Both digital and printed photos take up a lot of space and it’s so easy to mix photos that you end up with a clutter of images that you would rather tuck under your bed or erase from your computer rather than review. Sometimes just deciding how to organize your photos without spending a fortune is a bigger challenge than the organization itself. Here are some of the best inexpensive ways to organize your photos.

1) Ziploc bags

This is one of our favorites. It’s inexpensive, protects images, and is great because it allows anyone to write on the Ziploc with a permanent marker to show the contents of the bag.

2) Hanging file folders

If you don’t have a large number of photos, but want to keep the prints you’ve organized in one place, hanging file folders is a good option. Tagging your photos is easy when using hanging file folders. The Container Store has great options.

3) Shoe boxes

A tried and true method of storing photos, using shoe boxes alleviates clutter and is a great way to recycle shoe boxes instead of throwing them away. Shoe boxes allow you to categorize a large number of prints.

4) rubber bands

Separate the different events or years and color-code them with a variety of colored rubber bands.

5) Paper photo boxes

This is a step up from shoe boxes, but a cleaner, more organized look for storing your photos.

6) Plastic photo boxes

These cost a bit more than paper photo boxes, but the benefit here is that plastic photo boxes are specifically made for storing your photos and will prevent your prints from getting dusty as they will be in an airtight container.

7) Plastic boxes

No need to buy plastic boxes specifically designed for photos, regular plastic containers that come in an endless variety of sizes and shapes will do the trick. You may find that the different shapes of plastic boxes are better suited to the space you have to store your photos.

8) Scan with a digital archivist – store with a third-party service provider

This is probably the easiest and most efficient way to store your digital photos if you are willing to spend some money. It is worth the investment to have a digital archivist come to your home to back up and classify your photos, especially in case you lose the original files.

9) Categorize on your Apple computer in iPhoto

If you are an Apple user, a great way to organize your photos is in iPhoto. iPhoto breaks everything down and lets you organize photos by dates they were taken, events, and even uses facial recognition technology to organize everyone’s photos in your photos.

10) Butcher paper with rubber bands

If you like being able to quickly sort your prints, labeling your photos with brown paper and wrapping them with a rubber band is another great way to organize your prints.

After exploring several different ways to organize photos, Ziploc # 1 bags are preferred by our experienced digital archivists. It’s the cheapest, fastest, safest, and most versatile method of organizing photos. The other methods have their place to help you organize your photos, but they may cost more or take too long.

Efficiency and quick access to the digital format is the main priority of our Digital Archives. Organizing physical photos is often a lower priority than digital copies. Once you have them digitally, you can easily organize them on your computer.