Adventures in Organizing Albums.

This is what it looks like when you remove all of your layouts from the hodge-podge of albums holding them:


Layouts1


This is all of them.


All of my layouts from when I began scrapbooking in late 2002 to today. I haven't counted them yet but they came out of 28 12x12 and 8.5x11 albums.


Layouts2


This is something that has been on my list to do for awhile now. In between doing all those things this week that go along with caring for my sick guys (so much laundry, the never ending dishes, pushing liquids, and dosing meds) I decided to pull out all my albums and finally do this.


This, for me, is getting my layouts in order and organized by date (for some of them) + by theme for the others. Prior to this they had all been in albums pretty much in the order they were completed. (And I was definitely inspired again by reading Stacy's new Photo Freedom book. ) 


Here' s the process I am going through (I am about half way through - I figured with everyone sick no one was really going to be sitting at the table for meals so this was as good a time as any to tackle this project):


1. Remove all layouts from the hodge-podge of 12x12 and 8.5x11 albums and place them in piles. My piles included 2002-2008 by year (each year was a pile) focused on Simon, a pile of layouts about me, a pile of layouts about Chris + I (and our friends + travels, etc), and a pile of layouts about general family (some about me as a kid, family reunions, my parents, Chris as a kid, etc). It took me a couple hours to remove the layouts from all the albums.


2. Next I began the process of putting them back into albums. I began with 2002 and inserted pages in date order (as close as I could). Note: I wish I would have ordered additional page protectors. I can fit twice as many page protectors inside each album. It took two albums for 2002 and 4 for 2003 (2003 + 2004 have the biggest piles).


3. Having a piece of paper + pen nearby to document my thoughts + observations was a really great way to collect all the thoughts going though my head as I went through this process (see observations below).


Layouts3


It was really a pretty amazing experience to handle each and every page I have created over the last five years.


Here's some observations I jotted down as I was going through the process:



  1. I loved looking back over everything. I kept coming into the living room and showing Chris and Simon and saying remember this + remember that. This is the first time I have gone back and actually looked at each and every page I have made since 2002. Most of these books have just been in my closet waiting to be organized. I was flooded with memories - not only through the stories being told on the page + the photos - but the memories of what was happening in our surrounding lives at those times. I love scrapbooking.


  2. There were many pages that I really just LOVE plain + simple. I had the overall feeling that I am so thankful that this has been such a big part of my life. There were also many (too many I think) that really said nothing other than showing a cute photo (more on these below).


  3. I liked looking at the overall evolution of the pages. From the very simple beginnings of cardstock + photo + pen to the addition of stamps to metals to bunches of different products to a much looser/more eclectic style. It was like looking at the history of scrapbooking products as much as the history of our family.




  4. Many of my favorite pages are ones that tell the story of my own childhood using the photos that my parents took of our family. Many of those pages feel more thought out and complete (especially in comparison to others that simply show one photo of Simon + a quote).




  5. There were lots of pages I don’t love - lots with no written story, no sense of balance - ones that just felt incomplete and/or hurried. I looked at them, noted on my piece of paper what I felt was missing and then put them in order and inserted them into the page protectors and moved on. (Note to self: make sure to include words to complete the story.)




  6. I have done a good job including my own story and that is important to me (the pile was nice and tall).


  7. I had to staple a bunch of chipboard letters that had come unstuck and were just hanging out inside the page protector. That was a bummer because I love the look of them. Most everything else was still in place.



  8. I liked that there is an overall balance: some single page layouts that highlight a certain photo (more-so back in the beginning) + others that were two page spreads with lots of photos and a more complicated design and a more complete story.


  9. After 2004 there was a drop in the number of layouts I did for the year. This is either because I began creating more about my own story, doing more “other” work such as writing, blogging, traveling & teaching, etc., or because I had started making minibooks.



  10. I am including both 12x12 and 8.5x11 layouts into the 12x12 3-ring binders from American Crafts. I have a few smaller ones in there (a couple 8x8's and 6x6's) that I decided to adhere onto 12x12 white cardstock.




  11. 2002 + 2003 were almost all single page layouts. There are a few 2-page spreads included in there that were created later on (you can tell by the products + the style). I love the double page spreads - again, most of those seem more complete + actually tell the entire story of an event, moment, time, place, etc.


  12. I love seeing the photo compilation pages. Some of my favorites were ones that showed a bunch of photos from a single year or a season or that compare and contrast different events + times. Here's a good example of this from 2003:

    282568

    If the layout included different years I put it in the later year's album.


