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. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009

    You are always welcome to comment Stacy :). I definitely recommend Library of Memories for anyone interested in learning more about album organization. I know I have referenced it in the past on here and will definitely do it again in the future.

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  2. Connie says…
    09/18/2009

    Ali,
    I found it after continued searching - Costco and the Container Store. Have a great weekend!

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  3. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009

    My guess is that they will love and treasure anything you do for them Melissa :).

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  4. Lisa Cutler says…
    09/18/2009

    Ali, great post. I have 3 kids and do simliar to what you say - if there is only one kid in the layout, it goes in their album. If more than one kid is in it, it goes towards whomever the journaling is directed.
    As for the family album, I do this craft for me - I love the creative outlet it provides at the same time as I am memory keeping for my family and if there are fights when I am gone over who gets what, that won't be my problem :-)
    I do not ever do repeat layouts for the kids - I may do the same basic sketch with different papers, etc,. but if we all go to the pumpkin patch, for example, I select a few photos of just each child and do a page about it for their album. None of the 3 layouts look even remotely the same, not that they would care but because I feel like my creative mojo would be diminished if I kept repeating layouts.

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  5. Julie L. says…
    09/18/2009

    Michaels had a couple on their shelves. The only color available is brown. But this week the albums are 45% off.

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  6. tchrtiff says…
    09/18/2009

    Thank you so much for sharing--Ali and all the commenters! I love to hear how people organize b/c it gives me so many ideas and things to think about that I had not thought about before. Thanks for all the inspiration!!
    I don't make scrapbook layouts very often (I'm more of a card maker and paper crafter) but each of my two kids has his/her own 12x12 school scrapbook thanks to Becky Higgins' kit. I also have an 8x8 album for each child for Halloween. Each two page spread represents one particular year. We love to look at these albums and can easily see the growth and costume changes from year to year. I'm thinking of doing this same thing (small 8x8 album) as a birthday book for each child.
    If I do start making more layouts I like the idea of all the layouts going in the family album so everyone in the family can look at them and then they decide after I'm gone which they want. You never know what "attachment" one particular child will have about a particular layout. If both kids want the same layout they can color copy it or there might be some new even better technology that will help them.

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  7. Michele H. says…
    09/18/2009

    Love your system Ali. I totally remember when you went through the re-organization process.
    The yearly albums for Simon, do you place the layout in order of the year you created it or when the photo was taken? Do each of the yearly albums have an opening page?
    Thanks so much for bringing this topic up again. I'm in the process of re-organizing myself.

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  8. Ali Edwards says…
    09/18/2009

    I don't do opening pages. The pages in Simon's album are chronological by the stories documented. Stories from 2009 go in the 2009 album. If I create a page of a story from 2007 today that layout goes in the 2007 album.
    I don't scrapbook chronologically, just organize that way. This is one of the big reasons I like the 3-ring binder albums.

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  9. Sarah O. says…
    09/18/2009

    PERFECT post for me to read TODAY! This exact thing is on my to do list..."set up memory-keeping system" thanks for the encouragement and IDEAS. Love reading your blog and practical ideas for keeping it simple and realistic. Thanks, Ali!

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  10. Deirdre says…
    09/18/2009

    Thanks for sharing all this! I'm trying to balance what works for me with what I imagine my sons wanting/enjoying (because that's a huge part of what I want to see!). Thanks for the idea of the sports album...I can already see the need for that!
    Does the quartly family album and the year end famiy book overlap? Right now those are the two ideas I'm torn between---I want one or the other to just get our photos out and seen by them now. Which one do you like better and how are they different? Thanks!

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  11. Angie in Japan says…
    09/18/2009

    Thanks Ali! That was super heplful. I'm gonna start right in to get my pages organized. (fingers crossed)
    On a side note - I'll be going to CKU-J(apan) next week. I'm hoping to catch a couple of classes and do a bit of shopping. It should be good times!

