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My 2018 Memory Keeping Plans

Here's to welcoming a new year with open arms and a fresh perspective. 

I'm totally a fan of pretty much everything about going into a new year. There is a shift and a release that I swear I feel in my bones as the calendar moves from December to January. I love this time of year and totally try to ride that "fresh start" wave as long as I can. 

Since November of 2002 I've been telling stories using photos and words and paper and printers and embellishments and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. Over the years I've used a variety of different vehicles to get my stories told: 12x12 albums, 8.5x11 albums, 8x8 albums, 6x8 albums, handmade mini books, digital photo books, etc. I've had seasons where I was totally into one method or another and dry spells where it was tough to get any stories told. 

For me now, memory keeping is a lifestyle as well as a way that I support my family. It's a part of who I am and what I do and how I live. It informs choices I make and it gives me the awesome opportunity to continually be looking through the lens of story as I experience my life. 

I fee like I take a lot less photos than I did early on but I haven't gone back and actually counted anything up to know if that's true. It might just be that my attitude towards it is more relaxed as I've come to learn that I have no intention or interest in documenting everything (little or even big) in our lives. 

When I first started memory keeping digital photography was just starting it's rise and I still took rolls of film to be developed. These days I use my phone for most of my photos and find myself pretty darn satisfied with that set up for everyday life documentation. 

All this to say, as with so many things in life, there are seasons in memory keeping. I am so, so thankful that it is still such a big part of my life. The stories I've told have helped me make sense of so many different experiences and they have helped me both celebrate and heal. 

As I enter into my memory keeping adventures for 2018 I don't have any plans to shake anything up too much. I find comfort in repetition and in finding new grooves/small adjustments to the projects I've enjoyed for a number of years now. 

Here's a look at my memory keeping plans for 2018: 

  • Weekly Project Life® in the same size (12x12) and format as I've been doing - using products from my shop along with past Story Kits™ and Stories By The Month™ products. I still adore this project. For me it's the most open-ended of all the projects I do and I enjoy the time I spend working on it. I still have some weeks from the last few months of 2017 to finish up and you can see more about that here
  • Week In The Life™ in the spring - most likely either April or May (this depends on when the supplies are in the warehouse and we are able to start shipping them to you). This is a deep dive project into seven days in your regular life. 
  • Three Day In The Life™ projects that will end up in my Project Life® album (that worked really well for me this last year). The first one of these will likely be happening in February or March if I remember right. I really enjoyed the different angles we used in 2017 for each of those documentation days so we will be coming up with some similar ideas for 2018. 
  • 3-4 layouts per month using my Story Kit™/Story Stamp™ themes/products. These layouts have ended up being a combination of stories that either end up in my annual 12x12 album or in the kids 6x8 albums. I have really enjoyed just letting the story themes dictate the traditional scrapbook layouts I've been creating the last few years. It's manageable and I feel like I'm getting to tell the kinds of stories I want to tell with greater focus. In 2017 I started 6x8 albums for each of the kids and have been adding stories to them using the Story Themes. I plan to post more about those albums sometime soon outside of the Story Classroom. 
  • Monthly One Little Word® reflections in my One Little Word® 6x8 album. This is a project that doesn't take a lot of time to complete each month but has definitely been super meaningful for me as I go through the phases of my life. 
  • December Daily® in December. I can't imagine my December without working on this project. 

Am I forgetting anything? Ha. It's a lot. 

Please remember that this is my job along with something I truly enjoy and am passionate about. As always I encourage you to find your own enough (read more about that here: Establishing Your Own Enough In Memory Keeping) and figure out what makes the most sense for you. In order to figure that out you have to try some stuff. 

As I work through my own projects and share them here this year my goal continues to be to document what's real - the ups and the downs - and inspire you to get the stories of your own life told in a way that is meaningful to you. 

Thank you for being part of this community whether you simply watch from the sidelines or actively engage in all these crazy memory keeping projects. I hope that 2018 is a year where you find a storytelling groove for yourself that makes sense for you in this season of your life. 

I'd love to invite you to share your own memory keeping plans in the comments below (or link to a blog post if you are writing them out and sharing them that way). Are you trying something new this year by switching sizes or embarking on a new project? What's your current  favorite way to document your memories? Are you letting go of something this year to make room for something else? 

Let's tell stories together. 

