Scrolling through my photo library, I am reminded of moments big and small that I’d love to scrapbook. For any memory keeper, there’s no shortages of pages to make and projects to complete. The only real limitation is time.
But no matter how many productivity hacks you implement, there’s simply a finite amount of it. In The Accidental Creative, Todd Henry says that “in order to really thrive, you need to shake yourself of our collective obsession with time efficiency and learn instead to focus on effectiveness.”
Thus, faced with an increasing quantity of photographs, our only choice is to be selective. It’s not about scrapbooking faster or with more skill. We simply cannot scrapbook it all.
You’ve heard this before, I’m sure. As a community we’ve made progress over the past decade on embracing this concept, at least outwardly. Our brains can rationalize why you must pick and choose, but our hearts long for completion. The “rule” that you must scrapbook it all is as much as natural desire as it is a norm.
This stuff matters and we deeply feel, perhaps even a grief, for the stories that will go untold. Even those who have embraced simple solutions want to feel closure on each year, that you did it justice. I believe it’s possible to achieve that satisfaction while also accepting the reality of the modern world.
We Are 21st-Century Impressionists
The 19th century art movement that included Monet, Degas, and others sought to paint the world as if you only caught a glimpse. They emphasized light and life right now, in a single moment. They were considered radicals.
I believe scrapbookers should wear the hat of modern-day impressionist, painting a picture of our life with broad strokes. We can’t document it all, so instead let’s offer a glimpse that captures not only the facts but the feelings.
Woman with a Parasol by Claude Monet
Let’s create simply so as to most effectively capture what’s real and true. Impressionist scrapbooking looks like:
- Leaning on the skills you have to create with ease.
- Embracing your handwriting with every imperfection.
- Choosing just one or two photos to represent a memory.
- Not making a project more complicated than necessary.
- Thinking about why this particular story is significant.
- Knowing when to let a photograph be what it is.
- Relying on tried-and-true techniques and supplies.
The #1 Trick to Not Feeling Guilty
“OK, that sounds easy enough,” you say, “but how do I actually eliminate that nagging desire to feel caught up?”
Whether you’re just beginning to embrace this mindset or are a seasoned pro, feelings of guilt will almost certainly arise. This desire to document life in a complete way is natural. So my answer to you is “Actually, you don’t!”
Yet the impracticality of scrapbooking every photo means choices must be made. The trick is in choosing projects, formats, and approaches that help you feel more caught up. This is what scrapbooking the Simple Scrapper way is all about.
When you choose the one or two photos for a layout, you can pair it with a longer paragraph or page of journaling to add details. You can even add an insert or a second page that includes a photo collage.
When you choose to frame your favorite photo of a child, you can celebrate that memory each and every day without feeling challenged to create a layout that measures up.
When you choose to create a photo book for a vacation instead of a traditional album, you can offer the reader a visual tour of your entire experience that captures the core meaning.
Our hearts will consistently pull us towards more, but we can meet that yearning with solutions. We can lean into authenticity to create with more meaning and make conscious choices that will help us get the most important stories told.