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If I Could Start from Scratch

As all things tend to do, my scrapbooking trends towards disorder and lack of focus as time goes on. Thus I intentionally reign myself in every few months with a personal check-in.

During this time I’ll look at my planning workbook (included with our membership) and see how my progress measures up with my plans. I’ll evaluate, adjust, and move forward.

I love knowing where I’m at, but there’s an additional element of query I’ve been craving. Every so often I find myself whispering a very big question in my own ear:

What would you do if you could start from scratch?

To be honest, the answer to this question scares me a little. But I don’t let that stop me from listening to the answer. I lean in, feeling brave, as I discover what inner me has to say.

If You Could Start from Scratch - Simple Scrapper

I have found that my craving for less complication and more simplicity directs my response. I try to use this question to guide small shifts in my projects and overall direction.

What I Would Do Differently

For context, let me first state that I’m currently creating 3-5 layouts and a 3-4 pocket pages each month. I’m also working on my photo library and finishing older projects.

Every time I’ve asked myself this huge, loaded question there is one answer that always bubbles up: photo books. If I could start from scratch today, I would probably create multiple photo books each year, but not about the current year.

They would be curated explorations of time + context with just words and photos. Maybe I would include some digital stamps for embellishment, but I would probably not do any traditional scrapbooking.

For example, I would like to create a photo book for pre-baby life, 2007-2011. It would focus on what my life was like after meeting my husband but before I had Emily. Since I’m starting from scratch, I wouldn’t worry that I already have dozens of layouts on this topic.

Focusing on retrospective photo books and not right now memory keeping would create more space for routine photo library maintenance and sharing of those current images with family. I also wouldn’t have any concern about how much I’m shopping vs. how much I’m scrapping with those supplies.

The problem with this scenario is that I do really enjoy the process of creating with my hands. This is why I transitioned from digital to paper scrapbooking in 2011. I would miss it if I only created photo books.

What I Will Do Differently

The more I really think about this question, the more I realize the work I still need to do in simplifying my process. Given that I’m not a super-prolific scrapbooker, I don’t think my current project list needs to be changed too much.

What I need is to do is create more space for this work on photo books. Clearly they hold a significance in my conscience as an efficient, effective means to get stories documented in a beautiful way.

I’m not sure yet how this will play out, but I couldn’t wait to share this question with you. It is one simple sentence with a potentially profound impact on simplifying your scrapbooking.

So now it’s your turn… what would you do if you could start from scratch?

20 Responses to If I Could Start from Scratch

  1. Deanna Ridgway April 29, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    If I could start from scratch I would keep tools & supplies to just the basics, and not buy so much! I would use kits/coordinating products, and would do more digital scrapbooking. Hmmmm, I guess it’s never to late to start from scratch right? I could do a huge purge and start all over! Great question Jennifer, you have really got me thinking this morning! :-)

    • Jennifer Wilson April 29, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      I agree it’s never too late to head in the direction of your desires! There are no rules.

  2. Gina April 29, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    Similar to Deanna, I would not buy so much. I’ve bought so much that I know I won’t use that I guess I should do a purge. (I do still like most of it though!) I’ve recently started to subscribe to a kit and find it so much easier to scrapbook with since it’s all picked out and I just get to play. I guess the picking out products that work together is my biggest challenge.

  3. Cheri Stine April 29, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    I wish I would have had a process in place to keep my photos organized. I have such a back log of photos in the old plastic albums and in random boxes. It becomes overwhelming to sort and organize these. I also wish I would not have been so ready to purchase tools and organizing systems without first thinking through what might work for me. I’m getting so much better at purging my stash of tools and supplies but if I could start fresh and know then what I know now, I would have saved a bundle of money!

  4. Sue April 29, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    Less purchases for sure. But if I could go back in time to start over, I would want to add more journaling to the pages. wish I would have asked and made notes of questions and answers from my deceased parents and deceased in-laws about their parents, grandparents, growing up and early married years etc.

  5. Lisa April 29, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    I agree with Sue, more journaling. I look back at some layouts and can’t remember as much as I would like. I didn’t even date many of my early pages!

