Discussing … albums

by | Blog Archive | 10 comments

Today’s question is not exclusive to  digital scrapbooking, it is a challenge for any family’s memory keeper. How do you organize photo and scrapbook albums?


When I started digital scrapbooking, I completed a set of ~20 layouts capturing highlights of 2008. I printed 12×12 and plopped them into a Pioneer Snapload album. Little did I know that I would soon be a photographing and scrapping mad woman!

Now, with a truckload of DSLR photos and a backlog of layouts to print, I’ve realized I need to

  1. print 8×8 layouts (to save money),
  2. use D-ring albums (to save frustration), and
  3. find a new way to organize my layouts into albums (to save sanity).

I expect I’m not alone in this boat of questions and quandaries. So today, let’s talk album strategy.

  • Do you organize photos & layouts chronologically or by theme? If by theme, what are your categories?
  • Are you using Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories method? What do you think? Does it work for digital?
  • Do big events, like weddings, vacations etc. get handled differently in your system?

Spill the beans and let those of us flopping around in the desert in on your secrets!

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  1. Robin

    I have my albums chronologically. I have several different types. I have a couple D-rings, a post album, and a snapload album. I actually like the snapload the best. It keeps the pages close together (like for 2 page spreads) and is easier to load than post albums. I print my layouts 12×12. It’s worth the cost to me!

  2. Kayla

    I use the LOM system because I started with when I was a paper scrapper. I absolutely believe it applies to the digital scrapbooker – you just have to think digital when you apply it. I have a mixture of post bound and D-ring albums and I have to say I like the D-ring much better. I am still 12×12 but thinking a lot about that as I plan future albums.

    I also use the LOM system to tag my layouts in digital software. I truly believe in the future we will be sharing things digitally more than printed. I envision handing my kids DVD albums of their scrapbooks that they can view online. Which leads to another pandora’s box of issues – do we design for screen size? wide screen? It will be interesting to see which companies push out to set the digital standard for non-printed layouts in the future.

    • Jennifer

      I was already thinking using the multi-drawer system as tags would work great, but I was thinking photos… thanks for mentioning that you tag your finished products that way too.

  3. Jan C.

    Funny, but I was just taking a break from trying to organize my layouts into albums when I stopped by your blog!

    This is a real issue for me, too. I have 5 kids and 25 years worth of prints in boxes waiting for some scrap love. But I also have quite a few paper and digi layouts completed and I am not sure how to sort them. Do I make individual albums for each child so they can take them away when they move out? If so, what happens to the layouts that have multiple kids in them? What about family events–how should those be placed in albums?

    One thing I have definitely decided is that I am going with all D-ring albums. I was using post albums, but I fell in love with American Crafts D-rings, and that’s that. They look nice and uniform and are so easy to access and rearrange. The only other thing I’m sure I like is that I have a separate album for Christmas through the years, which we all love looking through every year at Christmas. And I think I’m going to separate out our vacations into travel-themed albums, like the Big Picture Scrapbooking method of doing “Places We Go.”

    What is the “LOM” method of organizing?

    • Jennifer

      LOM means Library of Memories, Stacy Julian’s method that she teaches at Big Picture Scrapbooking and in her book Photo Freedom (which I just ordered).

      I hope to dig into the details of her system and provide some recommendations for adapting it to digi.

  4. Erica

    I use the 8X8, D-ring. Here they have a painful price, but I went to US last month and I bought a really cool one for 7,95, that is why I love America. I use to organize the layouts by time I did them, not by the time things happened. But I am thinking about doing an AAM album too.

    • Jennifer

      I am waiting for Joann.com to get the 8×8 albums I’ve been eyeing – I have a gift card I want to put to good use!

  5. Kate

    This is a timely question for me, I’ve just started printing my layouts after 3 years of digital scrapping! I print 12×12 and store them chronologically (ish) in a D-Ring album. Everyone and everything is all mixed up together at the moment (no individual albums for individual kids or holidays etc) and I think it will probably stay like that unless the kids decide they want their own albums!

    • Susan

      I started scrapbooking in 1997 and all my scrapbooks are chronological: a series for each of 2 girls, family books, my husband’s marathon books, and, books of just my stuff. When the last daughter moved out, I was caught up chronologically to that point. I wanted a fresh approach and switched completely to Library of Memories I love scrappin’ random thoughts and memories, events out of order, digital, hybrid, traditional. Oh, and everything goes into 12 x 12 binder style albums now.

  6. christie

    I have thought about going 8×8, especially when I got 100 free 8×8 prints and had as many of my layouts printed 8×8 as I could with that coupon.
    However, I am sad to say, they just don’t do it for me!! Maybe because I paper scrapped first, and that was 12×12…. but they just seem to small to me. They definitely save money though, especially because you could print them at home on 8.5×11 if you wanted!

    I also have to say that in general, I have not seen 8×8 albums I like very much. Seems the cutest designs are on 12×12 albums. I would like to see more variety available in 8×8 if I were going to switch.

    I definitely think 8×8 albums would be so much easier to carry around to show friends & family though. Sigh. Every time I talk about it, it makes me want to do 8×8. But when I look at the pages, they just seem so small!

    As for how I organize… I am still stuck in 12×12 post albums. My first scrapbook was a leather Making Memories one and I have stuck with it. I also scrap chronologically. I have an album for each year since I started scrapping, and separate albums for major events like graduation, and international travel. They are all the same type of leather MM albums. 2006 is brown, 2007 is red, 2008 is dark blue, 2009 is yet undetermined but i have a green and a light blue waiting for me in the closet 🙂 Maybe when I’ve done 2009 and 2010 with the two albums I already purchased, I will switch to a new system?

    I read through that ENTIRE blog post about the Library of Memories system. I have to say it is VERY interesting. I hope you don’t mind my being long winded, but here are my thoughts. None of them are intended as negative or against her system – I think her system is brilliant! But here are the thoughts I have as to why it may not work for me personally. But maybe someone has answers to my concerns that could show me it would! 🙂

    – It definitely is more freeing from the chronological system and the feeling of always being “behind”. However, I have also gotten around that with my post bound albums/chornological system by just not putting all my pages into the book until that year is finished, and I don’t have a time limit or anything. I have learned to appreciate the journey and not worry so much about the destination 🙂 I do tend to nitpick over scrapping in order but I am trying to get better about that!

    – I love the idea of the D-ring binders and all, and the simple categories. But what happens if in a couple years you can’t get the same albums anymore? Kind of ruins the system a little right? Or can you just switch to something else and it’ll still work?

    – When I have new layouts printed, and I want to show them off, I can grab my most recent scrapbook and tote it around. But if it’s divided into 4 different volumes, or maybe more, because I’m separating them by category, would it take away the ability to do that?

    – I think for me personally, it wouldn’t interest me to look at a whole category of pages like that. To see all my friends and family in one album, or all holidays, or whatever. I think I really like looking at a year of events and reliving it. ALTHOUGH – I think part of this depends one what “kind” of scrapper you are. I tend to be an event scrapper. So almost everything would be a ‘places we go, things we do’ kind of page. All the ‘people i love’ are on those pages. I rarely do a LO that is just one photo, just about a person. Sometimes, but not often. So I usually just incorporate those into the chronological albums based on when the photo was taken. I can see how the type of scrapper who does mostly 1-2 photo layouts celebrating a person, a moment, a thing – would be very very happy with this system.

    So overall, I think her system is great but probably not “for me”… at least not now. Maybe that will change when I have kiddos!

    Hope I haven’t tired out your eyeballs 🙂


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