Step 1. Reflect & Celebrate | Simplify Your New Year

by | Productivity Advice, Simple Living | 21 comments

The Simplify Your New Year free mini course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path towards memory keeping that feels joyful and easy.

To preface this week’s series, I want to start by sharing why you might want to simplify scrapbooking in 2015.

How many times have you sat down to scrapbook but ended up not making progress? Maybe you got distracted or couldn’t figure out where to start. Maybe it was something else in your way.

When you’re bogged down in over-complication, it’s easy to become stuck and frustrated. The world we live in gives us so many messages of “buy this, do that” that we end up feeling overloaded and unclear.

Simplicity gets you where you want to go with less of the fuss in the middle. It helps you craft a unique path that feels effortless to travel.

Simplicity leaves space for thoughtfulness and creativity as well as time for making more of the memories you will treasure forever.

Your first step on this journey isn’t hard, but shouldn’t be missed. It lays an important foundation that will carry you into the new year.

Get a head start on 2015 with the Simplify Your New Year free mini class at Simple Scrapper

Whenever I’m trying to grow, especially in a new year, I always look first to the past for victories to celebrate.

It can be tempting to begin a transition or shift by looking at everything that’s wrong. While those challenges may have brought you here, wallowing in them is not what will move you forward.

Instead I inventory all the good stuff, especially the baby steps and big leaps I’ve made. I celebrate every victory and give myself a high five for showing up and trying.

Simplifying your new year is not about fixing problems, but about embracing approaches and solutions that work best for you.

A victory can be as small as sharing a photo with your mom. It can be as large as finishing a retrospective album. No matter the size, when you itemize accomplishments you can re-live the joy of finishing and find momentum for what’s next. You might even pull out your projects to literally place your victories in view.

However, I’m not saying you should bury your head in the sand.

The companion to celebration is a genuine reflection. Conduct an honest assessment of where you are vs. where you want to be. Think about how you’re managing photos, telling stories, using supplies, and capturing your best memories in a creative way.

What’s working best? What could work even better?

When you shape this simpler and more effective path, everything that’s not working will fade away or get left behind. Approaching it from a place of positivity and gratitude, however, makes it much easier to see what you’re doing well and what you have to build upon.

Leave a comment sharing one approach that worked great for you this past year.

Get a head start on 2015 with the Simplify Your New Year free mini class at Simple Scrapper

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Valerie Jackson

    I haven’t been motivated to work on my scrapbooks for over ten years now. I’ve narrowed it down to the following things:

    • I went to full digital and got away from developing rolls of film as I finished them

    • Moved to a new state and no longer had friends to share time with while scrapbooking, which was one of my main motivators to getting my albums done – new friends didn’t scrapbook and the ones that did tended to be “territorial”

    • My digital photos and supplies – along with my art room, were unorganized

    • I lost my father last year and found out that I could sculpture [a friend taught me as I wanted to dedicate a piece to my dad] and I then realized that I missed working on my other art abilities

    • My last “album” [five years ago] was a digital 32 page book dedicated to my parent’s anniversary and it took me over a year to accomplish because I was teaching myself the software, couldn’t locate the right “materials” [was used to physically touching and seeing the product and doing the layouts] AND procrastination – something I tend to do even when I’ve set a deadline

    So here are some of the solutions I accomplished along with my future goals:

    In the film days, I had trained myself to bring home the developed photos, sort them right away into their appropriate files, separate out the extra copies and give them to the appropriate people.

    • Now I need to think “backwards” and start getting the events printed and plan to scrapbook them right away, rather than storing them [as I still have 20 years of photos that haven’t been completed].

    • Beginning with this Christmas, I need to develop the photos taken [along with the extra copies as needed], scrapbook them and keep going forward throughout next year. I know from past experience that it will motivate me to work on my historical photos as well.

    • I had been collecting digital supplies for four years and had thousands of files. Three years ago, I began to sort through my unzipped files, figured out a filing system that worked for me and began to sort. I was current, with only a few categories needing some detailed attention, until last year. Now I have around a 1,000 zip files again that need to be sorted and filed.

