How to Scrapbook When Life Gets Busy

by | Scrapbooking Ideas | 11 comments

Yes I know, I know. Life is always busy. There are times though, when it is more busy, more crazy and more hectic than normal. From travel to family obligations to illness, there are times in life when we are thrown from our routines.

Scrapbooking, like other creative outlets and voluntary self-care practices, is often one of the first things to get pushed aside. This is normal and actually, helpful for recognizing what is essential. There is nothing like chaos to help you find out what is really important.

It is during the busiest of days that we can best see the difference between scrapbooking and memory keeping. While you can’t find time to sit down long enough to create a page, you can still be documenting the moments of your life.

Tips for Memory Keeping When Life is Unbalanced

Keep your camera close. Take photos, but do not worry about editing or printing them. Share with friends if it is therapeutic, but take them for you and not out of obligation.

Keep a pen closer. When life is too messy to photograph, make sure you still capture your thoughts by hand or digitally. Even just a quick status update will help you capture what right now is like for you.

Relax and don’t stress. Focus on being present for what is at hand and soaking in the memory. You will be able to document this time with more meaning if you are fully experiencing it in the present. This is not the time to feel stressed or guilty about scrapbooking.

Don’t tune out. When things are hectic, it is tempting to waste a free moment of downtime on trashy TV or mindless web surfing. You’ll find much more restoration from taking just a few moments to take care of yourself and your soul. This might even include some scrapbooking.

How do you handle memory keeping and scrapbooking when life is busier than normal? What is bare minimum for you? Does scrapbooking help you cope or does it get in the way? Share your perspective in the comments.

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  1. Peggy Slemp

    Scrapbooking is a time for me zone out on what is crowding my mind and focus on something creative and or happy & healing. I wish I were faster at doing things, but I don’t really stress over doing layouts. I enjoy the process, savor looking at pictures that make me smile, & share them on a family website. I may get three done one week and one the next. It’s ok.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I love the idea of “savoring” as it pertains to our photos and memory keeping.

  2. EviePea

    I’ve learned that there will probably not be a time in my life that is less busy than now. So it does no good to plan for later, or a better time. So I carve out minutes. They are precious.

    And I like the idea of writing it down now! The thought I have now will not ever replace what I try to recapture later.

    Thank you.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      So much can be done in just a few minutes!

  3. Salzburggirl

    I have changed my way of scrapbooking, the conventional way, to the Project Life way, and have found that it is far less stressful and far more enjoyable. I think that I have ‘scrapped’ more now that I have in the last years. The pressure is off!!! I can do it any way I want to without worrying about having a beautiful page all the time. The journaling is easier. I do it on my iphone and then transfer it to my journal cards every Friday, at night, when most are in bed! (I can sleep in a little on Saturday) Print out my photos, which are not perfect, but are my memories, and finish a page or two. Now my children have something to read and see and remember.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Awesome – that’s so great that you have found something that works perfectly for you!

  4. Brandy

    Even at my busiest times I can find time to ponder mentally. During these times I plan in my mind what the page will look like, what photos I need printed and how I will lay them out. Then when i have a few spare minutes it is just a matter of putting into action my plans … much quicker than when I sit down without a plan in my head.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Excellent point Brandy – doing the mental work can make the physical process so much easier. I often do this when I am cleaning or picking up the house.

      I will envision all the steps I am going to go first. Having this mental plan helps me reduce the chance of getting distracted.

  5. Kerri

    I’ve learned to cheat using digital templates. Switching to digital over the years has helped because all the paper products overwhelmed me and with young kids it was just too much work to get out, put away and keep organized. My problem has always been that I forget how to use Photoshop almost every year when several months go by without using it. I work in a school and just don’t have time to do much scrapbooking 9 months of the year. I now scrap digitally by using Smilebox templates when I am too busy use photo-editing programs. I pay a yearly subscription that is around $30 and quickly scrap using the dozens maybe hundreds of templates on that program. There is some flexibility with embellishments, backgrounds and journaling using those templates but not enough for me to piddle away hours on. Smilebox is linked to Sam’s Club so I just have my 8 x 8 or 8 x 10 pages printed there and then pick up when I stop by for groceries. If I have 20 pages, I’ll just upload those pages to Shutterfly and print a book. That has been the only way I’ve been able to stay at all active scrapbooking during the school year. I used the Digital Project Life through Becky Higgin’s Ziblio site for 2010 and 2011. I still haven’t printed those books though because when life got busy, I got behind. Finishing those is my #1 to-do item when school is out and I have more time.

  6. Lara Berger

    Hi Lara here, I’m finding it hard to just start scrapping again. Had a big break had a kid now want to get back into it. Can’t get down to starting!!! Sounds easy but not so for me???

    • Jennifer


      Welcome back! Here is a simple process I use to get started:

      1. Print just one or two photos that you really want to scrapbook with a single page. Forget about all other photos.

      2. Ignore all other supplies. Select one patterned paper that coordinates with the mood of your photos.

      3. Select a piece of cardstock for your background that works with the patterned paper.

      4. Find a sketch or example layout with a design that works for the number and orientation of photos you have.

      5. Begin to trim the patterned paper you selected based on your selected design.

      6. Re-visit your supplies just once to select other papers and/or embellishments that fit with the design of the page.

      7. Complete the layout.

      8. Repeat with another selection of photos. One layout at a time!


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