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  12. Anna Wasierski says…
    09/18/2009

    Deirdre-
    My kids love their sports albums. These scrapbooks also include skiing, the yearly triathlon and our biking accomplishments, along with soccer, basketball or whatever they particpated in. This is their go to album because it has their friends in it!
    For our quarterly family album, I truly follow the seasons and do a 2 page 12 x 12 layout. It allows me to personalize what happened that quarter. Our year end album only hits the major highlights from each month. So they may overlap a little but the family album is much more detailed. If I had to choose, I would do only the family album. The year end album allows us to look at the whole year at a glance because I usually go month by month. My kids like this one because it is usually smaller. I do both because the family album is only 4 layouts a year and the year end album I can out together in about 4-5 hours. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

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  13. Tensy Bodker says…
    09/18/2009

    I have three children (22, 20 and 17). Over the years this have been my method:
    1. A series of chronological albums for each child. Each child's albums go into a metal mesh basket which is displayed promenantly on a low bookshelf in our basement rec room. Their friends love to browse through them!
    2. I keep one album of annual holiday cards and accompanying letters. This is a great way of quickly seeing how the family has changed over the years and to laugh over the silly letters.
    3. Special one topic albums. Specific trips (summer trips to Israel, Jr. year abroad in Italy, Sports--my daughter's tennis team gives a scrapbook to each senior with pictures, supplied by the parents, of all their years on the team and letters from the coach, Scouting--presented at my son's Eagle ceremony--every parent there wanted to pay me to make one for their kid , LOL)
    4. My main goal is to keep them as separate as possible, so when they set up their own homes each will have his/her albums. My sisters and I had major issues dividing our family albums. The sister who had possession was nice enough to pay to have the majority of the pictures scanned into a CD, but years later I still haven't had time to reproduce them into albums and would have prefered the originals.

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  14. jukeb0x says…
    09/18/2009

    Scanning solved the problem of who gets which photos that my Dad took of all 6 of us in the 50's and 60's. I gotta believe future technology will solve the problem of reproducing all the LOs I'm creating for my 4 kids. My only must-do is to take a detailed digital photo of each LO.

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  15. Michele H. says…
    09/18/2009

    Oh WOW!! That totally makes sense to me!! I never thought about it based on stories!! Thank you so much for your quick response :)

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  16. Maegan says…
    09/18/2009

    I do essentially the same thing but with a few more categories. Taking Stacy's LOM class completely revolutionized the way I organize my scrapbooks. There are a few pages though that fall into multiple categories but since I am digital I can easily have duplicate layouts printed.

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  17. Anthea says…
    09/18/2009

    Thanks Ali for your advice. We have had a whole thread on Scrapbooking Memories forum about this subject and we hadn't got an answer so your advice is very much appreciated.

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  18. Emilyt says…
    09/18/2009

    I do almost the same thing with my layouts. I never duplicate (or should i say, I haven't yet) and don't plan to. If I make a layout with one of my two daughters as the subject, it goes into their individual albums. I do have family albums and those are a mix of layouts that feature both kids, mixes of family members, events that we have all shared togther, or pets. I have a separate album for Christmas, since that seems to be the holiday that most photos are taken and it has the same themey type of papers.
    I am delving a bit into mini albums so that is an unknown for me right now and I do plan on using three ring binders in the near future.
    I also don't currently have anything in chronological order as I scrap what inspires me from earlier photos as I go. Maybe someday my girls will help me with that task. :)

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  19. Helen Tilbury says…
    09/19/2009

