Photo of Vicki Norris

Vicki Norris

Professional Organization Expert

Photo Organizing

Featured On:

  • HGTV
  • Good Housekeeping
For many people, the road to getting organized is paved with good intentions. One such project is tackling the mountain of memorabilia you’ve accumulated over the years. If you’re like a lot of our clients, you probably still have a lot of hard copy photos in shoeboxes or in piles around the house. Aren’t your precious memories deserving of better accommodations? If you don’t know where to begin, here’s a three-fold strategy for your photo-organizing project.

1) EDIT:
First, go through each stack of pictures and edit the contents, removing all unflattering, eyes-closed, too dark, or out-of-focus shots. If there are several pictures of the same thing from slightly different angles, pick the best one and eliminate the rest or pass them on to others who may appear in them as well. This should help narrow things down right away!

Next, make sure the back of each photo is labeled with the date (as close as possible if you don’t remember exactly), the event and the people in the picture. We don’t always remember things clearly ten years later and it’s nice to have that extra bit of information. The labeling stage is also good time to arrange photos into categories. I like to do mine chronologically, but I’ve helped clients organize their pictures by events (holidays, birthdays, school, sports, etc.) or by family member as well.

I’ve already decided that I’d like to keep my collection in simple, acid-free, shoebox-sized storage boxes, so at this point, I can determine how many I’ll need. I may decide to create individual photo albums later on, but for now, having them in order and safely stored is the perfect solution for my current lifestyle.

If getting your own photo collection in order is on your project list, spend a little time on a plan of attack before jumping in. Think about how you’d like to organize and keep your photos. Would you like regular access to them, or will they be stored away? How big or small is your collection? What type of storage space is available? A little bit of preparation goes a long way. And once you’re able to move your project to the top of your list, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that all of your precious memories are getting the respect they deserve.

Best Photo Organizing by Vicki Norris

The Best You Can Get

  • Stacks and Stacks - Photo Storage Box

    Vicki says: No more torn and bent photos! If your photo collection is already sitting in shoeboxes in the back of a closet, why not transfer it into something a touch more decorative and functional? This smart-looking photo storage box will help you organize up to 800 4” x 6” pictures into four separate sections. Each compartment fits into one large container for a compact solution. The top of each section is a frame for one of your favorite snapshots or a label to identify to contents quickly and easily.

    • Available in black or brown with contrasting trim
    • Stores up to 800 photos
    • Made of faux leather
  • Portofino Photo Storage Box

    Vicki says: Boxes like this are great for gathering, sorting, and storing photo collections. They’re attractive enough to stay out on a bookshelf or coffee table and they’re great conversation starters… especially when there’s a fantastic image displayed in the built-in frame lid! These boxes come with six tabbed dividers to assist in the organization of your collection. The hardest part of your photo project will be deciding which color to get!

    • Choose from four designer colors - chocolate, olive, black, and cranberry
    • Holds 4” x 6” photos
    • Posh top-grain leather look with black-lined interior
  • Photo Supply Case

    Vicki says: You’ll never have to sort through a stack of unknown photos again! Simple, straightforward, and smart, this sturdy plastic photo case just might hold your entire collection. Sort and categorize your pictures in the eight compartments using the dividers as guides. From this point, you can either transfer your newly organized photos into albums, or keep them right where they are. The snap-tight closure and cute carrying handle allow for easy transport. Don’t look for this one in stores; it’s only available online.

    • Choose from clear/ice or clear/purple color combinations
    • Constructed of solid plastic
  • 6-Case Photo Storage Box

    Vicki says: Seven organizers for the price of one! Getting all of your photos into an album may not be one of your goals, but maybe you’d still like them to be organized in some way. Let this clever multi-tasker help you out.

    Step one - organize your photos chronologically or by event into each of six smaller plastic cases.

    Step two - keep all six cases compact inside the main storage box.

    That’s it! Depending on the number of photos you have to sort, you may need additional storage boxes. The smaller cases can be labeled for quick retrieval. Cases can also be used individually for easy transport in a bag or purse.

    • Acid-free inner cases
    • Made of sturdy, clear plastic
    • For use with 4” x 6” prints
  • Semikolon Multimedia Box

    Vicki says: Now THIS is what I call a storage solution! These fabulous media boxes are both classic and modern in design, so they’re sure to maintain their distinctive style in any décor. With a gentle pull of the fashionable grosgrain ribbon loop, the interior of the box reveals three movable dividers to help separate photos by category or date. Just right for sorting and storing your photos, these boxes can’t help but make you smile with their cheerful appearance.

    • Label holder on the front for easy identification
    • Made of hearty fiberboard with a matte paper finish
    • Comes in three stylish colors – lime, pink, and navy

You will be happy with any of these

  • Stacks and Stacks – Stackable Photo Tray

    Vicki says: How many envelopes of photos do you have that are waiting to be put into some type of order? For most people, it’s at least "several" and at most, "hundreds"! Here’s a way to break that overwhelming project into smaller pieces. Take a few stacks of pictures at a time and use this tray to sort them by category. With the capacity to hold 400 of your 4” x 6” prints and six separate compartments for sorting and storing, you’ll be finished in no time! Once you’re finished, you could stack several of these trays together for a new take on the traditional photo album.

    • 6 built-in showcase frames
    • Choose from black or brown faux leather
    • Holds up to 400 prints
  • Storables – Acid-Free Photo Box

    Vicki says: With the capacity to house 1000 photos and negatives, this photo box can make short work of a large collection. It will contain your 3” x 5”, 4” x 6”, and 5” x 7” prints while protecting them in acid-free cardboard at the same time. The neutral tan color and contrast stitching blends nicely with any environment. Strong enough to be stacked away in a cupboard, but still stylish enough to be out on display!

    • Comes with 12 acid-free photo envelopes
    • Holds several print sizes up to 5” x 7”
  • Decorative Photo Storage Box

    Vicki says: For those of you who are looking for a pretty way to organize and keep your photos, have a look at this beauty! Decorative storage boxes let your personality shine while keeping your prints safe, organized, and at your fingertips. The shoebox size is convenient for a number of storage options – stacked on a closet shelf, displayed on a book shelf, or tucked into a cupboard – and the front label plate allows for easy detection. It’s picture perfect!

    • Choose from a variety of patterns including damask and floral
    • Neutral black and white color palette
    • Acid-free interior
  • Acid-Free Resealable Bags

    Vicki says: There’s nothing worse than discovering that your cherished photos have been ruined from being stored in a damp basement or sweltering attic. Pictures can be extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations and many of my clients have found this out the hard way. Use these acid-free, resealable bags to protect your precious memories while in storage. Available in a variety of sizes to hold 4” x 6”, 5” x 7”, and 8” x 11” photos. These bags are also great for keeping the memorabilia and supplies for your next scrapbooking project all together.

    • Stores & protects your photos
    • Available in 3 different sizes
    • Sold in packages of 25
  • Photo Storage Box

    Vicki says: A great way to create a uniform look and add a shot of color to a space, these shoebox-sized storage boxes will bring a touch of class to your bookshelf or display area. Large enough to contain 1100 photos, they look fantastic in either bright or neutral environments. The acid-free fiberboard construction will keep your prints safe and free from deterioration. With twelve divider index cards to assist you with categorizing your pictures and a front-mounted ID holder, you’ll be on top of your pictures before you can say “Cheese!”

    • Holds over 1000 4” x 6” photos
    • Large enough to hold VHS cassettes as well
    • Choose from sage green, sky blue, bright red, and black

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