  13. I was also really drawn to the pages that included specific information such as Simon's height, weight, what he was saying (or not saying), etc. There is simply no way I would remember those details if I had not recorded them in some way.   


Those are my thoughts so far. I imagine there will be more as I complete the process. One of the biggest benefits of this entire adventure, in addition to simply getting organized, is that it is solidifying for me again the sorts of pages I want to spend my time doing.


I'll try to do another follow-up with additional observations as I finish getting everything in place.

163 thoughts

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25 of 163
  1. Heidi Walczak

    2008-02-08 18:30:03 +1100

    This was such an inspiring post for me to read. I often have stacks of photos waiting to be scrapped because I don't have the perfect page to put them on or album to put them into. I always seem to have these grand ideas of what I want to do with them, yet it becomes increasingly difficult to do that with the overabudance of photos I take. I think what is important here is to scrap for the sake of documentation, get my photos onto pages with detail. Let the beauty of my albums come from the stories being told, not from a complete coordinated twenty page album using just one paper collection.
    So thank you, I'm off to go scrap.

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  2. Judi D / White Bear Lake MN

    2008-02-08 19:14:59 +1100

    I just love reading your inspiring thoughts and useful information. I too need to organize. My word for the year "Inspire".
    You always do that for me. I recently just took a day off of work just for me. I sat in my scap room and enjoyed just looking at what I have. I made some Valentine cards and enjoyed music and ME. Thanks again Ali

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  3. Judi D / White Bear Lake MN

    2008-02-08 19:17:09 +1100

    I just love reading your inspiring thoughts and useful information. I too need to organize. My word for the year "Inspire".
    You always do that for me. I recently just took a day off of work just for me. I sat in my scap room and enjoyed just looking at what I have. I made some Valentine cards and enjoyed music and ME. Thanks again Ali

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  4. Tif

    2008-02-08 20:47:40 +1100

    You are brave! This is a huge task. Good luck!

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  5. MNScrapbookmom

    2008-02-08 23:09:37 +1100

    Ali, I think this is really great and something that I think that I need to do myself. I have a question though... While taking out your layouts did you notice any problems with the adhesive from your layouts that are several years old now? With technology changing and adhesives saying that they are what they are - I am concerned that my earlier layouts with have items that won't stick as well if I remove them. Just wanted to see if you had any thoughts on your early adhesives and if they are holding up as planned. Thanks Ali.¥

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  6. Tara

    2008-02-09 00:29:10 +1100

    just WOW... I don't have nearly as many as that but I just bought some albums to start organizing my stuff too.

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  7. sharon

    2008-02-09 12:36:52 +1100

    Ali, you are my absolute inspiration. It is you who have reminded me of living the today. Enjoy the moments of the day. I'm now taking time to scrap instead of rushing to finish, so i can think about what i want to say in my layouts.
    It really means alot to me that you got to autograph my life artist book for me. If you ever decide to come on holiday in Malaysia, we so have to get together in my little scrapping shop, Scrappingville, to have a class. Take care. Have a great weekend!

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  8. Laura Lee

    2008-02-10 02:00:07 +1100

    I did this shortly after moving to Florida and it was so enlightening. I realized I scrapped way too many events and not enough of the real stuff. I realized I was missing out on important relationships that I wanted to scrap and have concentrated more on the things that I feel are missing in my books than the things I tend to create over and over. At the same time it is comforting to scrap some of the same things! :)
    Continue to look at your books, it will really help you keep grounded in your scrapping! :)
    hugs

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  9. Karla

    2008-02-11 10:31:12 +1100

    This is a wonderful idea! I would have never thought of doing this! Right now I'm struggling with getting my pages INTO albums!
    Thanks so much for sharing! Can't wait to see your finish and to get Stacy's book ^----^
    -Karla

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  10. Christi

    2008-02-12 20:15:46 +1100

    Omg, kudos to you for getting these organized, but I broke out in a cold sweat when I saw all those stacks of layouts! I wouldn't even know where to begin...good luck! :)

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  11. Megan @ Disorder2Order

    2008-02-13 00:05:56 +1100

    Holy Cow Ali. Not only am I so excited for you, as this has been on my list too, it's amazing to see how many people have commented on your progress. How cool. I really do hope you post your progress... I look forward to see what you are going to do with all the pages...

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  12. Liz

    2008-02-14 20:30:31 +1100

    My stack of albums has been bugging me and I couldn't put my finger on why other than 'there has to be a better way.' Your tips made me realize that this is something that I should do, too. Also, great idea using the three ring binders. Mine are all post albums that I've put so many extenders in that they're really haphazard. The binders seem like a much sturdier way to store them for the long haul.

