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My 2018 Memory Keeping Plans

Here's to welcoming a new year with open arms and a fresh perspective. 

I'm totally a fan of pretty much everything about going into a new year. There is a shift and a release that I swear I feel in my bones as the calendar moves from December to January. I love this time of year and totally try to ride that "fresh start" wave as long as I can. 

Since November of 2002 I've been telling stories using photos and words and paper and printers and embellishments and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. Over the years I've used a variety of different vehicles to get my stories told: 12x12 albums, 8.5x11 albums, 8x8 albums, 6x8 albums, handmade mini books, digital photo books, etc. I've had seasons where I was totally into one method or another and dry spells where it was tough to get any stories told. 

For me now, memory keeping is a lifestyle as well as a way that I support my family. It's a part of who I am and what I do and how I live. It informs choices I make and it gives me the awesome opportunity to continually be looking through the lens of story as I experience my life. 

I fee like I take a lot less photos than I did early on but I haven't gone back and actually counted anything up to know if that's true. It might just be that my attitude towards it is more relaxed as I've come to learn that I have no intention or interest in documenting everything (little or even big) in our lives. 

When I first started memory keeping digital photography was just starting it's rise and I still took rolls of film to be developed. These days I use my phone for most of my photos and find myself pretty darn satisfied with that set up for everyday life documentation. 

All this to say, as with so many things in life, there are seasons in memory keeping. I am so, so thankful that it is still such a big part of my life. The stories I've told have helped me make sense of so many different experiences and they have helped me both celebrate and heal. 

As I enter into my memory keeping adventures for 2018 I don't have any plans to shake anything up too much. I find comfort in repetition and in finding new grooves/small adjustments to the projects I've enjoyed for a number of years now. 

Here's a look at my memory keeping plans for 2018: 

  • Weekly Project Life® in the same size (12x12) and format as I've been doing - using products from my shop along with past Story Kits™ and Stories By The Month™ products. I still adore this project. For me it's the most open-ended of all the projects I do and I enjoy the time I spend working on it. I still have some weeks from the last few months of 2017 to finish up and you can see more about that here
  • Week In The Life™ in the spring - most likely either April or May (this depends on when the supplies are in the warehouse and we are able to start shipping them to you). This is a deep dive project into seven days in your regular life. 
  • Three Day In The Life™ projects that will end up in my Project Life® album (that worked really well for me this last year). The first one of these will likely be happening in February or March if I remember right. I really enjoyed the different angles we used in 2017 for each of those documentation days so we will be coming up with some similar ideas for 2018. 
  • 3-4 layouts per month using my Story Kit™/Story Stamp™ themes/products. These layouts have ended up being a combination of stories that either end up in my annual 12x12 album or in the kids 6x8 albums. I have really enjoyed just letting the story themes dictate the traditional scrapbook layouts I've been creating the last few years. It's manageable and I feel like I'm getting to tell the kinds of stories I want to tell with greater focus. In 2017 I started 6x8 albums for each of the kids and have been adding stories to them using the Story Themes. I plan to post more about those albums sometime soon outside of the Story Classroom. 
  • Monthly One Little Word® reflections in my One Little Word® 6x8 album. This is a project that doesn't take a lot of time to complete each month but has definitely been super meaningful for me as I go through the phases of my life. 
  • December Daily® in December. I can't imagine my December without working on this project. 

Am I forgetting anything? Ha. It's a lot. 

Please remember that this is my job along with something I truly enjoy and am passionate about. As always I encourage you to find your own enough (read more about that here: Establishing Your Own Enough In Memory Keeping) and figure out what makes the most sense for you. In order to figure that out you have to try some stuff. 

As I work through my own projects and share them here this year my goal continues to be to document what's real - the ups and the downs - and inspire you to get the stories of your own life told in a way that is meaningful to you. 

Thank you for being part of this community whether you simply watch from the sidelines or actively engage in all these crazy memory keeping projects. I hope that 2018 is a year where you find a storytelling groove for yourself that makes sense for you in this season of your life. 

I'd love to invite you to share your own memory keeping plans in the comments below (or link to a blog post if you are writing them out and sharing them that way). Are you trying something new this year by switching sizes or embarking on a new project? What's your current  favorite way to document your memories? Are you letting go of something this year to make room for something else? 

Let's tell stories together. 

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46 thoughts

  1. Jeannew says…

    Love to hear your plans! I will continue 12x12 Project Life on a mostly weekly basis using Design A page protectors. I will use Story kits, Stories by the Month and old Studio Calico and Becky Higgins kits. This will be my 4th year. I have to re-do three months from last year because of a basement flood. I hope I do it! I love PL! I will continue to put any DITL in my PL album. (I did two last year.)
    I will do WITL for the 4th year in 6x8. Love these albums!
    Will finish my 4th December Daily. Just finished 2017. Love these too!
    I also do a listing project called 30 Lists three times a year in a TN or mini journal. Great snapshot of life through lists.
    I'm also planning to do a gratitude/commonplace journal this year. We'll see how that goes.
    I have lots of past projects to do but without pressure - just if I get to them.
    And I'm doing Story Camp this year - so can't wait for that!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Amandainuk says…

    I will continue doing 12x12 monthly PL for our family album (it doesn't really end up any less than doing it weekly, I still fill an album each year, it just allows me to add more pages for big events or trips), also 12x12 monthly PL that just focuses on each of my 2 boys (I fit a couple of years into each of these albums).
    I am also doing OLW (third year), will do WITL (4th year), and all the DITL within my PL.
    But I am making some changes, as follows:
    - I will sell/give away a lot of my products that aren't being used, allowing me to focus on what I do like
    - I WILL use the Stories by the Month kits in my PL albums instead of hoarding them.
    - I WILL start using all the Story kits I have collected - starting with focused stories, and then in my PL pages
    - I WILL make the most of attending Story Stamp in April to help me tell my stories.
    So thankful for this community and all it entails.