    Hi Ali. Was so interested to just read this (got a bit behind on my blog reading this week) I have been wondering exactly the same thing & actually wanted to e mail you myself but wasn't sure if I was at liberty to do that. I have 4 children & scrap mostly at home but weekly with a friend with 3 kids. She repeats each layout (same photos) three times, identically with same photos & journaling 3 times but uses different paper. I have read your post & I already do things similarly to you as far as the categories go & how to choose who gets what. If I only have enough photos of one "event" for example & we are all included then the layout goes in the family album. If it is more than one of the kids together then I decide who will have it based on who I am "talking to" in the journaling or often dependant on who has the most for that time period! I often find the girls end up with tons more layouts than the boys because they are happier to be photographed so if it is 2 or 3 of them in the photos together I put it in the boys albums to try to ensure that each child has ROUGHLY the same amount of layouts per time period. I am glad to see that your system is pretty similar to mine. I could never repeat the same thing 3 or 4 times. a) doesn't seem like good time management to me and b) I wouldn't enjoy doing it because I would find it boring & uninspiring. If there was a way of copying them for separate albums (if I had a 12inch printer & the necessary paper) then that would be an option but here in South Africa no-one can do that - not even professional printing shops. The 12inch size is not available - that's why I haven't got excited about "Going Digital" because there would be no way for me to print my pages here - therefore it seems pointless. I have started enjoying a bit of hybrid though & actually printing smaller elements using my regular pc printer & adding them to my layouts. My idea has always been that each child "inherits" their albums on their 21st birthday & I plan on giving them to them in a bookshelf or kist. Now that I have 2 teenagers & see how irresponsible they are (LOL!) I am having second thoughts about that idea & may "present" them to them at a later stage & hang onto them for safekeeping ;-D

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  20. Helen Tilbury says…
    09/19/2009

    Oh & btw I also scrap non-chronologically then organise the layouts later so wish that I could get the 3 ring albums here. I have to use the post ones which I hate because they are such a hassle to keep undoing & reorganizing(hence I do it twice yearly & add the tonne of layouts I have created in that time). To keep them in good condition during the six months I still use post albums-just add 10 refills so there are 20 per album & add the pages in as I do them(the 3 ring Memory Keepers ones I plan on changing to ultimately are not available here so it would mean importing dozens of them myself - plan on doing that one day in the future when the kids have left home & when there will hopefully be less money going in their direction LOL). I don't bother with "opening pages" in the kids albums as they simply flow from one to the next & each child has plenty already. Hope my chiming in helps someone ;-D

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  21. Helen Tilbury says…
    09/19/2009

    Oh dear forgot to say that I DO ORGANISE them chronologically in the albums - just that I don't scrap them chronologically. Okay definitely my last comment!!!

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  22. Rebecca Brigham says…
    09/19/2009

    I too have albums for each of my two children and a family album. Same kind of approach. I can't even imagine making two of the same page for each of my two kids... so much to scrap, so little time.

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  23. msp1329 says…
    09/19/2009

    Ali of course your idea is great. It would be so much easier if I had babies at home. Unfortunately, my son and daughter are well consumed in their lives and I catch a piece here and there.I have attended 14 years of classes and try and insert pictures, but the process isn't me. I'm working on developing my own style without freaking out.I am enjoying scrapbooking my granddaughters, I wish they were closer. I do nothing chronologically.I really get tons of info about me and someone else. Getting over feeling selfish and becoming full of self! I thank Ali, Staci, and Cathy. They will be separate b/c I have different things to say to each of them.Thank you all. Marilyn

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  24. Diane Herman says…
    09/19/2009

    Thanks Ali for sharing this. I to organise my albums this way but kept feeling I shold do multiple layouts for each of my 3 children. So it good to know I am thinking like you and many others.
    As far as who gets what down the track...I was thinking that I may just scan same pages from the family album if more than 1 of my girls whats that story in their albums. Or even scan some of the most relevant layouts and print them in an 8 x 8 Digital album.
    My girls are ages 18, 6 & 4 so my eldest has already benn deem...Keeper Of The Family Albums! And has agreed to share them with her little sisters any time...I can imagine her even scanning pages for her sisters one day.
    Thanks for sharing so much of your life with us!!!

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  25. Deirdre says…
    09/19/2009

    I wondered what were the chances you'd even see that question when I came back today---and here's a detailed answer! Jackpot!
    Thanks so much. I think I'm going to do the year end album via shutterfly, only because I know I'd feel behind with the monthly layouts. Then I'll scrap all that listed under #1 and whatever stories I'm inspired to tell.
    Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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