Should you declutter your photos the KonMari way?

With the popularity of the KonMari way of decluttering and tidying also came worries about what we “should” keep and what we “should” discard. And I’ve thought it is quite odd how angrily some people have reacted to her method – how dare she say we have to get rid of our dearest possessions?

But as with any method, theory and practice out there;

Do what feels right for you, and ignore the advice that doesn’t suit your life.

Marie Kondo’s advice has helped a lot of people feel more joyful at home, and it’s up to you to decide if her method could work for you, too. If you enjoy your photos, and aren’t burdened by them cluttering your life, no one is forcing you to purge for the sake of a trend-y thing going on.

And remember – Marie Kondo’s principles aren’t really about minimalism.

They’re about preserving the things that make you happy and letting go of the things that are distracting you from the good stuff – which makes organizing your things and being tidy easier.

How to declutter your printed photo memories loosely based on the KonMari method:

Gather all your physical photographs and albums in one place.

Go through your memories and see if they spark feelings – any feelings. The photos do not have to bring you joy only, but they should move you in some way. If you have a ton of pictures that are very alike, ask yourself if you can find just a favorite or two in there.

*If there are photos that make you feel bad about yourself, that remind you of hurt, that take you back to a place in time you don’t want to remember, or that make you feel in a way you do not want to feel, let them go.

Say thank you to, and let go of photos you no longer wish to keep. I am not advocating holding onto just a few photos per event if you need more photos than that to tell the story of that day – keep what you feel is enough to tell the story. Let go of the ones that don’t add to the story or that don’t make you feel any particular way. Take a picture of the ones you discard, if you want to keep a digital version – and store the files in folders according to event or year.

Organize what’s left – maybe in labeled envelopes into boxes, into albums by year, and display your favorites.

*If you have certain memories as physical keepsakes only, you may want to consider making digital scans of them. We don’t know how long the current file types will be available to us, but having the digital copy means you can print out backup versions to keep in a fire-proof place.

How to declutter your digital photos loosely based on the KonMari method:

Gather all your files into one place on your computer or cloud – even the phone ones! Organize them into folders by year or by type of photos (vacations, holidays, etc.) This will help you see that you may have much more than enough to hold onto per year – and see which years might need a bit more purging than others.

As Kondo has her clients go through their things in categories, it might be a good idea to do so with digital files, too. Pick maybe a year or season at a time to look through, instead of going through *all* of them in one sitting.

Go through your files and see if they spark feelings – look at them one by one or in groups of similar photos, and avoid scrolling quickly.

Say thank you, and delete files you no longer wish to keep.

Organize what’s left – you can create folders by year and include subfolders with categories like events, seasons, etc. Name the files with key words that help you find them easily in a search, like names/places/type of event and date.

The best way to not have to do a photo declutter again? Stop adding to the clutter!

Different from any other clutter you tend to accumulate in your closet or home, digital photos often pile up much faster – which is why I like to stay on top of mine.

As you take new photos, purge the ones you do not like asap. If you are being social with others or simply want to be present in the moment, set a reminder to go through your photos later on. Maybe you can have a monthly photo date with yourself when you go through the photos from the past month?

This way you’ll only be left with the very best photos – and you can be even choosier as you pick photos to print.

Final thoughts

The beauty of the world having *so many* different methods and principles for living life, is that we can pick the one that suits us best. We don’t have to get offended by the methods and principles that don’t match ours – we can let others enjoy those.

Have you tried going through your photos in the KonMari way? How did it feel?

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