Organizing Scrapbook Albums : An Update

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Two things happened yesterday that spurred today's post.


First I received a box of layouts back from Creating Keepsakes (all my layouts from the October issue - I think there were 14 total) that needed to go into albums. Second I received an email from a reader with some questions about organizing albums and pages for people with multiple children:


I was just wondering if you make double layouts for your kids' albums. For ex., the page about Simon reading to Anna...do you make one for each of their albums? If not, whose album are you putting that in?


I have three kids and not much time to scrapbook so the thought of making multiple albums is not too appealing. I'm just not sure which layout to put in whose album so your thoughts or advice would be much appreciated.


A very good & timely question.


I don't make duplicate pages. This is actually one of the benefits of creating digital pages in that you could just have more than one printed to add to each child's album. 


But as you know, I'm not all digital.


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[ Albums currently in my office that I am using for inspiration for my upcoming workshop. Spinner project is an instant download class called Family Gratitude Spinner available through Big Picture Scrapbooking. ]


Since my big album organization last year I have been working within the following framework of 12x12 albums:




  1. Simon: albums by year


  2. Chris + Ali: stories about the two of us together


  3. Family: layouts about our extended families (including some childhood stories for both Chris and I)


  4. Ali: about me pages


  5. Chris: mostly political content


This has been working really well. Pages that I have made since getting all the albums organized have all found a home quickly and easily. 



Now with baby Anna in the mix my plan is the following:



  1. Layouts that are about either Anna or Simon will go in their individual albums (organized by year). I view these pages as essentially love notes to each child and want each of them to have their own collection with pages where they are the subject. The one about Simon reading to Anna (CK, October) will go into Simon's album because the journaling is talking directly to him

  2. Layouts that are about both of them/our family (and not journaled specifically to one or the other) will go into the Family category that will now be dated E:2009, E:2010, etc. Right now I'm not really worrying about who gets what down the road and how it will all be split up. I am more interested in focusing on documenting & celebrating the stories our of lives. 


There's definitely no right or wrong way to go about this. There are so many different ways it can be done depending on your family situation, space, time, etc. 

I would love to hear about other's systems if you are willing to share. 



You can read more about my Adventures in Album Organization series here

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92 thoughts

  1. 4JJM says…
    09/18/2009

    I loved your series on album organization so much that I replaced all my 12x12 post bound albums with 12x12 D-ring albums from American Crafts. I have 4 children, so I had about 30 albums that I needed to replace. With the expense of replacing all of my old albums, I had to make a decision to keep the cost down. Instead of buying 30 new albums I bought about 12 and labeled all of them by year. So all of the pages from the old albums (sperated by person, event, etc.) ended up in 12 d-rings. The d-rings are so much bigger that I was able to fit them all in. I did keep some of the old post bound for each kid to have their own album where I put school related items.

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  2. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009
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  3. Angie in Japan says…
    09/18/2009

    Thanks, Ali, for the album ideas!
    Right now, this is my biggest problem. I usually only work on one project at a time. I group my pictures together, for example, my Mom's visit last year or a trip to the zoo. I can't figure out a way to start and then I can't figure out a way to put it all into one album that flows together. Instead I have a bunch of separate albums, 12x12 and 8x8, that are just in random boxes. I also went through a phase last year working work chipboard albums and they don't fit into anything.
    I'm not digital at all so I'm not hip on how to create all my pages on my Mac, which I know would be easy if I just sat down and tried to figure it out.
    I think I have to get over my hang up of having everything perfect before I start. My next three month goal is to get organized and get creative no matter if the results turn out the way I pictured it in my head or not.
    As always, THANK YOU the inspiration!

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  4. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009

    I am looking forward to putting out my last couple December Dailies this year :).

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  5. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009

    Great link to Danelle's albums - I love that idea too. I love it especially because it focuses so much on the photos.

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  6. April G says…
    09/18/2009

    I scrapbook for personal well-being, so all of my layouts go into albums in the order I scrapbook them. I do make a small 8x8 album featuring some of my sons big events by year. When he moves out he can take those with him. However I hope to leave a few truck loads of albums for my family to figure out what to do with when I die.
    When my grandma died we went through all of her photo albums and remembered her life. We each took the photos we wanted, I hope to leave a lasting memory like that.

