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Category:  Hobbies

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How To Get Through Years of Photos And Start Scrapbooking Today

By Alyice Edrich

Last December, my neighbor stopped by with her annual Christmas treat. After my many thanks, we got to talking about scrapbooking. She had been dying to get her photos out of boxes and into scrapbooks, or even albums, but the idea was simply overwhelming. She had never kept her photos organized and she's not even sure when most of the photos were taken or where.

That's when I took her into my office and showed her the totes of photos I have waiting to be scrapbooked and my table of "in progress" work. I said to her, "You don't have to scrap like the photos in the magazines you read. If you find that too overwhelming and you simply want to get your photos into some kind of logical order, do what I'm doing. You see, I love beautiful scrapbook pages and find them fantastic works of art, but I have 12 years of photographs to scrapbook and at 1-2 hours per page, I would get nowhere fast. So I've opted for a shortcut."

I pick the best photos and divide them among three scrapbooks: mine, my daughter's and my son's. The rest of the photos go into envelopes with the names of relatives. When the envelope gets full, I seal it, mail it, and start a new envelope. Then I glue as many photos on a page as possible without looking too crowded. I leave room for short sentences, dates, and names. I even leave room for fancy stickers and simple doodles. Sure they won't win me the coveted Scrapbook Designer's Award, but they showcase and safeguard precious memories.

And to keep from getting behind on today's photos, I use templates provided by photo book companies like or I upload my favorite photos, add dates, names, and captions, place my order for two copies, and happily await the arrival of my completed photo book.

In two hours' time I have a completed scrapbook worthy of admiration. And the best part is that I can go back later and order more copies for family gifts. Think grandparents, brothers and sisters, and long distance friends who consider you family.

As far as the organization goes, my advice to her was simple. Go through your photos and start three piles: your husband's family, your family, and your immediate family (you, the husband, and your kids). Then get a huge manila envelope or archival safe photo box and place all the photos from your husband's family inside. Label it, and put it aside. Do the same with your side of the family. Now all you have to do is concentrate on your immediate family.

"That's still too large a job," she said. "That's years of photos. What do you suggest I do? Sort by year, holiday, what? And what do I do with photos that I can't remember when or where they were taken?"

I looked her straight in the eye and said, "Just start small. For photos you have no clue about, put them into a boxed marked `Go through with hubby'. For the rest of the photos, break them down according to how you plan to scrapbook: by year, by age, by theme. Since you have years of photographs, you could always do a holiday scrapbook. Start with Valentine's Day, then Easter, then the 4th of July, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and finally end with Christmas. Then move onto a vacation scrapbook, a friends of the family scrapbook, my favorite photo scrapbook, and soon you'll be down to random photos that could easily end up as yearbook."

That's when she got excited and said, "That would be so much more fun than going through a year's worth of photos and trying to scrap them. By doing the themed albums, I get to see how much the kids have grown and we can talk about family history. I like that." And so a scrapbooker was born.

About The Author Alyice Edrich is the award winning editor of The Dabbling MumŽ. Stop by for your chance to win free videos and books (  


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Category:  Hobbies

Related Links | Hobbies | Scrapbooking Frugal Quilting and Lessons |

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