Why I’ll Scrapbook Less in 2014

by | Productivity Advice | 12 comments

Last week I was thrilled to join Steph, Katie, and Peppermint as a guest on The Digi Show podcast. In our fun discussion, we tackled project goals and planning for the new year.

To find out why Peppermint called me “the Yoda of scrapbooking”, click here to listen.

I shared that I made more than 60 paper layouts in 2013 and that I really wanted to do fewer next year. I also mentioned that I hoped to work on a family album for 2008-2012.

In this post I want to share a little more about my goals for 2014 and why I actually want to scrapbook less. But first, I’d like to review my accomplishments as well as what didn’t go so well.

What I Accomplished in 2013

Truth be told, I had felt like I didn’t do enough this year. (Do you ever feel that way?) But seeing this list makes me feel proud of what I achieved, even if I didn’t finish everything. There is so much power in celebrating the victories.

  • finished: 30+ layouts for 2013 family album
  • finished: 10+ layouts for 2008-2012 family album
  • finished: 20+ layouts for 2011-2012 baby book
  • finished: Story of Maggie Wilson (our dog) album
  • finished: scanned 175+ photos from 1980-1998
  • finished: Before Your Story childhood album
  • in-progress: pocket pages for 2013 family album
  • in-progress: pocket pages for 2011-2012 baby book
  • in-progress: March 30 Days of Lists journal
  • in-progress: Stories of the Summer mini book
  • in-progress: Love the Midwest mini book

What Could Have Gone Better

In addition to recognizing successes, I believe in the value of self-assessment so you can do better next time. Here are some of the high-level reflections for my scrapbooking in 2013:

Photo Library – I did great through May. I was offloading regularly, pruning the collection, and completing basic edits. Then our June was absolutely huge and I took 900 photos. I’ve since been working backward but I need to better prepare for times when life is busy.

Pocket Pages – I absolutely love working with pocket pages and believe they are a huge scrapbooking solution. However, I’ve found that I don’t enjoy the fuss of embellishing in such a small space. So I tend to put it off, feeling pressure to do more than just write on the pretty cards since I started that way.

Layouts – It’s pretty clear  that layouts are sometimes the easy route for me. It can be a lot quicker to wrap your head around a single page than it is to get back into a larger project. I need to work on finding a better balance between seeing rapid progress with layouts and devoting energy to projects.

Large Albums – My big revelation for 2013 was that I like my albums to be chronological and represent time periods, even if I don’t feel the need to work that way and even if the insides are organized non-chronologically. What this has meant is that I want to do a better job of planning layouts that fill a clear gap in each album.

I’ll share more on how I’ve changed my thinking on albums soon!

Mini Books – I find the most success and enjoyment from mini books when they are retrospective and can be completed in a short period of time. I have a lot of difficulty working on mini books in real time and maintaining energy from start to finish. I need to take this into account more often when committing to projects.

Everything I’d Love to Do in 2014

I don’t yet know exactly what I will achieve next year, but I do have a lot of ideas. Between unfinished projects and fun new things I’d like to start, I’m flush with possibilities. In addition to an eager effort to create layouts and pocket pages for my 2008-2012 family album, I’d love to:

  • finish 2011 pregnancy/baby mini book
  • finish pocket pages for 2013 family album
  • finish pocket pages for 2011-2012 baby book
  • finish March 30 Days of Lists journal
  • finish Stories of the Summer mini book
  • finish Love the Midwest mini book
  • start/finish 2011+ All About Me album
  • start/finish 2014-2015 family album
  • start/finish 6×8 simplicity pocket  journal
  • start/finish Before Your Story photo book
  • start/finish 2013 Emily photo book
  • start/finish 2011-2013 Emily photo book
  • start/finish husband’s childhood pocket album
  • start/finish stepsons’ childhood pocket albums

Why I’ll Make Fewer Layouts

You probably have a list like the one above, in your head if not on paper. You also know there is always more you’d love to accomplish than you actually can.

During Start Fresh, I’ll use the planning exercises and worksheets to take the list from above and turn it into a realistic action plan.

I’ll figure out which projects are most important to me and how I can make them happen. I’ll even have a plan for staying on track when new project ideas, classes, and other opportunities pop up.

But even now, what stands out most is that I really want to finish more of what I start. I don’t like having projects linger on, adding more guilt to the pile.

To move in that direction, I’ll need to really focus on wrapping up older projects and be even more intentional about anything new. If you look at my initial list, there are a lot of mini books and pocket albums I’d love to work on.

The math is simple. In order to achieve my goals in 2014 using the same amount of time, I’ll need to create fewer layouts.

Is there one thing YOU want/need to do differently next year?

