Do you have boxes of old photos sitting in your basement or big photo albums taking up space on your bookcase shelves?

If you are a baby boomer or part of the sandwich generation, chances are you not only have your own photo collections, but you also have those that you inherited from your parents and grandparents.

The sad thing is that the longer they sit, the more likely they are to deteriorate, and the less likely you are to ever get around to dealing with them. Wouldn’t it be a shame to have someone just throw all of those precious memories and family history away after you’re gone without ever having taken the time to at least look through them?

Efficient and Emotionally Liberating

If you have made previous attempts to go through some of the boxes of family photos, you realize how time-consuming and emotional it can be. That is why I want to share an idea with you about how to throw an extreme photo-decluttering party.

It will help you sift through those boxes and boxes of photos with your family and loved ones while providing you all the opportunity to share stories, reminisce, and learn more about your family history.

My Sister’s Approach to Decluttering Family Photos

The idea for this novel approach to decluttering years of photos was inspired by my sister last Thanksgiving when she asked if we could all help her go through 60+ years of our mom and dad’s photos after Thanksgiving dinner.

My siblings and their spouses all agreed that we would help by sorting through the photos and taking the ones that were most meaningful to them.

What started out to be a practical way to declutter the boxes and bins of photos that had been stored in my sister’s basement since we cleared out our parents’ home many years ago, turned out to be a time for us to revisit special memories, share stories, some of us had never heard before. During this time together, we laughed, we cried, and we connected in a way we had never connected before.

And… We managed to get through most of the boxes, promising to have another extreme decluttering party again next Thanksgiving.

Get in The Holiday Spirit by Organizing Family Photos Together

With the holiday season just around the corner, if you’ve been wanting to deal with those boxes of photos in your basement, perhaps you can ask your family if they want to participate in a fun family event like this one!

Here’s How to Throw Your Own Extreme Photo Decluttering Party: 

Before you get started:

  1. Ask if your family members want to participate.
  • At the beginning of the party, explain how the process works.
  • Explain that the goal is to have everyone make decisions about photos that they want to keep, share, or dispose of.
  • Then at the end of the party, take the pictures they want to keep.
  • Let them know that as they are going through the photos it will likely be emotional. It will stir up memories, good, bad, and sad, and that you are all here to support each other.

Get started!

  1. Open one box at a time. Pass a few piles of pictures around the table.
  • After you’ve gone through your pile, decide which ones you want to keep or toss. Also, decide if there are any that you might want to share with your siblings or other people.
  • Circulate the remains of your pile to the next sibling. Take another pile from the box.
  • If you don’t recognize people in the photos, ask your siblings to help identify them. They might recognize relatives you haven’t seen in years.
  • At the end of the extreme decluttering party, take your piles with you.
  • When you get home, organize them in a way that works for you so that you can enjoy them and share them with your kids and grandkids for years to come.

How to organize and manage your newly edited photos:

  • Sort piles into various categories that work for you.

I.e., By family, by friends, by decade, by special events, and by trips that you’ve taken.

  • Label them accordingly.
  • Keep on a floating Shelves so that you can easily share them with family and friends.
  • Frame and hang the special pictures that you want to enjoy every day. You may want to put them into a picture gallery in a hallway or wall that you see every day.
  • Scan, digitize, and store the remaining photos on the drive. Put in folders so you can share them with family and friends.
  • Scan and put favorites into a special Shutterfly book. Give these as a gift to someone you love.
  • If you are not tech savvy, use a local or online digitizing service like


When sorting photos, these are recommendations for photos that can be discarded and decluttered,

Printed photos: what NOT to keep.

  1. Duplicate photos or those that look very similar.

(I.e., the same picture taken from a different angle)

  • Blurry, overexposed, underexposed, or poorly composed photos.
  • Unflattering photos.
  • Photos of old boyfriends or exes, people who bring back bad or sad memories.
  • People and places that you don’t recognize.

If you are looking for a fun way to declutter all of those photos that are sitting around in boxes in your basement or attic, try throwing your own extreme decluttering party this holiday season!

FYI, full disclosure, I am an Amazon affiliate, which means I get a small commission if you purchase an item using my link. But just so you know, it doesn’t change the price that you would otherwise pay if you were to go directly to Amazon.

Are you Ready?

Take that first step and open yourself up to a world of freedom, peace, and fulfillment. Rita has the expertise and tools you need to create a more peaceful and intentional life. From eBooks to online courses and personalized decluttering plans, Rita’s resources are designed to help you achieve your goals and create a life that feels authentically you. So why wait? Start living your best life today with Rita’s lifestyle design and decluttering resources. Remember, the power to live a minimalist lifestyle lies in your hands.

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