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46 thoughts

  1. mtercha says…

    I'm doing project life, monthly, in a 6x8 album. This works for me. I'm caught up. I'm still working on finishing December Daily, probably will take me to early February. I will be doing WITL, this is my favorite project of the year, and the albums the family goes back to over and over. I'm especially looking forward to it this year, as my boys are away at college, and life looks a,little different. I will probably do at least one DITL, maybe all 3, that I won't know for sure until we get closer. I am also doing layouts based on story kit themes, mostly 6x8, with an occasional 12x12 too. I love the 6x8 for one photo stories, with room for a little art or embellishments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. SusanBowers says…

    This year I began an All About Me album for 2018 (although I'll probably delve into my past, too) in a 6 x 8 size. I am also attempting PL in the 12 x 12 format, again. I have only completed one year of PL and usually come to a screeching halt sometime over the summer. Hoping this won't happen this year. I am taking OLW (a 6 x 8 album). I finished my second DD in 2017 and riding on that high I will definitely document my December Daily in 2018. I haven't done a WITL for years but might try it this year in a small capacity. 30 Days of Thankful in November (probably a 4 x 4 format again). Two albums I completed in 2017 that I won't this year is 52 Gratitudes and 52 Weeks of Giving (both 4 x 6 format). Considering a monthly DITL, but we'll see. If you're interested in my past album projects or even current ones I'm at

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. justlisa says…

      Just took a look at your blog and your work is lovely!!

  3. JeanetteE says…

    This will be my 3rd year of OLW and it is my first attempt at PL in the weekly spread as you do. I'm looking forward to this "experiment".

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. christinakrohn says…

    All the love for your memory keeping plans. I also have a couple of projects I will be working on for 2018.

    First of the PL album for my family and me. Here I am documenting our lives on a monthly basis using your new Stories by the Month Kit. Yay! I am doing this in 6x12 this is my third year using this format and I love it and it works perfectly for me.

    I will also complete a 6x8 album for my baby-boy filled with photos and his stories about his first year (he will be turning 1 in april), afterwards I will be documenting his life in another 6x8 album.

    I am also keeping one 6x8 album for myself. I want to document what I like, dislike, read, do and this album is all about me, apart from being a mom.

    I will be doing one Day in the Life (probably in March, since I did a DITL two years ago in March as well and I bet it will be interesting to see how life has changed for me).

    I am also doing OLW (my OLW word is gentle) and for sure I will be participating in DD.

    Looking at that list, it's quite a lot, but then again it doesn't feel like it. For the family PL, the babyalbum and the album about myself I will take a couple of hours at the beginning of each month to document the last one. The prompt for OLW I will be tackling throughout the month and DITL and DD are one-time projects, so I think it is managable. And I love looking back at all the memories I recorded in the last couple of year.

    Thanks Ali for being an inspiration and for designing intentional memory keeping products that help tell my stories.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. sparkle says…

    This year I'm planning to stay with my 12x12 albums for regular layouts for my longer stories, but I'm using a regular size Midori for everyday stories (usually one cropped photo or a little ephemera). I've dabbled in it recently and it seems to be a good fit for the little bits and pieces of life. Ali's Story stamps are a great size for this by the way :-) One Little Word is where my heart is inspired to live and create, so that's a given. I'm planning to do one Day in the Life and one Week in the LIfe along with you guys. And December Daily is simply a part of Christmas for me. Oh how I love that project. And I'm sure I'll make a few mini albums along the way...just because. Looking forward to another year with ALL of you. Sharon

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Lynette150 says…

    I'm going to try incorporating an art journal process into my memory keeping. Definitely something just for me, but I do plan to incorporate photos and travel and whatever I am experiencing at the time. With my daughters away in college, I don't find I do as much "regular" documenting, so I'm going to focus on meaningful ways to do that as I learn to be an empty-nester. I think the story kits and story stamps will go wonderfully (as always) with whatever process I end up with.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. leslierae says…

      Making the adjustment to my memory-keeping while becoming an empty-nester was a big shift for me! It took some time, but now I have found my new "groove". And I get my kids in college to send me pics so I can still see their faces in my pages.

  7. heyecho says…

    I am hoping to use Jess Forster's tell 52 stories idea. I have been hording my monthly kit subscriptions for ages and I am going TO USE THEM THIS YEAR!!!!! I bought one of your Griege 6x8 albums for each of my daughters and I plan to tell stories for each of them in there...and I have wanted to try out a TN so I might tell some family stories in there. I am excited. Some will be short and some will be long but I will write them down :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. MaryAnn001 says…

    My very first year here . . . I completed my December Daily and feel in love with this Ali Edward’s style and community. I will do my memory keeping in: OLW and a 6 X 8 album. My 6 X 8 will incorporate DITL and WITL, along with certain monthly memories. I have subscribed to both the Story Kit and Story of the Month Kit. I am a widow, teach First Grade, and have a wonderful son, daughter in law, and precious 8-year-old granddaughter. I am so excited to have such a documented year!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. jkmeyers11 says…

      Welcome! How exciting! This is such an inspiring place to “hang out.”

