture.  (Make sure you scan the originals at a high dpi, at least 300, to be able to crop and enlarge pictures).  I get my photos developed at and choose the matte finish.  It keeps fingerprints from getting all over the photos.  

Tips to help you organize your printed family photos |
Isn't my dad cute in this picture?

When I get the photos back, I print Avery Address Labels with whomever is in the picture and an approximate date of when the picture was taken.  You could also include where or why the picture was taken if you know the information.  After doing all the research I’ve done, I’ve realized how important it is to have the pictures labeled.  Even though you may know who is in the photo, future generations will not.  When making the labels, I used “Grant’s Hand” which is a nice handwritten font.  There are many free ones to choose from at .

Label the back of your family photos with the date and who is in the photo

Once all of the photos are labeled, I sort them by who is in the photos.  Then I take a strip of white cardstock, wrap it around the photos, and write a label on the cardstock.  This keeps the photos from getting bent and scattered.  

Organize your family photos by wrapping them with white cardstock labels

I'm sorting my photos by the family that they belong with in my family tree.  With current photos, you could sort the photos by event, year, or family. 

Organizing Family Photos |

I had originally got this idea from the Pottery Barn Storage & Display book.  The photos are wrapped with the labels and then stored in an old film canister, which I though was really unique.


I plan on having a  Flat. archival box for each of the branches of the family where I can store the research, photos, and any documents or mementos that I have from that part of the family.  It is important to store photos in archival boxes to protect them.  And again, I want everything to be matching!

What ideas do you have for storing your photos? I hope my ideas might interest you in organizing!

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