Why I’m Simplifying My Memory Keeping Process in 2017

Just the other day, I came across a blog post by Becky Higgins, founder of Project Life, where she talked about simplifying her memory keeping process. She covered quite a bit in her post but what struck a chord with me was her emphasis on taking less pictures and focusing more on living in the moment and telling robust stories. To see her post, click HERE. It’s worth a read.

Needless to say, Becky and I are on the same page!

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Toward the end of 2016, I began thinking about my current scrapbooking process. I am the queen of picture taking…I feel like I need to take ALL THE PHOTOS. Seriously, I have a ton of duplicates floating around on iCloud. I also have a lot of finished layouts just hanging around; some under my desk in a tray, others on top of my closet in my studio…very few are making it into my scrapbook albums these days.

Then there is my stash. To be honest, I just finished purging the very last of my unwanted items – old die cuts, sticker sheets, an 8×8 album that I never used…all of it donated to Goodwill. But what remains is a very delicious assortment of goodies that I need to dig my hands into. You would think that I have my stuff all perfectly organized, arranged in kits, ready to go.

Not really…I’ve been lazy.

Oh, let me not forget one very important nugget: I don’t think I want to do yearly albums about my kid anymore.

GASP!!!

Yep, I said it. In fact, I have yet to finish her baby album, 1, 5 and 6-year old albums. My goal was to finish each album before her next birthday. Yeah, not gonna happen! Yet, I started thinking about all of the albums that I will eventually leave to her…she is an only child so there will be no one else. She will either have to keep them or face the fact that I will haunt her for life if she throws them away! FOR LIFE! (She might need therapy). But seriously, at the rate I’m going with all of my “project plans”, my girlie will have a ton of albums to inherit…hundreds of layouts all devoted to her.

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She who stands to inherit a million layouts…all about her!

At this point, I began to consider how I scrapbook my family’s stories. Sure I have a lot of layouts that were just made for the pure enjoyment of being creative. But those layouts are just that…the richness of storytelling is absent. And that’s just not my style. I want to tell more robust stories, to paint a picture of our lives that is authentic and truthful.

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Only stories that matter.

So, with all of that being said, I decided that I need to reevaluate my scrapbooking intentions. Simplifying sounds refreshing! Here’s what I plan to do:

I am going to take less pictures. I have too many pictures just hanging out on my phone, my iPad, my iMac, on the Cloud. It’s just simply overwhelming. Plus, I want to focus more on being in the moment – to really pay attention to my daughter as she attempts to do a handstand for the 100th time and to enjoy a relaxing nature walk versus taking pictures of every pretty flower, bird, or tree. I want to enjoy a good meal without feeling compelled to take a photo of my plate (which I am sure annoys the hell out of my spouse). I am going to limit my picture taking and live in the present.

Speaking of photos…I am going to purge, edit, print, and delete my photos on a weekly basis. My plan is to only keep the photos that I absolutely love – all the rest will be deleted. Period. I already have too many photos to organize and print! I want to create a manageable photo processing system that is easy to maintain and keep up with. I can’t deal with complicated processes…keep things simple I say!

I am going to make more scrapbooking kits. I love kits and I need to get back into the habit of making them on a frequent basis. I truly believe that scrapbooking kits help to save time on product selection and make the scrapbooking process more efficient! Additionally, creating kits is a great way to use up my stash.

I am going to deconstruct and throw away unwanted layouts. Yep, you read that right – I am going to throw away layouts that I don’t like and only keep the layouts that I love. I don’t see the point of hanging on to layouts just for the sake of it, especially if there are layouts that I don’t care to keep anymore. Good riddance! So brutal!! 

I am going to focus less on doing yearly albums and more on creating continual albums. In the past, I have created albums based on year. I set an expectation to finish each yearly album before the year was complete. I have come to find that this is very stressful. What happens when I don’t complete a year? Oh the mayhem (in my mind only)! The truth is…there are some years when I have a ton of stories to tell and there are other years when I don’t. So, to take the pressure off myself, I am going to create continual albums based on the progression of my family, not our yearly activities. I will add to these albums as I see fit based on the stories I want to tell. And there is no pressure to finish as I will continue to add to the album month after month, year after year. It will never be finished. And when I fill one album, I will just start another…it’s that simple.

Additionally, all layouts about my daughter will go into this one continual album as well. I cannot manage separate yearly albums with multiple themes – it’s becoming too cumbersome. I will however continue to make mini albums for special projects like vacations, December Daily, and so forth. Now, ask me in a year how this system is working…I promise to be honest!

So, there you have it…my plan to simplify my memory keeping process, take control of my incessant picture taking, and minimize my family albums. I am going to give this a shot for a year and see how I do. And guess what? If it doesn’t work, I’ll just tweak my process and move on.

Scrapbooking is truly an evolution.

14 thoughts on “Why I’m Simplifying My Memory Keeping Process in 2017

  1. Pattyg says:

    I love this. I have started to stress about how many albums I have. I tend to focus on the event or the pictures, and the story is secondary. 2017 is going to be different!

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  2. Megan says:

    This is such a great idea, Victoria!! I make so many layouts just because the photos are cute or because I have a design team assignment. I am also going to try to do more story driven layouts. I think it’s a great idea to delete photos. Heaven knows I take way too many and I have so many duplicates I don’t need. It’s hard for me to let go/delete photos though. I cringe at the thought. lol I hope these ideas help you enjoy the process more!! I have always just made chronological albums and not yearly based. I’m going to try to scrapbook the present from now on and if I get a chance to work on old photos that will be a bonus. 😊 Ok sorry, super long comment, but your post has totally inspired me!! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Adrienne says:

    Love the honesty of this! It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Or to do what we’ve always done. This is a great reminder to examine my process, see what’s working, and change what doesn’t.

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  4. keelyboley says:

    Victoria, I am also the mother of an only child. I realized years ago that he may not want any of my scrapbook albums. (Although, I hold out hope that maybe his future wife will be interested in them.) Anyway, a few years ago, I switched from chronological annual albums to ongoing albums and have been very happy with the result. I find that my layouts now focus more on stories than events. Here’s to a great 2017!!

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  5. Tina H says:

    This sounds like a great plan Victoria! I bet you will find many people thinking about this in the back of their minds, myself included. I’ve been working on backing up my digital pics on and off for a month now. It’s daunting!!!!! I want to keep them all. I’m trying to be selective with the ones I keep. Not an easy task! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think reading that you are thinking on the same lines helps solidify my decision. I also will be limiting my spending to replacing my stash as needed, not adding to it. I’m also going to simplify my scrapbook layouts. I will be going a little fancy on some layouts, but not trying to make everyone outstanding. As long as I like it that’s all that matters. I want to make the story the focus too. I too have a few layouts that keep resurfacing in my brain that I’m not happy with and will be breaking down and changing. So thanks again for helping to free our minds of all the clutter and expectations we put on ourselves thinking that’s what is expected from others!!!!!

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    • victoriamarieblog says:

      Thanks for the comments! I agree…it can get overwhelming. I have that same problem, I never want to let go of my digital photos! But then again, it doesn’t make sense not to let some of them go. I don’t need the same picture of the same subject. =-)

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