Best Books On Organizing

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I love books.


I always have. I am a constant reader. I love nothing better than to curl up with a good book and my dog. I’m a simple woman.

I thought now would be a good time to share a small list of the organizing books that I turn to again and again. A few might be surprising…a personal finance book? Take a look at my list and brainstorm how one of these might help you get a little more organized. I’d love to get the titles of organizing books that you find helpful…or not helpful.

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff
By Peter Walsh
Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul
By Ruth Soukup
The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
By Francine Jay
The Automatic Millionaire, Expanded and Updated: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich
By David Bach
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
By Marie Kondo
Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book?
Peter Walsh is brilliant at exposing the link between your stuff and your emotions.
This is especially important when organizing photos.
While not specifically a photo organizing book, the concepts he discusses are crucial to achieving peaceful organization.
What I love about this book is the discussion about living your life as your real self vs our idealized self. In photo organizing it is so easy to chuck any photo you don't like of yourself...but sometimes that's your best self.This book is one of my foundational books. For me minimalism is not about throwing everything away. Minimalism is about letting go of what does not matter to make space for what does.You might be surprised to find a personal finance book on my list of my favorite organizing books...but follow the money. If your finances are disorganized so is everything else. If you only read one book on this list...make it this one.What I love about this book is the idea that the objects in your house effect you emotionally. I was shocked when I did the exercise touching objects how clear my yes/no response was. To this day, I do not miss one thing I said "no" to.
I do the same with my photos...keep/toss. My heart knows the answer

Protecting Your Photos From Natural Disasters

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our Disclosure Statement.


In the last few months, so many of our friends and family have been displaced by natural disasters. It’s heartbreaking on every level to see families forced to leave their homes, sometimes at a moments notice. Like many of you, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and wondering how I can help during this difficult time. It’s not much but my contribution is to begin a discussion about your family photos.

How are you protecting your family photos?


When I think about all the photos that the last few weather events have destroyed, I could just cry. Those are items that no insurance policy can replace. Once they are subjected to water or smoke they are seriously damaged.

The number one action you can take to protect your family photos is to get them digitized. A quick web search in your area “digitize photos” will give you lots of local options. If you are comfortable with technology, have a photo scanner, and want to do it yourself, that is a great option. If you want the advice of a professional organizer APPO and NAPO  have amazing professionals who live for helping. Lastly, you can use on online service. I’m leery of most of those but I have used Fotobridge in the past and they were wonderful.

Bottom line: To protect your irreplaceable family photos–get them digitized.


After your photos are digitized there are a number of ways you can protect them: cloud service, thumb drives, CDs, external hard-drives. It depends on how much you want to spend and how comfortable you are with technology. I’ve put together a list below of products that can help keep your photos safe.

Please take this time to get your photos digitized and preserved. It is well worth the investment to know that your family history is safe.


Photo ScannerPicture KeeperFire-Proof SafeExternal Hard-DriveFire-Resistant Bags
Pro: Easy to use, compatible with PCs and Macs, front Screen lets you see imagePro: Easy to use, prevents duplicate images being saved, portable, easily placed in safe for even more protectionPro: Fire & water resistant, large size can fit multiple sizes of photos, AFTER FIRE REPLACEMENT GUARANTEE:
*In the event of a fire SentrySafe will replace your fire-resistant product to help get you back on your feet
Pro: Easy to use, portable, easily placed in safe for even more protectionPro: Easy to use, fire/smoke/water resistant, portable, easy to place in safe for even more protection
Con: Only one photo at a time. Only scans print photos not other media types (slides, negatives)Con: Easy to lose, can be damaged by heat or waterCon: not portable, more expensive than other options listedCon: can be damaged by heat or water, easy to misplaceCon: only one size






Review of Three Common Duplicate Photo File Finders

Today I’m going to give a quick review of three common duplicate photo file finders.


When I meet with clients who are interested in organizing their digital files I have three initial questions:

  1. What do you want to use these photos for?
  2. How many digital photos do you have?
  3. What software or app do you use to delete duplicates?

The first question is: Why are you working with your digital photo now?