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  3. jkmeyers11 says…

    I’m super excited to continue with weekly project life spreads for 2018. After 2 years in 9x12, i’m switching back to 12x12. It was a nice change to try 9x12 (and a huge space saver) but I want more space for stories and room to PLAY with stamps, mixed media, etc. I’ll also do OLW, finish up a travel album from 2017 and end year with December Daily. I love the variety. Thx Ali for all the inspiring projects!

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  4. Millerld says…

    I do a monthly 12x12 PL, WITL (also 12x12 with multiple years in one album) and December Daily -- which I've done for the past 7 years. I usually do one DITL and put it into my PL album. Sometimes it's a 12x12, but sometimes it's a smaller insert. I also do a summer album, similar in size and approach of December Daily. It covers the last day of school (all 3 of my kids are in elementary school) to the first day of school. I keep it free and loose. As many events and pages per event as I feel at the time -- no rules, just experiments.

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  5. leslierae says…

    I'm still loving Project Life and my monthly Story Kits...after adjusting to life and the change in number of photos, different faces, and kid activities as an empty-nester I have found my new normal. My kids in college and beyond send me photos to I can include them in my spreads because they know how important it is for me to see their faces among my pages. I've loosened up and allow some weeks to be full and some to be combined...and not let it bother me that sometimes the only photos I've taken are of me, my husband, or my cats!! :-) That's where OLW comes in, helping me to see the big picture! I'm so grateful for this creative and meaningful outlet and community, and for Ali, for always keeping me inspired.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. carlatte7 says…

    I actually kept up with weekly 12x12 PL last year and am looking forward to the same process this year. Traditional 12x12 layouts using Story Kits because I love playing with paper and embellishments to tell stories. DITL and WITLgo in PL. OLW is getting incorporated into PL. i also print an 8x8 calendar collage from Collect app and add to PL- a fun addition in 2017.

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  7. nashonne says…

    My memory keeping plans for 2018:
    - Traditional 12x12 LOs using my stash and AE Story Kits.
    - Week in the Life. 2017 was my first time. It's intense but I enjoyed the end product. I will do it again in 2018.
    - Day in the Life. I did it twice in 2017. I'll do it in 2018, but not sure how many times.
    - December Daily. 2018 will be my 4th year participating in this project.
    - Pocket pages for our trips in a 12x12 travel album.
    - I want to do a monthly layout of everyday stories in a PL type format. This will be new for 2018. It will go in my 12x12 album.
    - I did OLW year project in 2017, I will not do this project in 2018. Instead, I will do a 12x12 LO for my 2018 word. I realized I took on too many projects in 2017 and my traditional LOs suffered.

    Thanks for all the inspiration Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. kfratticci says…


    I would love to know how you go about saving all your pictures? I know that you wrote about it before but I wanted to know if there were any changes since then? Kind of struggling to come up with a good system, and a good cloud backup service. Currently using Crashplan but they will be transitioning to only provide service for business accounts this year :(

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. mary_charlee says…

    My girls birthdays are a week apart, so last year I decided to do my first Week in the Life and document the week from my youngest daughter's 1st birthday to my older daughter's 3rd birthday. It turned out wonderful and I am definitely going to make it a tradition. My husband even commented after I showed him what I put together that he was glad I memory keep like this!

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  10. agnes_and_co says…

    J-6 months
    I 'll leave a part of my job !
    I need it... slow down!
    and I hope having time to scrap
    always WITL, day in the life and DD
    and i would like finish oldest project
    and the most important for me : to tell, more words, more the essential
    thanks ali to inspiring me

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. MelissaL88 says…

    For 2018, I'm moving to a 6x8 format for Project Life. The plan right now is for monthly, but it may turn in to however many photos I take, that will be good enough. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind and go back to the 12x12. My oldest is in college and my youngest is a Junior in High School. Both my boys are over me taking lots of photos of them, so I am going with the flow and calling us "empty nesters" now. I am using my Story Kits to tell my stories.
    I'd like to do more traditional layouts (whatever that means!). Not sure what sizes I'll be using, but I definitely want to get back to doing more of those.
    I am doing OLW this year (my word is WHOLE). I like that this doesn't take a lot of time each month. I'm excited to work on my January prompts soon.
    I think I will give WITL a miss this year. I seem to do better when I do it every other year.
    I will do at least 1 of the DITL. I did 2 of the 3 last year and enjoyed the process.
    2017 was the first year I actively said "I'm not doing December Daily" and you know what? I was actually relieved! I have tried to do it several times over the last few years and never can get past the first couple days. What I've come to find out about myself is December is a month that I just don't do much scrapbooking or any photo taking. I spend more time just hanging out with the family. And you know what? That is OK!

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  12. Farrbo says…

    I absolutely love how you listed out what you plan to do this year. Even more, I love that you included a link to your previous blog, which encourages each of us to find our own "enough." Thank you for always encouraging us, and for providing the space here to participate.

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