Reader Mail: Feeling Overwhelmed and Stuck in Oregon

by | Scrapbook Storage and Organization | 5 comments

I received this email from a lovely reader and knew it was time to bring back a mailbox feature. I know there are many out there who can identify with Nancy. Here’s what she had to say:

I’m one of the many who have lost their mojo to scrap. I’ve been reading your past articles on this topic to help me. I am highly organized with my supplies, photo storage, and have set up a great scrap room. Love my label maker!

Over the years, I probably have spent more time organizing my stuff. I know in the long run that makes scrapping a whole lot easier but I haven’t been very page productive in the past two years. I have noticed one thing – I get back on a beam and then life distracts me and can’t remember where I left off with what I was working on.

I’ve inherited my family’s photos as well as have photos of my own family in boxes [plus] tons I have saved on my computer. That’s where I feel overwhelmed! I am 50 (empty nester) and don’t want to lose sight of this goal I see for myself, of making meaningful albums to pass on. I’m trying to pinpoint where I am getting stuck; I think it’s time management and rediscovering the fun of scrapbooking again. I do realize I don’t have to scrap every photo!

I appreciate you taking the time to read my email and any feedback you can offer.

Nancy from Oregon

Though I often discuss how clutter and disorganization can zap your mojo and get in the way of scrapbooking (in other words, stuck in your stuff), being on the opposite end of the spectrum can similarly leave you on empty. Being neatly labeled with ducks in a row doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity. At the core, the ability to get things done is in your head.

When I see someone like Nancy with natural organization ability, my first recommendation is to leverage that even more. Make a step-wise list for each project, so you know where you are and what is next. Create kits of select supplies and specific photos so can you work without distraction. These logistical tweaks can give a more “type A” personality something to focus on, while still moving forward.

I also would ask Nancy (and others like her) whether all the items that are tucked neatly away are still usable. Are there outdated and unloved products you won’t ever use again? Are there supplies, such as markers and adhesive, that are dried out or otherwise unusable? It is important to remember that that organization doesn’t always mean you don’t have clutter that should be removed.

Finally, for someone who has been scrapbooking for a while, when was the last time you changed it up? Have you tried new products like mists? Have you tried creating things on your computer? Have you made a mini book or taken a class or… you get my drift. If you look at the most prolific artists and writers, you’ll find they all get out of their comfort zone and seek new experiences to stay fresh.

Most of all, I live by the idea of picking just one thing to do and doing it until done. I try hard to not start something else until my first task is complete and to make sure my tasks are listed as doable action steps.

Do you have any additional suggestions for Nancy? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Do you need some help? Email me ( your memory keeping questions for future Reader Mail posts.

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. Nat

    I think Nancy needs to think about what made her love scrapbooking in the past. I think she has a lot of photos and it seems to me like it’s a task – get those things scrapped – rather than a hobby. I have tons of photos that need to be scrapbooked, but I don’t ever want to worry about how much I have to get done. Maybe Nancy should take something from the present and work on it?

  2. Julie Aldridge

    I know so many people like Nancy. I’m super Type A too, so I get it. Part of the feeling might come to from being so organized and having such a long, arbitrary list. Having a long to-do list stops me in my tracks, even though I know I don’t HAVE to do any of it.

    I recommend bringing back the fun by choosing 1 or 2 pictures that you love and using your favorite product that you’ve been hoarding. Go simple if you have to. One patterned or textured paper. One picture. One embellishment. Enjoy browsing your supplies until you have that ah-ha moment.

  3. Karen d

    I have enjoyed the change to Project Life and mini books to revive my scrapbook love. I still do larger layouts in between. Also, as Jennifer suggested, I have picked up some new supplies to try.

  4. Nancy

    Thank you all for your responses.
    Jen, I think will try to begin again focusing on one project at at a time but not moving to the next task on the list until I completed the first one….. that will give me a sense of accomplishment.
    Your readers I think have me pegged……I need to change my paradigm about how I approach scrapbooking. I definitely feel like it’s one big task and not enjoying this hobby that is suppose to be fun!
    I will keep you posted about my progress! Thanks again for your input!

  5. Stephanie Medley-Rath

    I might begin by sending off all the family photos to get them scanned. That would give piece of mind. Then I would sort them in to whatever meaningful categories that come up. The researcher in me likes to see what categories emerge rather than using predetermined categories like Library of Memories (to each their own). I would focus on scrapbooking the photos, stories, and memories that grab you. If it doesn’t grab you, you have a digital copy of the photo, so you might consider just throwing the photo away or sending it off to another family member. I trashed most of my old photos that I did not scrapbook. I sent off some photos to friends and family (if they were part of the photo). Or, you could just put the least loved photos in a more conventional photo album or make a photo book of these photos. I feel like I’m rambling and hopefully not overwhelming you, but just because you have a photo, doesn’t mean it has to be scrapbooked. Every photo does not have to be scrapbooked. Good luck!


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