Is it because you have an event coming up? Or is it because you’ve finally reached the breaking point of not being able to find your photos?

The second question is the heart of digital photo organizing.

How many? You would be amazed. I am all the time.

I am amazed at the number of my own photo collection. I routinely get an answer in the 10s of thousands. To hear someone say 20,000 is not unusual. Can you imagine 20,000 photographs?! It’s mind-boggling. It’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed.

My third question is often met with a blank look…what duplicate removal software do you use?

Few people scan their photos for duplicates. The person who has 20,000 images…I would bet at least 7,000 are duplicates. Perhaps not exact duplicates but the same image with a different filter or a different cropping. Close enough that if you removed the “Meh” photos you would be left with a lot more space on your hard-drive and a much better photo library.

Here is a quick review of three of the most common duplicate photo file finders:

photo file finder|digital photos|organizing tips

5 Best Organizing Products For Your Photos

*This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our disclosure policy.


It’s crunch time. Not only are a few of the major holidays right around the corner we are fast approaching the end of the year. That’s right kids!! It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions!!! Here is a list of the 5 best products for organizing your photos.


Courtesy of Statistic Brain

Honestly, I find the resolutions on this list kinda wonderful. I want all these things (except the quit smoking…I want my husband to quit smoking cigars but I don’t think you can make resolutions for others…can you?) It’s a great list! All of them totally achievable with a little bit of work and a lot of support.


Today’s post is going to center on the #2 goal “get organized” but hopefully it will help you to spend less (when you know what you have you don’t need more), learn something exciting, help others, spend more time with family, and (my favorite) enjoy life to the fullest.

To access more information on each item, click the image to be redirected.

  1.  Acid-Free Photo Storage Boxes

These are THE only way to store print photos that you are not using regularly. They protect your print photos from UV damage, bending, and are easy to store. Each box holds 1,100 4×6 photographs. That’s a lot of storage.

2.Acid-Free Photo Albums

These are for your very best/frequently viewed photos. The photos that deserve to be on the coffee table. These albums are beautiful and should be for your A-level photos. Switching to acid-free albums is a must to save and protect your family print photographs.

3.16GB Picture Keeper

This is a fantastic way to back up and protect your digital photos without committing to a cloud service. Works with both PC and Macs and could not be simpler to use. My only “extra” tip here would be to store this in your waterproof/fireproof safe. That way your images are triple protected from loss.

4.Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

This little scanner is amazing. It runs on a battery which makes it easy to use anywhere. The resolution of the pictures scanned is as good as my super fancy scanner. This is perfect for when you come across a print photo that you want to save and share. I’d be lost without mine.

5.10.4 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame with Email

This is not your everyday digital photo frame. Not only does it show your digital photos in high-resolution, you, your friends, and family can email photos directly to the frame itself. You can also sync your iPhone directly to the device and skip your computer entirely.

These five items are my absolute must for photo organization. They each provide a layer of safety and preservation for your photos while also being easy to use. I am confident that with these few items you can completely reorganize and protect your family photos.


Photo Gift Ideas For Empty Nest Syndrome


As we move into Autumn I know a lot of you are experiencing an empty house. Your kids have gone off to new adventures. You are back to your own daily grind without the thrill of beach trips, lake trips, road trips, or just those warm summer evenings in the back yard. You may be feeling a little blue.



I’m here to help! I’ve got a plan. A new adventure to look forward to. Let’s make photo books!! I LOVE photo books. They make great gifts, great conversation pieces, and even greater legacy pieces. They are as easy or complicated as you would like. And…they are a great way to encourage you to get your photos off your cameras/phones and get organized.

A couple of favorite themes for Fall are vacation albums or back to school albums. As we have just finished summer, the season where the most of us take our vacations, you probably have a lot of great candid photos to use. You could use “summer 2016” as a theme or if you were lucky enough to do something really special you could do something like “Italy 2016.” If you have a child who has gone off to university for the first time, this is a great opportunity to create a small family photo book. I know you’ll probably get little credit from the child but when the homesickness hits, and it will, your gift will provide a lot of comforts. Yay for great parenting!