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  7. kim Strother says…
    09/18/2009

    I don't stress about this. I make the pages and I'm just happy I made it. I have not put a single layout into an album this year. They are all in on big pile and at the end of the year I will go into the kids albums and add them. I have loosely made them an album for each year, but I do not scrap in order and therefore I cannot just add a layout as I finish it. I also do not worry about a layout that has both my kids in it. I kind of have in mind who's album it will go in and I figure they are brother and sister. They should look at each others albums. So it's all good with me. Hopefully one of them will be into recording the family history and they will be the keeper of the albums about me and my husband. My real worry is I need more pages in our albums so my kids have our story. These are the hardest pages for me to make.

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  8. heatherknapp@charter.net says…
    09/18/2009

    I have 2 children, 6 years apart so my first child has lots of books with just her but when I had my son, every picture I took had both of them in it. I started to drive myself crazy with trying to figure it out. One day I was complaining to my mom about how I didn't know what to do and she said " Darlin' (we are from the south you know) you just go on and do what I plan...let ya'll duke it out after my funeral" I laugh everytime I think about that and that is my plan...let them duke it out after I am long gone. Have a good day!

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  9. Betsy says…
    09/18/2009

    This is a timely subject for me as well, as we just introduced baby #3 into our family this week (in fact, I am typing this while still in the hospital!). I basically do the same as Ali's system. I don't have time/energy to duplicate pages for each child. I have three sets of 3-ring American Crafts binders in different colors for each child, red, pink, and green. Then I have black 3-ring albums for our family pages and also for my "week in the life" and "month in review" layouts. More black albums for layouts of me and my husband's childhood and of layouts about us now. If the layout is about more than just one child, I decide which child is the main subject and put it in their album. If it is about them all equally, it goes in our family albums. Works for me! And I am a huge advocate of 3-ring binder albums just so you can slip layouts in where ever they go, rather than having to create layouts chronologically.

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  10. Chere' says…
    09/18/2009

    I have 3 daughters. I'm a fairly slow scrapper and it's also important to me to keep pretty current - before the stories & memories fade away. So I have one ongoing family album. There are pages of everything in there - family, pets, individual kids, kids together - whatever. I have started making mini or 8x8 albums of special events or vacations. I figure they can fight out who gets what later, or make copies! Thanks for the ideas - I always find inspiration here! May even attempt the December Daily this year!

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  11. Angie in Japan (again) says…
    09/18/2009

    Sorry! I posted earlier but as I was reading the other comments, I thought of something else...
    when you use the 3-ring binder with a two page layout, how do you get it to fit together? With a post bound album, I think the layout are easier to look at, especially if I am splitting a picture or the title.
    It seems with a 3-ring the page will have a big gap in it. Or is that something you don't worry so much about. Most two page layouts I have seen pictures of are taken out of the sleeve so it is very easy to see how they fit together. But when they get put into a binder, it's not as seamless.
    I'm sorry that my question is a little off topic but I would love to use the 3-rings rather than post bound. The 3-rings are much easier to find in Japan and cheaper!

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  12. Staci Lynch says…
    09/18/2009

    Hi Ali!
    I first wanted to say that you are truly so inspiring! I have recently gotten two of your books and can't put them down! Besides such great scrapbooking inspiration they are helping me realize life is to short and to enjoy each moment with my wonderful husband and three little boys! (Today we are going park hopping and picnic lunch!) I was excited to that you lived "close"! I live just north of Seattle. I have family that live in Creswell and that is were my grandparents grew up and got married! I have been wanting to write and tell you that I LOVE your style and really thank you for hopefully helping me find my own! As for the question..all of my layouts are sitting in a pile on top of my shelf. They are getting ruined and I totally appreciate the push to get them in albums! Again, love all of you work and I think your photography is wonderful. I appreciate that you have pictures taken of you and the kids. I look at my photos and I have very few of the "moments" I wish I had on film. Have a wonderful weekend!!
    Staci

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  13. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009

    Hi Angie -it's something I totally don't worry about :). You can see the full inside of one of my albums here: /2008/03/anatomy-of-an-a.html

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  14. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009

    Congrats Betsy!

