First of all, thank you. Your comments and tips and suggestions are encouraging. It’s interesting how each person’s situation can be so different yet our solutions all revolve around similar strategies with individual tweaks to fit our own needs. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and expertise with me and each other this week.
I have had a great work week so never fear! I think you were all sending me your good vibes through cyberspace because I am now much more hopeful that we’ll be able to get this thing figured out in a way that works best for me and our little family. I’ll keep you posted as we journey through the twists and turns of navigating this new life we have – as you have all mentioned…it will keep changing and I’ll have to keep adapting. But I look forward to the adventure!
Back in January, when I was getting ready for Coleman to come, I had to move the guest room from upstairs to downstairs in order to make room for him in that space. The downstairs guest room was lined with boxes from the move that needed to be gone through one more time to declutter before I stored them in our unfinished area. Since we hardly use our downstairs it was an “out of sight, out of mind” situation that had to finally be dealt with.
Many of the boxes contained scrapbooks. I started scrapbooking back in high school (20 years ago), when we were using construction paper and rubber cement (yikes!). I have since gone through all those old albums and put everything into 8.5 x 11 notebooks, on acid-free paper, etc. When we built our home I made sure that we could fit these and any 12 x 12 album in our built-in cabinets in our family room so that we had a good place to store everything.
So I hauled up all the albums that had been in the boxes from downstairs and this is what it looked like:
As I looked at this pile that spanned only about 10 years of my life and my family’s life I had to pause. For a couple of years I have been adjusting my approach to scrapbooking and this pile is the reason why. No one has ever looked at these albums. It’s true that sometimes I need to find a photo and so I will start going through each book to see if I can spot it for whatever project I am working on. But for the most part, they are simply a history of a portion of our lives that we lug around with us wherever we go and that we will pass on to Cole to do the same.
It’s better than a box of stuff. But I’m not sure how much better. At this rate we would easily end up with a hundred books by the time my life was over. I don’t want that and the reason why is because there is such a thing as just too much stuff to enjoy.
So, I’ve adjusted my scrapbooking approach over the last few years.
I now scrapbook:
- what is most important to me instead of every event, holiday, photo and experience I have
- how I feel about moments and people and myself instead of just decorateing a photo of an event
- in mini-albums or theme albums instead of stepping through the chronological events of life
- for the creative process as well as the history aspect
- in a way that someone can pick up one album and catch a meaningful glimpse of my life in just a few moments
Yes, I create less pages – but I do certain things more. I journal more, I store more photos instead of scrapbook them, I utilize more online “drag and drop” scrapbooks (like Shutterfly or iPhoto), I create more albums with a specific purpose in mind, I use more photo albums, and I think more about whether or not what I am scrapbooking is what I really want to preserve. I love Stacy Julian’s approach to simplifying scrapbooking while making it more meaningful and have fully embraced that concept.
This is one space in my home where I keep my current mini-albums and themed albums. These little books (and the big ones, too) are looked at almost every time someone comes over to visit. They can be picked up and put down, allowing the reader to quickly capture what is meaningful to our family. They are the Hall version of a “coffee table book” and I hope that Cole would want to hang on to this collection of albums because with this record, he would know everything that is really important to us.
I’ve learned a lot about scrapbooking since I first started doing it 20 years ago but I think that the most valuable lesson is this: Less really can end up being more.
Happy (meaningful) scrapping!