    • I had also began to clean up my digital photos by naming them and placing them into the four quarters of the year. I need to finish the old digital photo files from 2011 back to 2007, but everything from 2012 forward is named, filed and backed up.

    In the last month I reorganized my art room and actually packed away unused albums and knick knacks that were cluttering my shelves. I couldn’t locate supplies and also found that I had picked up a lot of “stuff” last year that I didn’t even know I had purchased. I still have my “working” albums out and available, but now I finally have room to see and use my supplies without the frustration of “I know I have one…”.

    I had to revamp my room and my thoughts to reflect what I recently realized about myself. I need to work on my other art abilities now and not feel guilty that I’m not working on my albums, because this is where I need to be at creatively-wise at this time. I actually know I will make time for my albums again, because I’m not feeling ‘guilty” about them anymore.

    • I have a desire to create a new digital album that covers my trip to Finland, to share with my mom, brother and sister [who traveled with me] and they will need to “edit” it after the initial layout. The final album will also be sent to the new family members we found in Finland. This is my highest priority project that I want to accomplish by the end of January.

    I joined your motivational Website because I need to connect with someone about my scrapbooking and I love your approach. I now feel a little more connected to my “need to scrap” and I’m glad that you can join me in my journey to get something “more” accomplished in 2015.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I think you’ve done a wonderful inventory of where you are. Now it’s time to focus on just one single activity/project and ignore the rest. Once you have a victory under your belt, it will be easier to keep going and tackle the next item.

  2. Francine

    I’m usually pretty good about getting an album about a trip started, but it falls apart as I approach the end. Except in October this year when it fell apart as I waited for my daughter’s pictures. I finally got them but then Halloween was here, and then November and now here it is December and I haven’t really even started it. But, with your Quick Start process, I at least know what my three top priorities are in Scrapbooking. It’s amazing how great it felt to narrow down my choices of projects from 9 to 3. Still, I do have to get through Christmas. I just shipped the presents to my kids in California – and forgot the homemade peanut brittle. So it’s back to ship again tomorrow.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I can’t wait to see your finished album Francine. You’ll get it done!

  3. Sheila

    I donated all the supplies that I haven’t /won’t use to a home for children. This gave me more room to spread out photos, organizing what I kept in photo boxes and letting family take what I wasn’t going to use. No need for doubles or extremely blurry pictures. I then tried out several methods of preserving the memories and decided that in 2015, I would like a quick way to scrapbook most of the pictures already printed (as in pocket page style), saving the very special ones for old fashioned scrapbooking-something I haven’t done in awhile.

    My main goal this coming year is to create a heritage album. Over the past few years, my husband and I went through boxes upon boxes of pictures his parents left. We are thankful for these, but don’t want to leave this mess for our adult children. There were people and occasions not labeled and there isn’t anyone around to help identify the pictures. After giving it a lot of thought, we made the decision to throw out the unknowns instead of burdening future generations with them. We kept a few to record the fashions, transportation, history of the times and scanned some others, but mostly we just let them go. It was very liberating! We can now work on the memories of the people we know in the pictures or at the very least, group them together in a way that will be meaningful not only to us, but to our children and their children.

    I’m still thinking of a way to preserve our 2015 pictures as they get printed. I’m tempted to place the pictures in a regular photo album with “bullets” to jog my memory if I scrapbook them in the future. I’m really, really tempted to use the Collect app and have them printed out each season. This would free up my time to do a special hands on page now and then and work on the heritage album, including scanning the antique photos to stop the fading process.

    I really enjoy your website and look forward to your emails. Thank you!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thanks Sheila. It sounds like you are on the right track and feeling a weight lifted. One thing you might consider is “photos with bullets” might be scrapbooking in itself. Some of the most simple forms of Project Life do just that. No need to scrapbook these memories twice!

  4. HelenH

    I am happy with my photo management. The photos flow from camera, laptop, online service for printing, culling as I go. On my last trip I took ~900 photos, printed less than 300, and have more than 20 layouts in an album. This is the part I most enjoy, reliving the experiences. I have a small bag with the photos and memorabilia which I can easily dive into without feeling overwhelmed.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      So wonderful Helen! I hope you’ll share some of your photo management tips with the community.

