Album planning so you can Catch Up on your scrapbooks

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We all may have different scrapbooking styles but I'll bet we all have similar goals in mind when we set out to scrapbook - first, spend time in a creative endeavour that results in something beautiful to share with our family and friends; and second, to save our memories for generations to come by ensuring our photos and memories are safely archived in albums.

Those of you who lean more towards the second goal of saving your memories, may have expereinced the "oh dear, I'll never catch up" moment! Yes?! I have too. But, since I'm also focused on the creativity of scrapbooking, I've decided that regular photo albums just won't do for me. I know I'll never get around to filling up photo albums because the result simply doesn't inspire me.

So, how can we scrapbook in such a way that allows us to have lots of albums of preserved memories that meet our demands for creativity while being simple enough to allow us to have the time to actually finish albums rather than just layouts??!!

I'd like to start off mentioning that we do need to keep the end in mind - that is, completed albums that our future generations can enjoy and explore our lives. I've discovered old photo albums, old scrapbooks and envelopes of old photos from my ancestors, no prizes to guess which format was more 'valuable' in my eyes... the scrapbook of course! It was hand crafted, there were journals and photos. The photo album had no captions and the envelope of photos had no names written on the back. Oh dear!

So, don't let that happen to your memories, let's make a plan for your albums so you can "catch up"!  

I started my making a resolution:
"I ACKNOWLEDGE that I want to preserve my memories in a more creative way than a simple photo  album, ACCEPT that there are some photos and events that deserve or NEED a very special, creative layout, AGREE that some photos are just junk, they can stay in the shoe box, computer disk or the bin. Then, ACCEPT that the rest of the photos tell the story and they DESERVE to be displayed."

Here's my plan:

Note: You'll need to customise this for your particular situation - how many shoe boxes of photos you have, how many albums you've already completed etc.

Step 1: Create your ALBUM FRAMEWORK
Do a QUICK review of the photos you have that are not in albums (or ones in photo albums you want to add to your scrapbooks). Don't get bogged down, this is just a memory jogger.

Think about the albums you have completed already (if any!). Are they working to tell the story? Are there gaps? Do you prefer a different approach?

Now, WRITE DOWN a list of album titles you would like to have to tell your whole story. These may be annual albums, family member albums, special event albums etc.  Be sure to include the ones you have already done.

This list is your ALBUM FRAMEWORK, put this up on the wall near your scrap area. The hard part is done! Really, it is! Now everytime you scrap a layout you will think about your album framework and make sure the layout will fit into one of those albums! Already making progress because you have the FRAMEWORK to help you scrap with the END IN MIND (completed albums)!

Now you have your FRAMEWORK and you are ready to actively fill up those albums. Here we go...
1) Refine your FRAMEWORK, you need to select a format for each album
  •  Think about the story this album will tell,
  •  Think about the photos and layouts to go into this layout
  •  Think about the journalling the album will require
Now next to your album titles on your FRAMEWORK, WRITE down the album FORMAT that will work best for each album title - eg. 12x12, 8x8, 6x6, etc. If you have an album, assign it, if you need to buy one, think about the style/brand you want.

2) Collect some STORAGE materials for your work-in-progress
  • You'll need an photo storage system that can be indexed. This can be shoeboxes with labels and dividers, or a purchased organiser.  Label each box or section of your organiser with an ALBUM TITLE from your FRAMEWORK list.
  • You may also like to have a work-in-progress album in your most common format (eg. 12x12). I use mine to keep the photos, journals and papers for each layout together in a plastic sleeve, and to help me visualise the order of the album as I go.
  • You may also like to have negative storage sleeves if you have a lot of old negatives.
3) Start SORTING YOUR PHOTOS into your storage system
  • If you're into FLYLADY, go ahead and use your timer. Just set it for 15 minutes and sort some photos. No big stress, just put them in the storage place according to what ALBUM TITLE the photo belongs. Do 15 minutes a day and it'll be easy. Don't get discouraged by a huge pile of old photos, just to little bits at a time.
  •  TIP: keep your notebook/journal handy, you may REMEMBER DETAILS when you first sight the photos that you should to jot down to jog your memory again when you are making that album. Use page headings for each ALBUTM TITLE so you can find the notes later!
  • TIP: Be careful about separating old rolls of film too much. You may find you need the context of the other photos to identify and journal certain photos. Use your notebook and keep similar blocks of photos together.
  • TIP: If your NEGATIVES are still around, file them in the ALBUM TITLE section that most applies to that roll of film. I wouldn't attempt to separate negatives at this point.

So far so good!

You have an ALBUM FRAMEWORK so you know what goes where and in what size layout!
You have a storage system that matches your FRAMEWORK... really you now have albums, just still in stacks of photos though :-)!!!

This step might take a while, but don't fret it will get done. Also, you do not have to sort ALL the photos to start an album. If you know your 'pile' of photos pretty well, you'll have a good idea of when you have sorted all the appropriate photos into an ALBUM section of your organiser. At that point you can move on to the next step, "Make a simple, speedy Scrapbook"

The next guide will talk about how I " Make a simple, speedy, Scrapbook"!!

Hope this helps! Remember, your descendants will thank you for even getting this far!

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