  9. CynthiaByTheSea says…

    In 2017, I used one 12x12 album for all the DITLs, WITL and Dec Daily. At first I thought it would be a bit boring, but each project has its own personality and I really loved having all of them together in one album. I used the same color cardstock (teal blue) for DITL and WITL, with Dec Daily having a vibrant red cardstock. Having them in one album led to a cohesion I found very satisfying. :-) I will be doing that again this year, with OLW in a separate, mixed-media-type, handmade journal.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Traceyrmr says…

    I realized yesterday that I made it a lot farther in OLW last hear than I thought I had, to mid-summer, before it fell by the wayside in the pressures of work and family stresses. I am now encouraged to try OLW again this year, though I haven’t decided whether to reuse last year’s class since I didn’t finish it (never even visited the classroom once I got off track!) or buy the new class. I also want to document more regularly instead of just specials that stick out, and I subbed to the new kit for that. I am going to use my Story kits rather than collect them, if I can get myself going!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. HilaryAnn says…

    Such a great post... Thanks Ali! Great motivator to clarify my plan for 2018. So here goes!

    - Weekly PL (OK, sometimes monthly - I just go with it) using Story Kit & Stories by the Month supplies in a 12x12. Love this method for documenting family stories.
    - WITL & 1-3 DITL's in the back of that same 12x12 to document MY story.
    - One Little Word in a skinny 6x8.
    - I work in retail so December Daily will (unfortunately) never happen. LOL!

    I have really struggled with having too many binders, so one change for me this year will be just putting WITL & DITL into my Weekly PL 12x12 binder. I have also struggled managing all the 'stuff' and am really looking forward to keeping it simple this year by using only AE subs & kits.

    Thanks again for prompting me to set intentions for my memory keeping in 2018!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. PoochPatrol says…

    This year I’ve chosen to simplify. That’s my one little word this year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Seattlegirl says…


    Do you have any plans to create a wedding album? I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been married 20+ years and still haven’t finished my wedding album.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…

      Hi! No plans to scrapbook it but I will probably make a photo book.

    2. LisaMacfarlane says…

      Ha. Glad I'm not the only one. Haven't finished mine yet either! On the list 😂

  14. soonermama says…

    Really interesting to set out a plan for the year. I do it professionally and in some areas of my life, but have less concrete goals historically in this area. Generically, I plan to:
    -Create 1 12x12 layout per month per kid (so 3 per month) - often averages out to more, but this is the minimum objective.
    -Participate in WITL - some years it is purely on my blog sometimes in paper. Plan is for an actual album this year.
    - Complete 12x12 two page PL layouts for as many weeks as serve me. I usually do about 3-4 months a year and call it good. Some years more or less, but find I'm OK with getting a slice of weekly documenting and oddly don't "need" to complete the year to feel good about this aspect of my documentation
    - December Daily - always- it is a core of our family's experience of December.

    You know the phrase what gets measured gets done? I think that will help here. I've added a column in the "month" view of my Get to Work Book to note the number of PL spreads, Layouts, and days of Yoga to track each. I just add a hash mark as I complete them. My OLW is gratitude so I'm adding 5 things I'm grateful for in each day of the monthly view. Trying to update each as I do them or in the morning so there is a visual accountability or tallying of achievements! Sounds like maybe a lot, but in the bright light of January it is nice to have a plan and a structure to support the plan.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. lauralou222 says…

    This year my word is action. I needed a word to make me move. A loud word. Right now I'm purging my scrap space. Thank goodness for Totally Tiffany. Trying to get rid of stuff. I'm working on finishing my December Daily. My current plans for 2018:

    OLW: Love this project. I have been doing this for 6 years. I use your albums and supplies I don't always get everything done but I add random things and pictures into them. I kind of document me.
    PL: I have been doing this project since Becky Higgins started this in 2009 at creating keepsakes. I do weekly. 12X12 size albums. One album per year. Last year I did 9x12. It was okay. I'm going back to 12x12 this year.
    WITL: I do this in a 6x8 album and your kit.
    DITL: I do this in a 4x4 and just 1 time. Even though I get all your kits :)
    December Daily: I do this with your 6x8 album and your fun supplies!
    I have 3 boys 19,16 and 11. I love pictures of our everyday. As Heidi Swapp says this is evidence of our lives. I'm a documentarian. I know that is not a word, but its who I am. I thank you Ali for all your inspiration. You freaking ROCK!!!!!!!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Smartis86 says…

    Hello Ali!
    I think it's really important to all of us to remember that this is not only your hobby - like for most of us - but your work. So - lucky you!! - you are investing a lot more time into it than for example I can due to my job.

