Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Little Scrapbook Advice

I've heard versions of this statement so many times: I would love to have scrapbooks for my children but it's such a monumental job--I have thousands of pictures--I'll never catch up. There's no way. I don't even know where to start. 

I get it. 

Let's take a moment an examine the problems here. 

If you look at scrapbooking as something you must do to preserve every photo, you will absolutely be perpetually "behind" and completely overwhelmed. Currently, there are 3500 photos just on my phone from this year. That's far too much scrapbooking to ever even think about. (More on this topic later.)

Task #1
Stop telling yourself that you must Scrapbook every photo. We all know that's not a realistic plan anyway. Relieve the pressure. Instead ask yourself these questions:
What photos/events/memories do I want to preserve?
If I could only scrapbook one page per year, what photos would I make sure were included on it?
What details/thoughts/memories are most important to *me*?
What information/details from my own early life do I wish had been preserved for me? 

Use the answers to these questions to help you select what's really important to you to include in a scrapbook.

Based on these questions, my personal scrapbooking philosophy has evolved over the years to this: 

I try to scrapbook two kinds of pictures--those pictures that help recall a memory or a thought that my sons might not be likely to remember on their own and those pictures that are poignantly representative of our life. To me, these two kinds of pictures are the most important and are most worthy of the space in my scrapbooks. When I have covered these two areas well, I will feel like I have arrived as a memory keeper. No pressure needed. 

Task #2
Write down the details now so you can Scrapbook factually whenever you choose to do so. Maybe this means using a photo safe pen to write the date on the back of the printed photos as you print them. Or perhaps it means bullet journaling in an email to yourself to be read again later when you are ready to Scrapbook. Whatever way you choose, lay down the facts in a place that is accessible because you will forget things. We all do. 

Task #3
Change your thought process about the looming insurmountable pile of photos that are languishing in your phone and your closet and your "ready to be scrapbooked" file. Stop saying "I'm so behind, I'll never catch up." Just stop. This is not helping you. In fact, it may be exactly what is paralyzing you. 

Instead be grateful that you have the opportunity to preserve so many details and photos. As the saying goes, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. Likewise, you can only tame that big pile of photos, one (or maybe two) pages at a time. 

Spend a little bit of time on the task of arranging maybe ten pages worth of photos so they are easy to access and ready to be scrapbooked. If it's appealing, give yourself a directive such as "I'm going to reach for a few of these older photos and scrapbook them after I finish the current page I'm working on." 

You can only tackle the big pile one page at the time. However, every page is progress. Don't forget that. Every memory captured, every moment and thought you have written down is important. 

Which brings us to...
Task #4

Enjoy what you have already accomplished! Whether you have just completed your first scrapbook page or you have volumes  of work achieved, spend a little time enjoying your body of work. Don't criticize or edit. Just see the achievement. Let your work inspire you to move forward. 

I think if you alter your perspective just a tad and think of the potential of that big pile of photos, rather than just a monumental heap, you will feel less overwhelmed by it and more inspired to take it on one page at a time. 

Take it as a great compliment that you have lived a full life--you have much to show for it. That's an awesome gift! 

And finally, remember that you don't owe anyone a scrapbook. Enjoy your hobby. Whatever you manage to do in terms of memory preservation will just have to be enough. Down the line, no one is going to say "It's not a complete scrapbook so just throw it away." 

Seek not to do it all, seek to do what you can, really well.

Until next time,

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