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. Deborah Van Leer

    What a great post. I am going into the New Year with hopes/plans to do more Scrapbooking and actually get some albums/projects completed. I love the idea of reviewing what has been achieved ( not really able to do that at the moment…but next year) and making realistic goals and plans for the year ahead. Looking forward to getting it together in 2014 🙂

  2. DragonsLady

    Right now I’m in the midst of Christmas 2013. My son and his wife have arrived and yesterday I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies as well as a spaghetti dinner. All this week has been cooking (DH and I made three batches of peanut brittle and I made a Chocolate Cream Puff Trifle for a pot luck party we went to on Friday.) Prior to that I did a major Declutter over 2 1/2 months of my craft room and our “office” including both closets. This afternoon, after my daughter and her two (adult) children arrive, we’ll go visit my father who lives 20 minutes away and drop off four boxes of goodies to a Yule celebration before coming home with Papa Murphy pizzas for dinner. So – I’m not actually planning next year, yet, although there are ideas swimming around. Yesterday, while I was fixing dinner, my son found one of my stashes of pictures – baby pictures of him and his sister and of both their children. Seeing how happy he was and how his wife was taking pictures of the pictures and posting them all on Facebook gave me an inkling of just how they’d enjoy seeing them all in layouts. So that is falling right in with my tentative plans to get started on books about our lives. I also have a tentative plan to start working on heritage albums for both sides of our family. Nothing down in pen and ink, though.

  3. Claire

    So in your family albums you’re going to combine regular layouts and pocket pages? I’ve been considering doing that myself. Are you using the pocket pages for specific themes/topics? Or just whatever you decide at the moment? I’ve also decided that I want to have albums organized by time period, but that the contents don’t necessarily need to be organized from beginning to end.

    I’ve been working for a couple of years on a “Story of Us” album focusing from meeting to marrying my husband, so I’d like to finish that. I also want to start doing (and finishing) yearly family albums, starting with a more recent year and then combining the previous years. And of course, I’d like to complete my daughter’s baby book. Plus keep up with the current year. Whew! That seems like a lot. Looking forward to getting more inspiration from you this year!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I am doing just that Claire! I love combining layouts and pockets in one album.

      I tend to use a tiered system where my most important stories and favorite photos get layouts and the still-great-but-less-so stories and photos get put in pockets.

      Thinking of it this way allows me to get a lot more scrapbooked!

      Inside of my albums I’ve been using Stacy Julian’s categories as dividing sections: All About Us, Things We Do, People We Love, Places We Go. You can see more on this approach in the posts on this page: https://www.simplescrapper.com/project-life-library-of-memories/

      I’ve mostly used this for more recently albums, but I’m 99% finished with one about my own childhood using this format.

  4. lynne moore

    Very interesting read. I have a backlog of layouts from 2004.. I had prepped them for crops then put them in the garage when we repainted the house. I “lost” them for a while and found them a couple of years ago. I have slowly been trying to add them in with my current stuff. But found it’s OK to decide that some of the stories are not priorities anymore. Letting some go.

  5. Chris george

    I’m not getting any younger, and I feel consumed with guilt by the huge number of unfinished layouts that I have stacked up on my desk. My goal for 2014 is to finish them. Anything else will be a bonus!

  6. Tammy W.

    Hi Jennifer -can you explain your Love the Midwest mini album? As a fellow Midwest girl, I would love to know what is behind the concept.

  7. helen howell

    Here’s a change I started making in 2013. I have scrapbooks my mom made of my childhood and boxes of memorabilia from my children’s school years. I want to declutter by making scrapbooks, then ditching what is left over.

    I started with an album I’m calling “when you were 9.” I took apart one of my scrapbooks and raided my older son’s 4th grade box (cannot find my younger son’s box, part of the problem with junk scattered all over the house.) I started thinking about everyone in our family. My husband, my parents and in-laws. Comparing and contrasting our lives. For example, our 2nd son, my husband’s brother and my brother were all 1st graders when we were 9. That’s one page, first day of school with siblings. Lots of artwork and school papers. Some photos. Lots of writing. 28 pages done.

    For 2014 I’d like to continue decluttering, with an eye toward family stories and things I can use in scrapbooking.

  8. Chris George

    Being the family historian I have acquired, over time, a huge amount of photos which are weighing me down. Yet I find it so hard to let go of them, purely for sentimental reasons. Many are not good or important photos, having been taken on a Kodak Box Brownie. My aim also is to declutter & delete what doesn’t get scrapped, except for maybe my son’s childhood photos.

  9. Fawn Carriker

    After grieving all summer throughout Creative Memories’ bankruptcy proceedings and the new company that surfaced, I have happily walked away into a new career as a Close to My Heart Independent Consultant. My goals for 2014 include learning new papercrafting and album-making techniques and continuing to make progress on my family albums. I, too, am the family archivist, and have hundreds of family heritage pictures to scan, scrap, and journal. I am one precious aunt away from being the matriarch of my family, and need to tell our stories while I still can.

  10. Chris George

    Fawn, I hear you, loud & clear! 🙂

  11. Dani

    Thanks for sharing this great post. I have some plans for this year and the biggest are making my Project Life (something I’ve been willing to make for 2 years or more) and start decorating my house.



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