The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up Your Photos With the KonMari Method | FreshlyPlanted

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up Your Photos With the KonMari Method

Using the KonMari method to conquer your digital photos! As well as time tips & creative project ideas.

It happens at the worst of times. You're trying to take family vacation pictures when phone apps begin shutting down and reminders appear that you're running low on space. You know why, but still try to buy time. The deleting starts- first, unnecessary apps, then the rarely used ones. Finally, you're deleting messages, emails, anything you can... until you finally face the reality: the hundreds of pictures stockpiled on your phone. 

As a photographer, I love having a phone that's a camera. But it's also a handicap, especially as a homeschooler, because then everything can be documented (and it is).

Which means I have more photos than time- especially when it's hard to even fit in a shower!
I was recently inspired by The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I figured if her strategies can help us conquer our storage closets, they can help us conquer our digital pictures too. And they really can! Here's advice from her as well time tips for fitting it into busy homeschooling days & some creative project ideas to put them to use- not just into storage. 

30 Awesome Tips for Conquering Digital Photos
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Finding Time
  • Break your time into half-hour segments: If you sit down to edit or organize hundreds of pictures, you'll likely crash & burn. Setting your timer for a half hour, then walking away is really helpful.  
  • Schedule this time into our day: "Making time" rarely happens. If we pencil it into our day, we know it'll get done. 

Phone Picture Minimizing
  • Go through your pictures: Do this quickly, deleting any pictures that you don't immediately love without thinking hard about it. Marie Kondo's rule from  "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up": "'Does this spark joy?' If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge." If a picture doesn't immediately bring joy, let it go. 
  • Go through your pictures again: The famous photographer Ansel Adams took thousands of pictures, of which he made hundreds of prints. Only a handful are iconic today. The more you can narrow down your life's iconic pictures, the more likely you'll do something with them.
  • "Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of." Another tip from Marie Kondo, focusing on the pictures we want to keep will keep us from hesitating to delete the extra ones.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Photos | Freshly Planted
  • Include only one, or two, from a "series": I took over thirty pictures of this smiling cutie, which I pared down to a single shot. Was it easy? Not at all! I liked most of them and even loved a couple. But scrolling through multiples doesn't let me focus on the memory like a single, perfect image can. 
  • Take advantage of photo editing apps: Once your photos are minimized, it's much easier to edit them. For editing, I recommend the Camera+ app (a small fee) or VSCO (free). It's simple to upload pictures into them to edit too.
  • Sometimes a large screen is helpful: For photos you really like, email them to yourself in full resolution & edit in Photoshop Elements instead. It's also helpful for adding type:

Uploading Pictures to a Share Site
  • Know your photo-sharing site: I've been with Shutterfly for over a decade, and appreciate their lifetime guarantee to always have your photos. That said, the largest printable image size that you can download after uploading an image to Shutterfly is 8" x 10". So if you need access to larger printable pictures, back them up on an external hard-drive first.  
  • Create a new folder just for downloads: Make sure these pictures get a brand-new, sparkly folder of their very own. Mine is creatively titled, "iPhone Pictures." 
  • Use an app: If you use Shutterfly's easy app, it will tell you which pictures are new pictures. Which helps cut down on duplicates- just in case you've ever uploaded the same album twice (guilty). 
  • Sit down with a cuppa: Especially if you have hundreds of pictures, this will take awhile. This is a good time to go to your settings & take off your "auto-lock" which will pause your uploading when your phone turns off! 
  • Double-check your uploaded pictures: Since we've carefully pared down our pictures, we don't want to lose them now. For extra reassurance, I check online to make sure they've all uploaded successfully.
  • Delete all the downloaded pictures off your phone: And relish all that extra storage space!
Organizing Online Pictures
  • Check for duplicates: Sorting albums "by date taken" lets you easily see if any pictures were taken on the same day and uploaded twice.
  • Create multiple albums: Making separate albums for special events or trips allows you to focus on those memories while minimizing. 

