6 Must-Read Tips Professional Organizer Andrew Mellen

We interviewed New York City-based professional organizer Andrew Mellen and asked him for advice on common issues when organizing photos.

6 Must-Read Tips Professional Organizer Andrew Mellen
Professional organizer, Andrew Mellen


Andrew’s prowess in the organization has earned him appearances on NPR, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart, and many other high-profile media channels.


He’s a larger-than-life organizational expert, speaker, and best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life! He’s on a mission to help everyone he meets simplify their lives and reconnect with their core values.


[Tweet “Andrew Mellen shares his professional organizing tips to unclutter your photos”]


BONUS: click to listen to Mr. Mellen’s “Tales From The Pictures We Saved Podcast” interview

We know this resonates with our ScanMyPhotos customers, so we’re very excited to share the must-read tips Andrew provided during our interview. Which of these six tips is your favorite?


1: Decide on a filing system that works for you (and keep it simple!)


Before starting any photo organization project—whether it’s getting your photos ready for scanning or bringing some sense of order to digital pictures—Andrew suggests deciding on a filing system first. You can decide to sort by people, location, or event.


“Pick one filing system and stick with it. There is no right answer when selecting a system—it’s all about how you like to interact with your photos so it’s a personal decision. From there, simply group like with like. So, if you decide to sort by people, then all the photos will be grouped together by categories of people: nuclear family, friends, colleagues, Aunt Betty—whether they are from 12 years ago or last week.”


2: Avoid getting distracted by nostalgia


“When you start to organize photos, you can get swept up in reminiscence, but this can derail the organization process. Because you’ll get emotional or be stimulated somehow, you’re more likely to get engaged in your feelings and lose focus.”


We often hear this at ScanMyPhotos, and it can add years to your project. Remember, this phase is just a game of sorting—there will be plenty of time to enjoy your photos once you’re finished. For now, try to detach from the nostalgia and stick to the task at hand.


3: Get rid of the bad pictures


At this stage, you’re not going to make any major decisions about which photos to get rid of; however, you can take this time to ditch the no good photos. Photos that are blurry, at a bad angle, too dark, or that cut off people’s faces can go right in the trash without remorse.


4: Make decisions on what to keep and what to let go of


Now that you’re left with sorted piles of good-quality photos, it’s time to make the next round of decisions. If, say, you have 100 photos of you with your grandmother, go through each one and look for the best of the best. Photos in which you’re smiling, laughing, or sharing some sort of significant moment can stay. It’s okay to let go of the rest.


5: Digitize print photos


Andrew recommends digitizing all analog photos if you want to preserve and share print photos with younger generations.


6 Must-Read Tips Professional Organizer Andrew Mellen
Andrew Mellen’s book, Unstuff Your Life: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good

“We are moving further and further away from an analog reality…most kids won’t enjoy looking through photo albums. They want them portable and to be able to look at them on a device of some kind.”


The truth is: Digital natives want the images, but they don’t want to be burdened with the stuff. Provide them with a DVD or hard drive of digital copies.


6: Get loved ones involved in the project


Yes, a photo organization project can be a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be an enjoyable experience.


“If you can engage people who are in the images and who want to see the images, then suddenly you’re no longer by yourself trying to slog through a tremendous project. Instead, it becomes an opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones and that feels like a win/win to me.”



We’d like to thank Andrew Mellen for taking the time to chat with us! For more excellent organization tips from Andrew, check out his book Unstuff Your Life! and don’t miss all the valuable resources available on his website AndrewMellen.com.


You can also follow Andrew on social media via: 


Twitter: @andrewjmellen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrew.mellen