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  13. Tina

    2008-02-18 21:39:04 +1100

    Ali thanks so much for sharing this...I have been wanting to do something w/ all of my UNORGANIZED/HODGEPODGE albums for a while but not for sure how to takle the project. Cant wait to see your completed albums :)

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  14. Tina

    2008-02-18 21:39:05 +1100

    Ali thanks so much for sharing this...I have been wanting to do something w/ all of my UNORGANIZED/HODGEPODGE albums for a while but not for sure how to takle the project. Cant wait to see your completed albums :)

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  15. bonnierose

    2008-02-22 06:40:26 +1100

    I have a question for you.
    re the 12x12 3 ring albums by American Crafts.
    Do they only take THEIR page protectors, or can you use any page protector ??
    Reason I am asking.. I have a bunch of We R Memorykeepers page protectors and others.. would they fit in these albums?? Just wondering if I order the albums.. will I have to order AMERICAN CRAFTS PAGE PROTECTORS as well?? your thoughts?? let me know Ali!!!!!
    bonnierose

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  16. bonnierose

    2008-02-22 06:41:52 +1100

    I have a question for you.
    re the 12x12 3 ring albums by American Crafts.
    Do they only take THEIR page protectors, or can you use any page protector ??
    Reason I am asking.. I have a bunch of We R Memorykeepers page protectors and others.. would they fit in these albums?? Just wondering if I order the albums.. will I have to order AMERICAN CRAFTS PAGE PROTECTORS as well?? your thoughts?? let me know Ali!!!!!
    bonnierose

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  17. Sandra

    2008-02-26 12:10:18 +1100

    Love these ring albums. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to look for additional page protectors now!

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  18. Mary ann

    2008-02-29 17:17:02 +1100

    Thanks for your comment about cute pics and quotes! It's a good reminder for me as to how really important it is to record the story! It makes it so much more valuable even tho I LOVE a good quote!

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  19. Sandie Herron

    2008-04-20 06:10:58 +1000

    Ali,
    I can't think of anyone more real than you are! In talking about reviewing your pages, you found some things in earlier pages that you'd like to change; that's normal. There several earlier pages I'd like to just re-do. Yet I don't, because they represent who I was then.
    Your writing there and now is still so full of your feelings. Sure, those feelings change, since the only constant in life IS change, but you share them openly and freely. I amazes me. What you have accomplished amazes me. Who you are amazes me.
    BTW, one of my dear cats died suddenly a few years ago. The best therapy I had was sitting with my husband and making a list of his special habits, quirks, physical traits, what made him special. I took that list and made two albums from it. When I look at those pages now, I am so grateful they are there, for I would have forgotten some of those quirks that made him who he was. I'm elated I have it recorded so he will not be forgotten.
    Scrapbooking to me is both healing and soothing and creative and a way to experiment in private, or to share. It fills a void. I want to remember my life and know it meant something to someone ... even if in the end it was only me.

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  20. Christine

    2009-01-26 02:47:20 +1100

    You have conquered an extensive project. I find that the times that I have journaled extensively, my page means that much more to me. Blessings!

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  21. Water meters

    2009-05-14 09:05:27 +1000

    So glad to see this.

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  22. Diana

    2009-05-23 19:50:46 +1000

    You Go Girl!! this is so inspiring!Where oh where do you find the time? I love that Idea though, Iam just worried that Ill have it laying around forever! But thanks for your time in makeing it so real in detail God Bless You, THANKS!!

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  23. Ayana P.

    2009-05-27 03:01:41 +1000

    Here's a great way to help with keeping things organized...
    Anyone who enjoys doing crafts should check out this website:
    Just visit: TheOriginalScrapbox.com
    They have some excellent storage solutions and organizations products. I strongly reccomend visiting their website!
    You won't be disappointed! :)

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  24. Ayana P.

    2009-05-27 21:26:22 +1000

    By the way.... here's the actual link to the site I mentioned yesterday...
    It's: http://www.theoriginalscrapbox.com
    I really think you'll enjoy it! :)

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
  25. Relaby

    2009-07-11 17:58:06 +1000

    very very nice....i have tons of pictures and hoping someday i can organized them--this a good inspiration to get started....all i have to do now is to have the patience and move now c",)
    I subscribed thru your email--to remind me how nice to be organize whenever i will feel lazy...thanks for the smart ideas....

    * edited 08/12/14 12:56AM
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