If you’ve been lucky enough to go on vacation with friends or family, photo books make great gifts. What a unique and personal hostess gift!


One of my favorite vacation spots is Nantucket. My husband and I go every year and as soon as we leave I’m ready to head back. A Nantucket photo book is a must for me. I think that photo books make great coffee table books. It can spur conversation with guests or just serve as a reminder in the depths of winter that sunny days are on the way.When kids go off to school, leaving home, for the first time it can be a challenging time. For kids, they want to spread their wings but are often nervous. For parents, they want the kids out of the house but are scared to let go. It’s an action packed time emotionally. I truly believe that one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is a memento that says “I know you. I value you. You are still part of the tribe.” A childhood photo book is a great way to do that.

It is a physical reminder that no matter how far you wander you have people who care for you and will be there when you find your way home.


Photo books can be as simple or complicated, as expensive or inexpensive as you wish. There are services that will do everything for you and services where you do everything yourself. If you are new to this I would recommend that you chose something in the middle. I know everyone is busy and doesn’t want a project like this to take over their lives and yet there’s no substitute for your real input. You can find a list below of photo book services. I’ve used them all for different projects. I’m confident you can find one to help you create something you are really proud to share.



Unique Photo Gifts

Professional Photo Albums

Protect Your Family Photos

The most important part of my job is to encourage you to make a plan today to protect your family photos.


In the last couple of weeks, mother nature has thrown the mother of all temper tantrums. She has let loose with fires, floods, earthquakes and even a double tornado. A lot of people have had life altering loss and my heart goes out to everyone who is impacted by these events.

As we move forward we can prepare. We can hope that nothing like this happens again but the reality is…it will. If you haven’t created a disaster plan for yourself or your family, please use this opportunity to create one. When I was a kid, my parents would hold regular family meetings to review what we do in a fire. As an adult, my husband and I discuss our earthquake plan. We have emergency supplies. We’ve planned. That even includes what to do with our photos and important documents.

In poll after poll people say that when the evacuation call comes they take their family, pets, and photos. The stuff that really matters. While I am a hundred percent down with the first two, I say forget the third and run! Yes, I’m a photo organizer. Yes, I live and breathe photos. Yes, I believe that your family photos are incredibly valuable. They are also replaceable.You, your family, and your pets are not.

It takes only a few minutes to create a plan for how to protect your photos. There are a few simple questions to ask yourself:

How are your photos formatted? Are they prints? Are they digital?

What type of disaster are you trying to protect yourself from?

How tech savvy are you? Are you comfortable on-line?

I always encourage clients to digitize ALL their photos as the best way to keep them safe. If your photos are in print form there are still a few things you can do to protect them from smoke or water damage.


  1. Get a waterproof/fireproof safe: these are not actually waterproof but they will protect photos and albums from most of the damage. It only takes an inch of water to destroy photos so anything you do is better than nothing.
  2. Zquaredaway bags These bags are made from the same material as firefighter uniforms. They offer fire protection and some water protection. The main benefit of these is that they are easily portable.

If your photos are already digitized…YAY! You’ve already made the best step toward keeping your photos safe. My tip for digital photos has much more to do with your computer. I don’t want you running around wasting precious moments looking for your phone or your laptop. Get your photos off those devices and into a cloud service. There are many, many great options loaded with tons of security to keep your pictures private. If you are using this service strictly as a backup and do not want any bells and whistles I recommend using Amazon cloud drive. I use it myself. If you have prime it’s free, unlimited storage. It doesn’t have a lot of the features of a pay service but for a simple backup, it works great.

If you have digitized your photos and do not feel comfortable with cloud services (HI MOM!) There are still things you can do. These thumb drives from picture keeper are specifically designed for photos. Upload your photos to this drive, they hold an amazing amount of pictures, and then put the drive in your safe or Zquared away bag.

I can’t encourage you enough to do something to protect your photos. Just take a few minutes. Don’t lose your family history.



Great Photo Organizing Products

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our disclosure policy.

