Should I Delete My Photos?

woman pressing on her phone

Should I delete my photos?

A question that I often get asked by overwhelmed moms who are drowning in the onslaught of digital photos is: Should I delete my photos?

And my answer is… maybe.

People generally are either hoarders or purgers. Some people like to hold onto things whereas others like to get rid of things.

So first of all, identify which type of person you are. You probably already know, and neither is wrong. It’s part of your personality so don’t pick a photo organization strategy that goes against your natural inclination!

Knowing that, here’s what I recommend:

1) Use a photo management software to manage your photos.

This is so much easier than trying to manage your photos in folders on your desktop, trust me.

If you have a Mac, I recommend iPhoto if you are just starting out, or Aperture or Lightroom if you want a more robust system and editing capabilities.

On a PC, check out Picasa or Windows Live Gallery to start out, or Lightroom for more advanced photo organization.

2) No matter your photo management personality (hoarder or a purger), I don’t recommend deleting photos off your camera or phone.

You want to download your photos onto your computer first and back them up so if you delete a photo, make a mistake, or change your mind, it is easier to recover the photo.

3) Don’t go through your photos to look for the ones you want to delete

That is depressing!  Instead go through and use a star rating system to select the photos you love and want to keep.

Then, if you are a purger, you can delete the photos that didn’t get starred.

If you are a hoarder, you don’t have to delete anything, especially now that storage is relatively cheap. But you can still hide the photos that didn’t get starred, giving you a smaller pool of photos to work from, knowing that all your photos are all still there if you need them.

Use a star rating system to select the photos you want to keep.

What I do

I will admit that I am more of a hoarder and I hate deleting any photos, especially as a mom, since my camera roll is a documentation of my experience, blurry photos and all. Plus choosing the photos to delete can take time.


So don’t feel like you HAVE to delete photos—don’t feel guilty if you don’t. But don’t feel guilty if you like to keep things minimal and only keep one or two of the 55 cute photos you took of your child eating blueberries for the first time either!

If you’re ready to really get your photos under control with a simple but powerful organization system, check out the blog post series on photo organization.  I wrote this popular series last year and it shares my recommendations in even more detail.