How to declutter your digital photos

We take lots more photos than we used to, especially if we're 13 and have our own iPod and can turn it around onto selfie mode and then use heaps of different effects to make it look cool and awesome... but that's for a Whole Other Post, to be written and published one day when I'm sure my teenage daughter definitely isn't reading my blog (and actually, I'm pretty sure she isn't, because really, would you read your middle-aged mother's blog if you were young? Nah, of course not.)

Anyway, back to the point.

In The Old Days, photos were not as plentiful. But these days you don't have to worry about wasting film. Even little kids have cameras! And it doesn't matter if you take pictures that don't work out. If you don't like them, you just delete them.

Of course, there's a down-side to making things cheaper and quicker and more plentiful. And in the case of digital photos, the downside is digital clutter.

What do you do with all those pictures?

The point of pictures is to look at them, either today or in the future, as a memory, right? So you need to get them into a place or a format where they can be looked at.

Allow me to present Cecily's four steps to doing this:

The first is to Decide. You'll need to decide if you want to publish them online (Facebook or Instagram or on a blog), keep them on an electronic photo display unit or print them out in some way.

The second step is to Edit and Delete. Seriously, you don't need four nearly identical pictures of your dog licking your cat. Choose the best one and say goodbye to the rest.

Ten years from now you will not thank yourself for keeping a photo of a beautiful view slightly blocked out by the back of someone's head.

And actually, I question the value of keeping most photos of beautiful views unless you're a really fabulous photographer. I have many painful recollections of my dad saying, "Hang on, I'm just taking my 7 thousandth photo of this mountain," and holding us all up. Fast forward 25 years and the only ones we really want to look at are the ones of us in front of the mountain.

Step three is to Publish. Do it. Put them online, upload them to the slideshow device, or get them printed.

If you do go down the printing route, seriously consider making a photo book. It's much less fuss and bother than sticking photos into an album, it takes up less room on the shelf, and it looks very smart. I use www.snapfish.com.au but you can get books done in many places.

Step Four should probably be Step One. It's the most important one. If you don't do this one, you won't do any of the rest. It is: Commit to dealing with your photos. Make time. Set aside a few minutes or hours (depending on the type of publishing you're doing.)

As with anything, if you do a little bit, often, you'll be further ahead than if you let the job grow until it's too big. And if you're dealing with a massive backlog of photos from the last 15 years, forget them. Start with today's pictures today and do tomorrow's tomorrow. You can go back and do the rest once you've got a feeling of accomplishment.

I've heard story after story of people who've misplaced their cameras or phones or had a computer crash. "And it had two years worth of photographs of my kids on it," they've mourned.

Deal with your photos and keep your memories safe.