A common mistake people make when starting an organizing project is to go out and buy a lot of organizing products. The idea behind this shopping spree is that “If I have the right product/system/box I will automatically be organized and won’t need to do any actual work.”


I’m not blaming the shopper, the consumer industry is working day and night to make you believe that if you only had their products you would be organized, beautiful, well-dressed, likable etc. The problem, dear friend, is not you. The products will not solve the problem.

If you have a great big ol’ hodgepodge mess there is not a system in the world that is going to tame that monster. You have to wade in and get to work.

While this post/tip is about which products I recommend, I don’t want you to be under the impression that a pretty box is going to solve your problems. You need to do the work of sorting first. You need to eliminate the junk. You need to, brace yourself, throw stuff out.

Here’s why.

Let’s say you look at your pile of photos and estimate that you need five acid-free boxes and two photo albums to hold your stuff. That will make you organized, you think.

The reality is, 1/2 of the photos are of people, places, pets you can’t remember why you saved. A quarter is mildewed and damaged and just not worth saving. That leaves you with only needing maybe two boxes and a photo album. That’s being organized.

If you move the same stuff into a new container it’s not organized it’s contained. It’s called Container Store for a reason, not Organizer store.

Now that I’ve convinced you to sort your pictures before going shopping….


Here are a few of the photo organizing basic products that I use again and again.These three items will get you through most photo organizing projects. It’s just a matter of how much do you need.

The links are to Amazon but you can get most of these products through other vendors. The reason I like Amazon is because of their Prime two-day shipping, their price matching (just call them), and the very easy return service. Happy shopping!
Acid-free boxes are a great way to store print photos that you want to save but not necessarily keep out on display. It not only keeps them organized, it protects the photos from damage.

 This flip scanner may seem like a bit of a luxury for a non-professional but I use the heck out of mine. It’s the perfect size for scanning photos or receipts and the clarity is really fantastic. This is perfect for those print photos you want to share or for photos whose color has faded and you want to spruce up before reprinting.


  Acid-free albums are for your A-level photos. These are meant to be taken out and looked at again and again. Unlike those horrible magnetic albums (think sticky pages) these albums are preserving your photos not destroying them. You can feel good that not only are your photos lovingly displayed, they are protected from everyday hazards.

Organization Ideas For Non-Organizers


Even the most organized homes have areas or members that refuse to embrace the idea of order. The non-organizers. In my house it is my husband, who I loving call “the master of the mess.” I’m always trying to impress on him the glory of organization but somehow he refuses to embrace my obsession. Hopefully, you’ll have better luck. In the meantime, here are some organization ideas for non-organizers.


My husband has a bunch of baseball cards he has had since childhood.


He claims he wants to save them because they “might be worth something…someday.” I say he’s full of hooey.

A lot of people fall into the trap of saving things for “someday” or they put off doing that organizing project until “someday.” I say they are full of hooey.

Let’s take the plastic box full of baseball cards as our example. For the sake of argument let’s say that in this box is a baseball card worth potentially $1 million dollars. How on worth would the hubs know that? He is a very smart man but I doubt he remembers every card that is in this box.

I’ll even stretch this argument further and pretend that the card is in this box and he remembers it…look at how these are stored! In a plastic box, in a hodgepodge jumble, getting beaten up with every jostle, the acid in the paper slowly destroying the integrity of the card and fading the color. This is no way to treat a prize possession, a potential million dollar investment.

How much better would it be if he took the time to sort and store these cards properly? He could eliminate useless cards, preserve potentially valuable cards, and display cards that were special to him.
 All it would take is an afternoon, an acid-free box, and the willingness to let go of the “someday” mentality.

When you find yourself putting off that organizing project to “someday” ask your self why. What is keeping you from revealing something of real value beneath a lot of stuff?


In the case of the hubs, I believe, it’s because he doesn’t want to make a mistake. He doesn’t want to get rid of something that is potentially valuable. I understand. That would stink.

My thought to him is that stored as it is….it all has no value. If he took the time to sort it he might find a real treasure buried beneath a lot of somedays.

What reason do you give for not wanting to get organized?