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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.

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163 thoughts

  1. jmbmommy says…
    02/06/2008

    cool...great to reflect! WOW a lot o'pages! Keep it up...and don't get sick.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Rachel says…
    02/06/2008

    This is a great motivator to document the details. Sometimes I just keep the journaling vague thinking I might appreciate the aesthetics but I now see how it'll only be forgotten.
    Thanks for jotting down your process.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Rachel says…
    02/06/2008

    Makes me tired thinking of all that work that lay ahead of you now! wow.
    Good for you to get so organized. I am a bit envious.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Rachel Greig says…
    02/06/2008

    Ali, I did the same thing a couple of months ago, and it really focused my scrapbooking again. I now create less pages, but they are more meaningful. Each one has a story, I take my time with the layout, and use whatever product makes me happy. It's such a great thing to do! It actually re-inforced my need and wants for scrapbooking. Love this hobby!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. WilmaB says…
    02/06/2008

    Wow, what lot of lo's!!! Brave job you are doing;) Are we going to get pictures of all the albums????;))
    Hope your guys will soon be better!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Susan Gilman says…
    02/06/2008

    OOHHHHH I love these kinds of posts from you! Thanks for sharing. I dream of the day when I have STACKS of pages to pore through (I have more minibooks than "big layouts") -still a struggle to "get something on the page" - but your "shares" and your LIFE ARTIST BOOK (just treated myself last weekend....it is my favorite of your books to date!) inspire me to keep moving toward that dream! Hope your guys are feeling better!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Malla says…
    02/06/2008

    wow... this was really great reading and wonderful inspiration to look back in all the albums... I will certainly do that too... thank you VERY MUCH! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Alli says…
    02/06/2008

    about a year ago I did the same thing, it really is amazing to see the stories of your life laid out that way. I really only have 3 categories as I really haven't done more than a handful on myself so I tend to put those into the family/everything else album.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Tanja says…
    02/06/2008

    Oh how I wished to sit at your table and be able to flip through all these pages!!! Need any help???

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Stacie says…
    02/06/2008

    and you did this because....why!?!? You wanted everything in matching albums? Or , you just wanted to give me a kick n the patootie to get scrappin?!?! :) Thanks for the notes! They alone are great inspiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Relly says…
    02/06/2008

    This post made me smile a lot. It must be super nice for you to go back and reflect as Ali the scrapbooker not Ali the teacher/writer/CK columnist etc.
    (And kind of nice to hear that you don't make pages you think are perfect every time, that sometimes your product works loose, or that sometimes there is something lacking - it gives me hope!)

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. jill conyers says…
    02/06/2008

    How ironic. I just posted about this exact same thing on my blog this a.m. I'm starting with photo re-org and my next task is to get layouts org in pizza boxes (taken from the albums) back into albums with a system that works for me.
    I even jotted down notes while I was going through the photo re-org. Often getting side tracked by thoughts of a photo :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Chantal says…
    02/06/2008

    This is something I realy MUST do myself. But I must have a table for myself to do that. And a lot of time,

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. LateBlossom says…
    02/06/2008

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations during this process. You're confirming for me the importance of recording the details. I have so very few pages that are just a pic and title, and it's going to stay that way!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. marlee says…
    02/06/2008

    Grrr... I want Stacy's book right now!! I know it's not available to the general public, but is there anywhere I could purchase it now? I'm so anxious to start this organizing project...

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Paulette Sarsfield says…
    02/07/2008

    Ali, a heartfelt THANK YOU for sharing, you are so good at that :o))))

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. WENDY MYERS says…
    02/07/2008

    WOW! I cannot believe you undertook this project. That is amazing in it self.
    You are so inspiring and not just occationally, but daily. Thanks for making me feel like goals are reachable.
    You truly are amazing. Thanks for getting everyone inspired to do the impossible!
    GO ALI GO!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Sister Ann says…
    02/07/2008

    Ali: what a beautiful tribute to your dedication, passion, focus, talent.... and what one can accomplish in five short years! Brava!

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. vera says…
    02/07/2008

    Thanks so much for posting this! Sometimes I work out of chronological order and that adds to the stress of pulling it all together in albums. I contemplated pulling out all of my layouts and reorganizing them like you have, but I thought the idea was a bit crazy. Thanks for giving me the confidence to tackle the project!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Molly says…
    02/07/2008

    Impressive and exciting body of work!
    I'm very encouraged by point #4 specifically, because the reality (likely for most of us) is that we create the page/story well AFTER the fact and there's concern that we don't remember enough detail. What we CAN add to these pages is insight and reflection, which is a BIG part of what I love about scrapbooking.
    Love this post so much.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Maria says…
    02/07/2008

    Wow...I wonder what my pile will look like considering I have been scrapbooking consistently since 1997! :D Thanks for sharing your notes, as well! A very inspiring post! I signed up for Stacy's class this year with the intention of getting organized, too. Your entry was the push I needed to visualize the process and get an idea of what I'm getting myself into, LOL.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Leah Crowe says…
    02/07/2008

    I was just talking about how I need to do something similar in my albums, and organize them as well. Such great inspiration. How many hours has this taken?

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Kristine says…
    02/07/2008

    Wow! I am so happy to hear that you still love scrapbooking and the process. It is such a wonderful passion--I hope for me that it never goes away.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Karmen says…
    02/07/2008

    WOW! I want this book soooooooooooon! Any chance of "winning" it in a contest from you or anything?!?!?! LOL
    Have a great rest of the "organization" day and don't get sick! Hope your boys are feeling better by now too!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. jenn says…
    02/07/2008

    Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing that Ali! I love these type of posts too!!!

    Reply 0 Replies

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