Over the years I’ve created hundreds of digital and paper layouts as well as many smaller albums. One of the questions I get asked more than any other is how I keep it all organized.
Until recently I didn’t have one single home for my scrapbook albums. Some were in my closet, others in my bedroom, and still others on a bookshelf.
I am so excited that my albums have been reunited under one roof! In this post I’ll share an inventory of my entire album library as well as thoughts on where I’m going from here.
I will preface this inventory by saying my library of albums is a work in progress. There is a lot of unfinished work and imperfection here. A couple of the albums you see here are even empty.
Top row, starting from the left…
- 5.5×8.5, yellow – pregnancy & birth album, hybrid
- 8×8, brown – Library of Memories albums for digital layouts
- 8×8, yellow – Week in the Life layouts & photo collages
- 8×8, aqua – empty
- basket – assorted mini albums, including December Daily
- gray Handbook – 2014 One Little Word project
- brown PL mini album – focuses on our dog
- cream PL mini album – December 2014
- black photo album – photos of me and my husband
- black photo book – our wedding, created via iPhoto
- black photo book – trip to Europe, created via iPhoto
Bottom row, starting from the left…
- 12×12 purple – holds Project Life page protectors
- 12×12 purple – my daughter 2011 to 2012
- 12×12 aqua – my life 1980 to 2011
- 12×12 aqua – my life 2012 to present
- 12×12 cream – our family 2008 to 2012
- 12×12 cream – our family 2013
- 12×12 cream – our family 2014
- 12×12 cream – empty
- 8.5×11 blue – our vacations to Michigan
- 8.5×11 yellow – all about me / day in the life
Unless otherwise indicated, all of my albums are We R Memory Keepers brand. I will most often purchase my albums from Joann or Scrapbooking Warehouse.
The projects in bold are ones that are a higher priority for me right now. I am always working on the current year, but try to limit the number of projects of previous years that are on deck.
Thoughts, Plans & Operating Rules
I absolutely love the WRMK albums, especially their color selection. Most obviously, I need to re-do my spine labels as so many albums are missing them. The original labels are 3cm x 6cm and I plan on using the Proxima Nova font.
I had originally organized my albums by a purely Library of Memories (i.e. categorical) approach but ended up not loving it. I love Stacy’s concept, as shared in Photo Freedom and her classes, and use it to tag my photos and create sections within albums. However I personally like the albums themselves to be focused more on specific periods of time.
That said, I have a deliberate mix of chronological and non-chronological structure to my album library. I do have people- and place-specific divisions, which are represented by the different colored albums on the second row. The intent is for each color to be chronological from left to right.
I scrapbook about my daughter and myself a disproportionate amount compared with my husband, stepsons, friends, and other family members. Most of my layouts are going (and will go) into the cream family albums, but it made sense to keep some of my work that focuses on just her (purple) or just me (aqua) in separate albums.
My current plan is to move a selection of the best (i.e. most meaningful) 8×8 digital layouts into the 12×12 albums. A lot of my early digital scrapbooking was not story-focused and some layouts didn’t even have journaling. Many of the photos were of extended rather than immediate family. I will likely keep one 8×8 album just for those less interesting pages.
As I indicated above, my 2014 projects are at the top of my priority list as well as finishing up some pocket pages from the past few years. My initial approach to pocket pages, i.e. Project Life + Library of Memories, has been so helpful but also imperfect in a few ways.
The biggest change for me in 2014 is how I’m approaching pocket pages in my family albums. After two years of following one approach, I’m testing a small tweak to the system this year. That’s really a conversation by itself, so look for a post soon!
How are your scrapbook albums organized?
This is great Jennifer! I love the albums as well & have been transferring old post bound albums to these… I have a ‘mountain’ of mini books & lots of themed (and often not finished) albums… I haven’t organized my albums into specific categories & more often then not I just slip my pages into an album as I go! It often makes it a little tricky when I’m looking for a specific event, and would love the perfect solution:o) I have most of my albums in one place and I love that… keep up the good work & thanks for sharing!
Having your layouts in albums means they are protected so you can feel assured that figuring out your perfect solution isn’t urgent. It may just take some serious thought!
Thank you for this post. It’s inspired me to think more deeply about reorganizing my albums and the “system” I have, which is mixed between chronological and something similar to Stacy Julian’s recommended system. I think I might want to go back to some sort of chronological organization, but I’m not quite sure yet. Pondering…
The top question is whether your system is working for you. If it doesn’t require a lot of thought or maintenance then even an imperfect system still might be the right one!
Ok, you prompted me to count the scrapbooks in my house … 86! Wow, I knew I had a lot but it’s been a few years since I counted. Most are 12×12, some are 8.5 x 11 and a few mini books. Most are traditional paper scrapbooks, some are project life, and a few are digital books. I’ve been scrapping for 15 years, I started when my boys were 1 and 3, they are now 16 and 18. Since I have so many books, I have bookshelves in every room with scrapbooks, (every bedroom, living room, family room, office, and scrapbook room). I started with post bound books and evolved to 3 ring books, and they are all different, but that’s OK with me. My only concern/complaint is that after many years, dust settles into the tops of the pages. I wish page protectors were side loading like the creative memories brand, that would prevent the dust on the top of the pages. So I keep my scrapbooks in plastic sleeves, or plastic bags to protect them. You can still read the label on the spine through the plastic, but it’s not as pretty. I wish a company would make a plastic sleeve for the 3 ring binders that is attractive, to keep the dust off.
I found a way to keep dust from the tops from my scrapbooks. I have starting putting vintage fabric runners over the tops of them. I have some that are embroidered on the ends with vintage lace. They look very pretty and keep the dust off of them. You could also just make them to lay over the tops of scrapbooks in your shelves.
That’s an awesome tip Betty. Thanks for sharing!
Jennifer, are your albums in your living area, or in your scraproom or some other office space? I am constantly challenged to keep my collection of 12×12 albums accessible within our living space. Other sizes don’t present much of a problem, but the 12×12 size is challenging in a smaller home. Would love to hear how others tackle this problem…
I have a super tiny house (1100 sq ft), so I completely understand this challenge. One of our three bedrooms is my office and the albums are in the open closet. I ended up getting 18″ deep garage-type shelving for the closet because the dimensions would work and they can hold a lot of weight.
I consider them to be accessible enough to my family if they want to look through them. The living room is just on the other side of the closet wall.
In terms of more fashionable bookcases, I’ve seen a lot of custom solutions and even more IKEA units. The Billy line has a new deeper model and though the Expedit is retiring there is a similar unit coming back. We have a 2×4 Expedit in my daughter’s room where I stored the 12x12s until she was walking.
These are truly fantastic ideas in on the topic of blogging.
You have touched some good factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.
Awesome! Its truly remarkable post, I have got much clear idea concerning from this post.