    My plans for 2018:
    My second year of documenting my life in a PL style and in 9x12. This worked quite well for me and was a lot of fun. Though I am still missing October till December '17.

    I'm taking part in OLW for the 2nd time.

    For the first time, I'll do a WITL. Bought one of the past kits on sale, that's how I finally decided to give it a go. I'm curious how it will go for single me...

    I'll do DITL at least once. Depending on the kits as I like the "per hour" way most. It allows me to compare my different DITLs.

    December Daily of course.

    Then I did a 6x8 album for my family in 2016 and wanted to do another in 2017 but somehow I never succeeded though most of the photos are printed. I hope to catch up and to do one for 2018, too.... we'll see.

    Same goes for 6x8 albums of my vacations. These I love most, but hardly ever get them done due to the amount of photos. I really hope to have time to work on some this year.

    Looking at all these plans, I need to quit my job xD

    Take care,

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…

      Yes! I mention that in the post above about how this is my job :).

  17. jscales915 says…

    I'm being super intentional about using Sundays to 'create' in 2018. I'm embarrassed to say that I have all of your Story Kits in a bin and I haven't used a single one - never 'making' the time to tell those extra stories outside of my PL albums, WITL & DD too. So this year, I'm going to hustle on Saturdays to get more errands & chores done so that Sundays are for creating. I'm using my lunches at work to watch your SK class videos and brainstorming my layout ideas and the past 2 Sunday's I've actually worked on them! I just started with For The Love and will work forward & backward as I try to catch up.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. erindenby says…

    I do a 12 x 12 PL album (or 2), but not 1 week per spread, rather monthly.
    I did WITL last year and I'm excited to do it again this year. Loved that project.
    I also did a DD album this year for the first time and I thought I'd just do "December Stories" and not worry about the number of days, but ended up having a story and layout of some kind for each day. Surprise! So I will be doing DD again this year. (I appreciate that album so much and I think it was because I took the Product Play class. So many inspirations in that class and even though I didn't do every one of them or use all of the foundations that I made I loved how it was a great reference for creativity.)
    I'm also going to attempt 6x8 albums for both my daughters with 1 story a month using whatever story theme is available that month.
    Oh and I'm doing OLW again.
    I didn't think I was doing too much this year, but phew! when you write it all out it seems like a lot! I guess everyone has to have a hobby ;)

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Inkfanatic says…

    Love hearing all of this❤️. I too, am finishing up 2017 PL (after deciding in November, HA! to print pics for the year, and do kind of a Monthly format). For 2018, I will most likely do a monthly format. That seems to be really speaking to me right now. I would like to try 9x12 for this, but am working through a lot of 12x12 product I already own. 😜
    And like you, I'm especially loving letting the Story Kit & Stamp encourage & inspire what stories I tell in other pages I make. Some in 6x8, some 12x12. As well, I will probably do DITL, & WITL with you, as I have for several years now. Love to see the changes over time!
    And I'm actively doing OLW this year, and so far loving it❤️!
    I'm excited to see what I make & what stories get told this year, especially after the awe inspiring weekend of Story Camp!! ❤️Still have such a full, full heart from that weekend!!:) 😘 Especially excited to work on my 'Me' album we started❤️

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. deigalynn says…

    Thanks for sharing your plan. I'm trying chat books printed from my instagram account (a separate family account) for everyday life. Project Life just hasn't seemed to work for me the last three years, so I thought I would try a different approach. I want to create more traditional layouts - it's still my favorite and I miss doing those. Love DD and WITL and DITL - those are always my favorite projects. Thank you for your continued inspiration. I did a blog post once on 'Thursdays with Ali,' I think it was the yesterday/today class and how Thursday was my favorite day of the week because I loved, loved, loved your class. Still do! Happy 2018 to you and yours.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Fundygirl says…

      Chatbooks are awesome! I think you will like them. I've been using them for a couple years now and I love the collection I've grown.

  21. jenwong says…

    Hi Ali, I loved reading your plans and the plans of those who posted as well. Coincidentally, I just wrote a blog post about my memory keeping plans for 2018 yesterday (, but in summary:

    - Project Life in 12x12" format - still one of my favorite projects ever
    - Travel albums - likely in a traveler's notebook (discovered these last year and I love them!) and 4x4" albums for shorter trips
    - December Daily - although I'm still finishing up my 2017 album I will likely do another this year
    - OLW - my first time doing this project and I'm super excited about it
    - Story Album - I'm starting to do smaller 6x8" layouts to document the longer stories that didn't make it into my regular Project Life album. I also want to start telling some of the longer stories from my past. Most of my memory-keeping started with the birth of my daughter, but I had a life before her (!) and I want to tell those stories too (and mayhe she'd want to read about them someday).