  6. Cyndi Brideaux April 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Photo storage! I did get them in chronological order but I wished I had put them in photo albums for easy access. And the past few years I haven’t been printing much. That bugs me. I need them printed. And I need to be able to flip through them easily to spark stories. I have four decades of photos. Not easy to see when they are in shoe boxes.

  7. Karen Walker April 30, 2014 at 6:23 am #

    My answer is quite different. I would start scrapbooking years before I discovered it (and photography). I missed recording so much of my kids’ lives since I discovered this hobby after they were grown. (I did a huge purge of my supplies in January, and must say I haven’t missed one thing yet.)

  8. Sharon May 3, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    If I could start from scratch, I would:
    1. Do only 8.5″ x 11″ pages only (less expensive and takes up much less room)
    2. Buy much less stuff…especially tools and die cutters
    3. Worry less about the look of the page (products) and simply get the photo and the story down. I’d have twice as many albums by now if I hadn’t worried so much about the “perfect” PP, title, photo arrangement etc.
    4. Taken a photography class
    5. Included myself in more pictures after the kids were born

    • Jennifer Wilson May 3, 2014 at 7:36 am #

      Great list Sharon! Which of these will you do next?

  9. Tiffany May 3, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    If I could start from scratch with my scrapbooks, I would have focused more on the story than making glorified photo albums. Most of my earlier pages don’t say a whole lot of anything. A lot of “we had a fun day” journaling. The pages that I look back on and love are the ones give insight.
    I also wouldn’t have bought so much and what I bought wouldn’t have been so theme driven.

  10. Scrappyjen May 5, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    Oh wow I have so many bits of advice I would give to myself if I could start over.
    1. Spend less time planning and get to the actual act of scrapping more.
    2. Stop pushing things around the page and just go with your gut – it will turn out beautiful.
    3. Watch less tellie and make more scrapbooks.
    4. Just because your not sure about scrapping certain parts of your life don’t let it stop you from scrapping others.
    5. Scrapbook your everyday details, you will want to know this stuff later
    6. Organize you photos chronologically – physical & digital – that’s just the way you think so don’t go against your natural tendencies you’ll only create work for yourself.
    7. Buy the best photo printer & digital camera you can afford as soon as you can and learn how to use photoshop, it will be the best investment in your scrapbooking ever because you can scrap on demand.
    8. and put the date on everything! – photos, layouts, journalling written on random bits of paper, you will not remember and no matter how hard you try, you will not get back to it all straight away, some of it will have to wait and that okay too.

  11. J.leija May 11, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    I wish I had bought as nice a camera as possible, as early as I could have. I wish I would have known to make sure the settings were at their highest quality (regardless of the space I was saving on my SD card)

    I wish I had invested in a photo management system years and years ago!

    I wish I had written more down. I wish I had kept some journals.

  12. Sky May 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Interesting question…I am starting from scratch.
    In 2010, my house burned and I lost years of scrapbooks, photos, videos and supplies.
    My heart was broken for several years. Everything in the house was STUFF but those items were priceless.
    I found out about digital scrapbooking from Pinterest and it met my need for scrapbooking and the scrapbooked page could never be lost again.
    The one thing that I wish I had done was open all those scrapbooks (some were burned, some were wet and most were moldy) and taken pictures of what was left. I would have had a picture of a picture but if it was important to scrapbook then it had a memory.
    I tell my story to everyone I know who scraps – take a picture of the page. Somehow make a digital copy – you never know what will happen in your life. Never in a million years would I have thought my house would burn down and I was not prepared.
    I am really having fun doing my grandchildren’s scrapbooks digitally and will try to assemble books for my kids based on pictures I have gotten from friends and family from the years before the fire.
    My advice is to back it all up, scan it into a program, move your videos to a safer medium and take pictures of your kids treasured items. Learn from my loss.

    • Jennifer Wilson May 11, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      Thank you so much for sharing your story Sky. I’m sorry for your loss and yes, I do hope others can learn from it.

  13. Gab May 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    Fantastic question.
    Definitely buy less.
    Not let my husband’s dislike of scrapbooking (probably because of the money I’ve spent on it!) stop me from scrapping as much as I want to.
    Not feel obliged to scrap every single event.
    Take Stacy Julian’s LOM class the first year it was offered

  14. Tara May 14, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    That is the best advice I have heard!! I am so sorry for your loss, Sky. :(

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