If you’ve reached a point in your life where you’ve started to downsize, then you’ve likely grappled with the difficult task of getting rid of photos. After decades of life, how are you supposed to choose which memories are important enough to keep and which aren’t? These four rules can help make this daunting task easier.

Rule No. 1: Cut Scenic Views

You don’t need dozens of photos of that campsite you went to on vacation one summer. If a location was really meaningful, like the beach at your honeymoon, then keep a few, but pictures of the places you’ve been to are far less special than pictures of the people you love.

Rule No. 2: Tell a Story

When you look at a photo, does it make you want to tell a story about the people or places in the image? Could you share plenty of stories about riding around in Dad’s old truck or about how funny your best friend from college was? Keep those photos. Pictures of people whose names you can’t remember or blurry photos you can’t make out can all go.

Rule No. 3: Edit Well

If you have a lot of photos from a specific event or part of your life, think about how long each “chapter” of your life story would be. How much time would you spend writing about your cousin’s wedding or high school prom? If a certain event didn’t have that much meaning in your life, why dedicate pages and pages of a photo album to it?

Rule No. 4: Throw Photos Away

If a photo isn’t important enough to put in an album or frame on the wall, then it doesn’t need to stick around. Don’t put them in a box you’ll have to sort through later. Let the rejects go.

After all that hard work, treat yourself to a photo album shopping spree so you can start organizing the meaningful photos you have left.

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