  5. Alissa

    What worked for me in 2014 were projects – I made everything – including making regular pages into a project with concrete steps. How did I make creating a page into a project? Well I was intentional with the online classes I took and when I created a page it was for a class – thus project based. This helped me stay focused.

    Also planning my year and knowing what I wanted to accomplish helped me stay focused.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Woohoo! “Projectifying” really does work. Thanks for sharing your success in action!

  6. Dottie Pennington

    The one appoach that has worked well for me is making individual page kits for theme albums. Even using a kit with page maps (think Club Scrap), I have had problems figuring out the pages because I have pieces all over the place. I found that if I take each page map and create a “kit” for it including pictures, embellishments, journaling options and lettering for the title I am much more productive. I am planning on using this technique in 2015

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Yay, so glad you found something that works perfectly for you!

  7. Catherine

    I love scrapping Christmas in real time! I am so happy with the pages I’ve made this month. I’ve realized this year that scrapping in real time is very important to me. It’s part of how I enjoy life and crafting best. But if I expect to do that with unique, heavily designed traditional layouts I become very unhappy, because I’m just slow at those. And I end up putting things off because they aren’t the highest priority, or, the opposite – they are special and I feel like I can’t do them justice because I don’t have a brilliant idea for the design. And when they don’t get captured, and the moment passes, I feel sad.

    I think my compromise is to do pocket pages – not a weekly Project life, but just fill up pocket pages as the stories and photos come. And allow myself space for pockets that are just embellishment and techniques when I’m in the mood. Not a groundbreaking approach, but I’ve really had to experiment to realize this is the way to go for me! So currently I’m scrapping this December into an album with divided page protectors and having a blast.

    My next step will be between Christmas and New Year’s: setting up my workroom so that all my supplies are ready to jump into albums with my stories and photos throughout 2015.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      What a lightbulb moment! Make sure to write down “real time” and revisit that often as a reminder.

  8. Briony Merrett

    Thankyou Sheila for sharing, you’ve given me some ideas that will help me move forward on a heritage project I’d like to start in the new year.

  9. Kim Win

    you’ve got a plan & it sounds like you are doing it. Maybe set up rewards for yourself – it can be be overwhelming. I always work better with rewards….

  10. Catherine

    That’s a great idea! There’s a deeper meaning to the phrase, too, because with a baby and toddler I’m often looking forward to when I can get more done for myself – I want to remember that this time is real and important.

  11. Diane

    I have Francine’s problem, I start out great guns but I fizzle toward the end of projects. Any advise on this? I usually do eventually finish things, but sometimes it is years in between and I don’t always remember what I wanted to say. I have started to put the basics on sticky notes to file either with the photos or on the incompleted pages, and sometimes I even do the sketch I had planned on using, but this has been a new learned trait. You may have already covered this, but I’ve been out of town for two weeks and am just now sitting down to read what I’ve missed, and anyway I can use all the advise I can get.

  12. Ana

    In 2014, I took a monthly year long class on pocket page scrapping. Did each month without pictures, then when I had about 8 months worth of pocket pages I added the pictures. I almost have all of 2013 in albums. Now, I want to start a Christmas pocket page album. I like that about every 3 pages a regular 12×12 is inserted, so I get the best of both types of scrapping.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Sounds like you have found a great approach. I love the idea of focusing on the journaling each month and then filling in with the photos!

  13. Susan Mealiea

    Catching up now that work travel and the big day has passed.

    My biggest accomplishment in 2014 was to continuation of my monthly blog round up. With that done, the most important events are documented. I also include bits of the everyday and routine in those posts. Anything I do after that is BONUS.



  1. Step 2. Commit with Joy | Simplify Your New Year - Simple Scrapper - […] there is one concept that I talk about as much as celebrating victories, it’s understanding the nuances of why…
  2. Step 5. Shift the Focus | Simplify Your New Year - Simple Scrapper - […] this time of year, optimism is high. You can see all the successes you’ll build upon to craft a…

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