And the Winner Is…Kill the Clutter Project Results

Thirty seven days ago, I set myself a daunting task. By June 30 (yes, of this year), I was going to finish processing my image backlog or delete whatever folders were unprocessed. The reason for this decision was personal: I’m not creative when I have things I ought to do before the things I want to do. Having 89 folders of unprocessed raw images was the equivalent for me of a cluttered, messy desk. It was impacting my desire to go out and shoot (and hence add to the backlog).

I’m happy to report that I have succeeded! I’ve dealt with previous years’ unprocessed files and cleaned up my hard drive. It feels GREAT!

Tree shadow on snow

©Samantha Chrysanthou – aaahh…space and order!

But wait…others were inspired to join in on the journey…

Let’s hear from Stephen and Darwin on how their projects are going!


Now is the time to beg for a deadline extension because after a quick and positive start, it got boring real quick and I made excuses. Those excuses included a busy work schedule, planting 7 trees in my backyard, planting 14 shrubs in the front yard, planting a 36 tree orchard at a friend’s house, half day hiking trips and most importantly, a little 6 month old girl who smiles at me every night and giggles. My intentions were good but the temptations of spring weather won over.

But it was not a complete failure. I cleaned up and removed all folders titled “todo” or “sort” or “unknown”. I had a heavy finger and deleted almost 5,000 files in the few folders I did get to. And although gps tagging is not complete, everything is now organized in a much better location-driven structure then it was a month ago.

I still have a long way to go – but tedious computer work is mind numbing. The good news is that I now believe I can easily and confidently delete another 20,000 images or more (about half) from the archive clutter if I find the desire to spend the time doing so.

Stephen DesRoches

©Stephen DesRoches 2014 – Adding to the archives faster than I’m willing to keep up.


Well I am unhappy to report I have failed. I had 30 days to process 199 folders and I still have 125 folders left to do. I am supposed to hit the delete button for these remaining folders but… I just can’t do it yet! With all the house packing, landscaping, and workshops we did recently the processing had lower priority.  So I am extending my deadline to August 30, that should give me some time to wade into those folder and find a gem or two. For the folders I did do I was pretty ruthless and did delete 95% of the stuff.

©Darwin Wiggett - A long lost and recently processed image from September 2005

©Darwin Wiggett – A long lost and recently processed image from September 2005

Well, guys, I admire your efforts and accomplishments. I think we were all winners with our projects in that we set aside time and managed to tidy up some serious clutter. I think out of the three of us, I had the least amount of work to do, so maybe it’s not surprising I managed to get through my folders. Let’s enjoy the summer, and return to dealing with clutter during our long winters. Congrats to you both on your progress!

There’s another matter to attend to… I seem to recall someone (*ahem* Darwin) making a promise to our Newsletter subscribers… “If I don’t get done, I will give one of our newsletter subscribers a 20 image portfolio review for free (drawn at random). The subscriber gets detailed feedback on their images in the form of a personalized PDF (value $200).” We’ll announce the winner in our July newsletter, so if you have not subscribed yet, you still have time for a chance to win the portfolio review at Darwin’s expense!

So, watch for that draw coming soon! And good luck everyone on keeping the clutter at bay!

About the Author

Photographing the incredible beauty of natural things, filming quirky videos, trying new foods with unpronounceable names, curling up with a good book, sharing ideas on how to live lighter on the Earth...these are a few of my favourite things!


  1. Al Dixon
    June 30, 2014

    Congrats, Sam!!! Always feels good to have accomplished something you set your mind to… or so I have been told. 🙂

  2. Haruo Chikamori
    June 30, 2014

    My hard-drive took care of the “clutter project” for me. ~sigh~

    It crashed. I’m learning the problems that can result from operating on only one hard-drive. Resolving to make sure that I get multiple hard-drives the next time around.

  3. Janice
    June 30, 2014

    congrats Sam, it feels great to reach a goal!

  4. Shirley
    June 30, 2014

    Congratulations to all of you, but especially Samantha! I know how boring computer work is, but what fun looking through old photos and finding new treasures!

  5. Jan
    June 30, 2014

    Congrats on the challenge and at least some decluttering for all. With a new computer that is not up an running and sitting as a giant paper weight my progress is not good. But I remain optimistic 🙂 Enjoy your summer and ;the move’!!!


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