    Related goals?
    - I'd also like to get better about my photography - taking more intentional and better photos

    Thanks for reading and always for your encouragement to tell our stories!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. ksmou says…

    Change is going to be the hallmark of 2018 for me. Bloom is my OLW, but change is certainly going to be the theme. We are retiring and leaving our Southern CA home 35 years for Arizona. So packing up and moving and creating a new home - and setting up a new craft room! I have done a little PL in the past using my story stamp kits - have done WITL and December Daily some years - some years not. And that's ok with me. My biggest memory keeping achievement this past year is getting 43 years of our photos, 85+ years of my in-laws photos in 12 x 12 books. Every size and shape photo you can imaging - scrapbook pages, keepsakes, you name it. I have had these boxes of photos for decades! And just made up my mind a year ago I was NOT going to move with them like that. 43 albums later - they are sorted and in albums that make sense to me and where I can put my finger on just what I need in minutes. My biggest frustration in memory keeping was being able to find the photo I needed. My next task is to organize all the digital ones - but that will be much easier. So my goal for this year is to start telling some of those then and now stories since I can finally find the then photos! I too find rejuvenation in the new year and look forward to the chance to bloom in a new location.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Honore says…

      Congrats on your monumental accomplishment of organizing all those years of photos!

  23. Fundygirl says…

    I have a lot of memory keeping plans, but seeing as my OLW is "focus" I am confident that I will be able to make them work without becoming overwhelmed.
    - I'm attempting PL again, but this time in a 6x8 with a monthly overview. I'm finding it a lot easier on myself to just put in random stories without having to worry about filling up a whole week.
    - I'm doing OLW for the first time this year. As I mentioned, I chose "focus" for the specific hope that I would be able to teach myself to get things done (especially memory keeping).
    -I will do WITL in April. Regardless of when Ali does it, I've chosen to always do mine on the week starting with Easter Sunday. I like the fact that Easter always falls differently each year, yet it still gives me some sense of continuity (I like things to be the same). I'll probably take the photos and write down the stories and then order the kit whenever it's available and fill it in then.
    - I'm planning to do all three of the DITL. I'm thinking about putting all three in one 6x8 album of their own. We'll see if/how that works out.
    - December Daily, of course.
    - I turned 40 this year, so I am doing an All About Me album to document who I am right now. I'm planning on ending it with a page of "40 selfies @ 40". I'm currently on selfie #8.
    - This week I'm starting an 8-week fitness challenge with work. I'm planning on documenting my journey in an 6x8 album. I'm taking inspiration from the OLW idea. I'm looking forward to seeing how I do and how I change over the course of the challenge. Also, doing the memory keeping of it will keep me motivated to complete the 8-week challenge (who wants to do an album of a half finished challenge?)
    - Then there's all the other stories I'll end up telling from the Story Kits. I've recently figured out how to do my pages digitally, which saves me a lot of time, so I will probably do most of these in that form, but I'll print them out and regardless the size of the page (12x12, 6x8, 8.5x11), I'll keep them in a 12x12 album until I find themes to sort them out by.

    I'm incredibly excited to see what stories I end up telling this year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. laura_g_ says…

    Just took a minute to write down 3 memory keeping goals for 2018...3 to keep it simple. #1 Finish 2016 DD and 2017 DD #2 finish 2016 DD, I've just completed Sept. As I work on it I've pulled photos out to tell specific stories for my grandkids albums...make a copy for each album...I want them to celebrate family and having cousins to play and grow up with! #3 I want to do an album about ME. .my childhood pic, school pics, etc. I subscribed to Story Kits to keep me motivated! ♡

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. laura_g_ says…

      Oops! Meant to say finish 2016 PL...just completed Sept!

  25. teri0604 says…

    A new! I will continue in my 12x12 project life using design G pages. I also will do Day in the Life and Week in the Life as I have done in the past. I have a 12x12 album that sometimes I put stories in that are about me and not so much about the rest of the tribe here. I am also doing a TN that is #52favorites just as a fun super fast documenting about one thing that bring joy from the week. I still love my DSLR and am taking photos most days with it. I love my phone for convenience and incorporate those photos in my PL. I love my time scrapbooking and will fit in in any small spaces of time that these five kiddos allow! Thank you for all you do! I love it so much!

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