  • Organize your final albums by year- If you organize by event, putting the year first will keep them together in your albums. For example, you can have "2014: 4th of July," and "2014: Christmas." You can also move all your photos into a yearly album like "2015 Scrapbook."
  • Create albums for projects: Then copy pictures from your main albums into them. Then you'll never accidentally delete or misplace pictures when you're working on a project.  
  • Create a family share site: Shutterfly lets you create free share sites for family members to upload and share pictures. Now's a good time to copy pictures to your family's share site. 
  • Have a "To Print" album: Keep track of all the pictures that you want to print by copying them to a separate album by themselves. Then you can "select all" & "order prints" when ready.
Photo Project Ideas
  • Self-filling options: Few things are harder than a blank page! Using Shutterfly's self-filling options, especially for scrapbooks, gives a jumping off point for a project. 
  • Work on projects ahead of time: By chipping away at projects using the same thirty minute timer strategy, I'm ready for any special deals- rather than staying up all night to put a scrapbook together at the last minute.
  • Print off extra pictures for your kids: Especially if there's a great deal, giving kids pictures for their own scrapbook gives them autonomy and helps build family connections. (Adding captions to pictures is also great writing and literacy practice!)
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Photos | Freshly Planted

Our Favorite Projects:
  • Thank you cards: Designing cards together, usually with their picture on it, is an easy way to get kids excited about writing thank-you's!
  • Art Cards: Printing pictures of kids' artwork is a fun way to share them. To create notecards, glue paper or pretty cardstock onto the back of photos and trim off excess.
  • Art Cards II: Printed off pictures look lovely on the front of cards. We've ordered these blank cards three time already, so we use them a lot! You can glue pictures down, or page corners look pretty and also allow for them to be easily removed for framing.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Photos | Freshly Planted
L is for Leaves
  •  ABC Photo Books: I love these for gifts, especially for cousins. I'll go through family pictures and create a photo book with a page for each letter. I'll choose the whole page format so the picture is nice & big, then add a simple sentence at the bottom.
  • Changeable Displays: I'm trying to figure out more ways right now to have pictures hanging in our house. Changeable displays, like this one, are a fun way to enjoy pictures first before putting them away in a scrapbook. 
  • Instagram Frame: I love the square format, and look forward to getting some square prints into a frame like this one. It's a great way to group informal shots together.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Photos | Freshly Planted
  • Quote Prints: A nice way to create quotes for your Instagram frame or glue onto a notecard is Picmonkey (free) on your computer: Quick and Easy Video Tutuorial. These are also nice for sticking into pick-me-up friend mail.
If you have any time strategies or picture projects to add, please share in the comments below. 
I'd really appreciate the extra ideas! Almost as much as that shower :) 

Cassidy Sevier

A former classroom teacher, I now homeschool my active three kids. I'm passionate about creativity, curiosity, and finding new hiding places for my chocolate stash. Thank you for visiting!


  1. This is so great! I confess that I am a picture hoarder. I have heard of Marie's book. Though I have never read it I feel like I have already been applying her philosophy over the years in my home as I don't have a lot of room to store things. I don't have a great phone so I rarely take pictures on it but I have a dslr that I use constantly and send those pictures to my phone to share on instagram. I know that I desperately need to go through all the pictures on my computer. It's gotten to the point that I don't know where anything is or what year they are from. I did buy a photo album to make into a yearly album but haven't done anything with it yet. This post has really inspired me to get going and do what I need I know I need to do. It's so hard for me to delete photos but I know once I do I will be able to enjoy all the good ones more. Thanks so much for all these great tips! So glad I found your post on #shinebloghop :)

    1. That's wonderful, Rebekah, I hope this helps you as well! I'm finding, as I minimize, that I'm able to finally enjoy my photos- instead of just being overwhelmed. It'll be easier to do more with them too- which is the next step :)

  2. Cassidy, so glad I found your post today!! I'm beginning this section on my Konmari list and your action plan makes so much sense to me and I no longer feel overwhelmed. Thank you! A from Cal.

    1. Yay, A!! I'm so happy it helped :) Best of luck with your action plan- just remember accomplishing one small thing a day results in 365 things a year. They really add up!


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