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  15. Melanie J says…
    09/18/2009

    I began making individual albums for each child and having duplicate (but personalized) pages for events that involved them all. However, now that I have five children (ages 10, 7, 6, 4 and almost 1) I can't keep up with that. So, I just make the pages I want to (kind of like how you mentioned the "love notes" to your kids) for each child and put them in their albums. If there are pages with our family or more than one child, and the journaling isn't directed to one particular child, the page goes in our family album.
    I also have an album that is pages about me or special thoughts and memories that I have. Family history-type pages go into our family album right now. However, in the future (as I'm making more of these lately) I will designate a special album for those pages.
    Thanks for all of your inspiration. I don't know how you keep up with all that you do. But I'm glad you do because it motivates me :)

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  16. Liz Ness says…
    09/18/2009

    I totally agree: Organizing is so personal (we remember, recall, and reconstruct so differently from person to person).
    Here's the scheme I'm using -- for the moment. I always feel the need to revisit the categories and adjust every couple of years...
    1. Duncan - his stories (Chronological)
    2. Duncan's School Experiences (Chronological)
    3. Family (Chronological)
    4. Family Art(Chronological)
    5. Me (illustrated stories + art journal)
    6. Erik (my hubby) - his stories.
    7. Travel/Favorite Landscapes
    8. Artifacts + stories (don't even know what to call this)
    Side note: I create digital, hybrid, and traditional stories. And, on a rare occasion, I'll create a duplicate page. However, most of the time, I don't. I think this might just be because my categories have pretty distinct boundaries for the way I think about my/our stories. However, I'm always reusing photos for my stories/art -- this is a result of the duplicitous nature/function of the photo, I think.

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  17. Anna Wasierski says…
    09/18/2009

    Ali-
    Thanks for explaining your system! I have 8 year old twins and over the year I have really simplified what I do. So...
    1) Each has their own personal album, the BH school kit and a Sports album. In their personal album, I try to scrap something quarterly, if nothing has been going on. Each year I summarize their birthday, Christmas and any other events, tonsil removal, etc. In their Sports album, I try to hit every season because they love to go back and talk about their accomplishments. The school album is a once a year 4 page layout.
    2) We have a quarterly Family Album, where once a quarter I scrapbook the season and hit allof the highlights
    3) We have a Vacation Album, where I will scrapbook what vacations we have done. It may be one per year or 3 or 4.
    4) Lastly, I complete a year end family book, usually 8 x 8. This year it is the 365 album. This usually summarizes the whole year and hits the major highlights.
    I have found that this system allows me to stay organized and not overwhelmed with the pressure to scrapbook. I can scrap as much or as little as I want.
    My kids are at the age where they love to go back and see what they were like as babies and those early years. So worth all my efforts to here them talk about what they see!
    Have a great weekend!

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  18. tara pakosta says…
    09/18/2009

    I make 12x12 scrapbooks for each daughter (I have 2 girls) and I don't really have them put away in albums yet, but when I do, I will try to do it by year as much as I can remember or if pages are dated . I have pages about michael and I, our dog, pages about me all in one. I then have a SISTERS album of pages of my girls or our family all together. I haven't really done anything outside of those!
    tara

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  19. Gayle says…
    09/18/2009

    I have two kids and am just going to let them have a big fight after I die over who gets the family scrapbooks. Each has a baby book and a school book of his own while the yearly books are about our entire family. Not doing multiple album-who has time?

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  20. Heather Jordan says…
    09/18/2009

    I only have two children, daughters, so I have put everything into family albums. They can fight over them later! Just kidding...I assume they will share them, one taking them for a while and then the other keeping them. Never considered making two albums or duplicate pages.

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  21. stacyj says…
    09/18/2009

    Hillary --
    I'm so tickled to hear that the family library system is working for you and that you need MORE albums. Keep up the great work!

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  22. stacyj says…
    09/18/2009

    Ali -- what great comments. I've really enjoyed reading how your blog readers are approaching album organization. This can be such an overwhelming thing. I love teaching Library of Memories at BPS each year -- I'd love you to mention my class at some point. It's such a flexible system and can be adapted to many situations. I replied to Hillary you mentioned it here -- hope that's OK!

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  23. Melissa says…
    09/18/2009

    I'm so glad to read all the comments on this! I have 2 1/2 yr old twin girls, and I haven't started scrapping a single thing due to deciding this (well, and general procrastination.) I'm concerned that if I don't do exactly the same layout for both of them I'll have to listen to whining later, about whose is better, etc. I love the idea of a first year album for each, but then just family albums from then on - and if they have to fight over them later, so be it!

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  24. Connie says…
    09/18/2009

    I enjoyed reading your comments on how you are organizing your pages. Can you tell me what it is you are using to protect and cover up your scrapbooks? I tried searching your site to find it in an older post but couldn't find anything.
    Thanks,
    Connie

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  25. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009

    Sure Connie - that is from the Container Store. Here's a link: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/shelvingSale/interMetroreg/components?productId=10010693
    The shelf unit is from Costco.

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