A Scrapbook Project Pt. I

A couple years ago a friend suggested that I organize my scraps and keepsakes in a scrapbook, which I thought was a brilliant solution to my emotional clutter. I’m an emotional hoarder, which for me means that I usually keep every note, letter, ticket and trinket that comes my way for the sake of preserving memories. Recently, I realized I had collected over ten years’ worth of mementos.

However, during my first attempt at scrapbooking I was overwhelmed by the size of the project and there were many faults to my approach, so my mementos went back into their crude, shoe-box storage for another two years. More recently, I picked up this project again and made huge changes to my approach which made my second attempt much more successful.

Approach Pinterest with Caution 

Pinterest is an amazing tool for gathering and organizing inspiration, so naturally I created a “Scrapbook Inspo” board to get me going on my first attempt at starting my own scrapbook. After scrolling through and pinning several posts I felt incredibly overwhelmed with all the content and felt like I lacked all the tools and materials to start my scrapbook. My first inspiration board was filled with craft-heavy layouts, the kind that require specialized shape-cutters, tons of washi tape, and foam letter stickers. I liked looking at these layouts and creations, but when it came to making them for myself… the lack of motivation and vision killed my project before I could really get it off the ground.

Pin 1

After scrapping my Pinterest board, I started anew with one that reflected the kind of minimalist scrapbook layout that both appealed to me and that I actually wanted to create. I didn’t have to collect a bunch of extra equipment or supplies, so it encouraged me to just jump in!

Pin 2

Collect the Supplies You (Actually) Need

This seems obvious, but when I first started out I was collecting all the supplies I thought I needed, and skimping out on what I truly needed. For example, at first I bought different types of craft paper, glue, glitter, and printed out a ton of photos. The cost of these items started adding up, so for my actual Scrapbook I cut costs and bought a large office binder and a three-hole punch. I had not anticipated how time-consuming or messy it would be to have to glue each item one-by-one onto construction paper, trim down pictures to certain dimensions, and on top of that plan all my decorations out carefully so they could be layered just right. Not only that, but the binder ended up being too big and I printed out way too many photos.

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Business cards from my high school’s art academy senior class project. Too much time was spend gluing all of these down!

Two years later I still have all of the supplies mentioned above, but I looked for a magnetic photo album to save time from having to glue everything onto a page. It made the process so much easier, and I had the freedom to peel-off and rearrange pictures or notes without damaging them.

“Does This Still Matter To Me?”

When one accumulates over 10 years worth of mementos and scraps, some of that stuff is bound to lose some sentimental value. While I could have continued to hang on to every single piece I had collected over the years, I decided to only keep the things that were still important to me. For example, I tossed out notes from a toxic friend I no longer talk to, receipts that had faded so much they could not be made out, and many pictures that I had previously printed out but were better kept in storage on a back-up hard drive (i.e. all my college party photos). Not only did it cut down my “workload” , I also felt great about clearing things I had kept from people who weren’t all that good for me (but I kept all the doodles that I drew on my high school notes…).

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High School doodles

Finally, Just Start Scrapbooking!

As you can see below, my scrapbooking skills are not super refined yet. While I will try to better my scrapbooking, and improve the aesthetics of my physical memory-keeping as I go along, there wasn’t any reason why I couldn’t just dive into my project right away.

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Backstage before a ballroom dance concert
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Receipts and flyers for dance events in London

Once I got myself started, I managed to organize about 4 years out of 10 into my Scrapbook all in one sitting! I will make a follow-up post in the next couple months to track how my scrapbooking has developed, and whether I have made any improvements or changes to my approach on my future projects!

Some Notes:

  • I’ve noticed that I’ve kept less scraps throughout the years and rely much more heavily on photographing my experiences. I’m curious to see how my scrapbooking habit will change or influence that.
  • On that note, I am looking into purchasing an expandable file folder to fill and organize my things each year.
  • I separated all my letters, cards, and postcards into a nice shoe box, because I didn’t really want to include correspondence in my scrapbooking. And they’re much easier to pull out and re-read this way.
  • I have already filled up one album with my scrapbooking, and I have managed to get through 2006-2016 (with the exception of 2010).
  • I am also in the process of backing up my photos on an external hard drive, which is difficult when they have been date/time stamped incorrectly. This has made me more conscious about how I store and organize my photos going forward.

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