Ah, the WordPress Media Library. It’s your site’s “closet” of images, videos and files. And just like any closet, it occasionally needs to be cleaned out.
What needs to go? Most media library culprits are unused or “unassigned” files, as well as multiple versions of the same file. These files are basically just taking up unnecessary space and can be removed.
To get started: From the WordPress dashboard, visit Media > Library.
From this panel, you’ll see your media library files. These files are sorted into columns containing file information with a thumbnail, “file name (and file type)”, “author,” “attached to,” and date uploaded.
Sort files by Unattached.
You’ll see your files sorted now by their “unattached” status. Sorting files in this way offers an easy way to scan for multiple files or files that aren’t currently being used on your site.
Scan for duplicate and unnecessary files.
From here, look for duplicate or multiple versions of the same file. Check for files that can be removed because they weren’t used in any post, page or gallery–and delete.
A few tips for a “tidier” WordPress Media Library:
Always optimize your images for the web. Don’t slow your page load time by using ridiculously large images. In Photoshop, use the “save for web” function. Generally, medium quality is still good enough for the web without significant quality loss and can reduce the file size by over 60%. Mac users: check out ImageOptim for easy/speedy optimization.
Use the WordPress Image Editor to resize images. To avoid uploading multiple versions of the same image because of different sizing specifications, use the built-in image editor. From the dashboard, visit the media library and click the file name. Click “Edit” and then “Edit Image.” From here, you can scale, crop, rotate, or flip the image. Click “Update Media” and the new file version will be saved. If you need to revert back to the original version, edit again and click “Restore Original Image.”
Delete unnecessary or duplicate files you’ve uploaded before publishing a post or page. Getting into this habit before you publish will help lighten your spring cleaning load next year. Add this to your “publishing checklist” (we’ll cover more about this next week!), to make sure each post or page didn’t add unnecessary files to your media library.