How to Collate Your Old Photograph Stash

How many times have you tried to find a particular photo but, after hunting everywhere it still eludes you?


Having fewer photographs stored meaningfully and within easy access, is surely better than a mass of images hidden away in various old boxes.

After sorting all the photographs into the KEEPERS and OTHERS box (previous post) my task became rather more strategic.

List specific individuals and occasions such as:

  • Key family members (Mum, Dad, Siblings, Nieces etc)
  • Extended family (Grandparents, aunts, cousins etc)
  • Special friends (A, B, C etc)
  • Key family Events (Birthdays, Weddings, Holidays, starting school etc)
  • Important Places (we lived in, we visited)
  • Historical (Images that placed someone at a historical moment or a historical place)

Taking the KEEPERS, carefully sort photographs into piles according to the list.

Some photographs will have several people in them so add separate piles of:

  • Couples or Pairs
  • Family groups
  • Groups of friends



Post it Notes, elastic bands and old envelopes are great for labelling and keeping piles together.


Those photos of people from the past for whom there is painful history? Some examples:

  • ex-partners
  • a ‘disgraced’ family member
  • friendships that faded
  • traumatic events like a car accident

Can create awkwardness for other family members who might be viewing a collection.

Making decisions whether to keep them or not is emotional and fraught with hooks. I placed ours to one side – in a labelled pile FOR ANOTHER TIME – in order to concentrate on getting the bigger task done.

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