Sorry for the long post, but I want to share my thoughts on this issue in case it helps any of my fellow scrapbookers!
A new favorite photo from 2001 :)
Awhile back, I shared that I've started converting my old post-bound chronological scrapbooks to 3-ring binders. The reason I'm doing this is simple: I've never finished the post-bound binders or added any memorabilia to them because it's simply too cumbersome to do so. Adding pages to a post-bound album involves taking apart the album -- and taking it apart AGAIN to add a sleeve you may have forgotten or if the album grows too thick. It's such a pain that I have totally left YEARS of scrapbooking undone.
When I teach beginners' scrapbooking, I always recommend 3-ring binders. I'm not opposed to post-bound albums in general, but I think they're better suited for situations where you have a fixed number of pages -- such as a vacation album -- and won't need to add to it or shift pages around once it's done.
If you're like me and need to add pages to your chronological albums, binders are 100 times easier -- just open the rings. No dismantling required.
This past week, I started working on this project in earnest. First, I took apart my post-bound albums and put the pages into 3-ring binders. (I'll sell the old albums at our store's next garage sale.) That was the easy part and took only a few hours and very little brain power!
The next part was harder than I anticipated. I decided to start with one year at a time. The oldest album I converted was 2001, so I pulled out all of my 2001 stuff to start, including...
#1 -- A box of photos, which turned out to be mostly duplicates of what had already been scrapbooked. Do you remember back in the days of film when we always got two sets of photos? I sometimes gave those extra photos away, but most often I kept them. I've decided that all of those duplicates need to go! (Side note: I'm lucky that I do have printed photos for these years. Things are going to be more tedious for years after the advent of digital photography, when I haven't kept up with printing. UGH.)
#2 -- Memorabilia which needs to go in the albums. It's sitting in file boxes because of the issues I outlined above. Here's one box of memorabilia. YIKES.
So I pulled out JUST the 2001 files and ignored the rest for now. Much less overwhelming that way! This box should eventually disappear as documents are migrated into the albums. I'm even betting that I'll decide to either photograph some of the documents to make them less bulky or choose not to include them at all. The passage of time has given me a little different perspective on some of this stuff. I don't need to keep everything. Repeat: I don't need to keep everything!
I also pulled out my sheet protectors, to be used for any memorabilia or scrapbooking that needs to be finished. My plan is to use pocket pages to "catch up" quickly on those events that haven't been scrapbooked yet. I'll just insert the pocket pages between the traditional pages. Binders make this possible. YAY, binders!
I was 10 minutes into this process, feeling pretty good about things, when I discovered a major monkey wrench. 2001 was the year that I stopped using the old-style Creative Memories albums. With those albums, you adhere your photos directly to paper which is in the album. Those layouts, ghastly as they are -- YIKES -- cannot be converted to binders. I'll just have to live with all the bad scrapbooking decisions I made back then! LOL So 2001 will have to stay split between two types of albums.
I also discovered many pages that do not have journaling, which is really unusual for me. This will be challenging to do now (16 years later...) because I remember very little of what I would normally write about. Cue the song: Regrets, I have a few...
The other thing that I discovered (and this was interesting to me) has to do with photo selection. As I looked through the photos in the box, many were duplicates which I put in my recycle pile. But others were photos I just hadn't included in the scrapbook. Of course, you don't have to use every photo, but I wondered why I made some of those decisions. For example, I excluded some really nice photos of Bailey and her grandparents and now that they're not with us, I really cherish those photos. I also excluded some very fun "everyday" sorts of photos and almost all photos of me. My guess is that I was so focused on "event" scrapbooking that I skipped over some of the more mundane photos.
Luckily, I can fix those issues. In a few cases, I was able to fit another photo onto the page, or I used pocket pages to add in those extra photos. Some were special enough that I'll make a traditional layout for them and add to the binder.
My advice to scrapbookers would be to think about the kinds of photos you would want to see years from now. Don't necessarily discard that photo which includes your messy kitchen counter or your own bad hair. Those photos -- especially those which provide context about your day-to-day life -- are an important part of your story.
So back to the process. I'm not going to lie -- this was a tedious exercise and I'm far from done with 2001. But after one evening of work, I have sorted through most of the photo box and made decisions on what to do with the extra photos.
Most of them went straight into my recycle box.
Unfortunately, I didn't even start on the memorabilia and I won't be able to do that until all the photos are added and the journaling is caught up. But I vow not to get bogged down. I WILL get this done. It will not be perfect, but it will be done, and that's OK.
Now if I could just get my trusty assistant to stay awake on the job, maybe I'd get a lot more accomplished! :)
Are you working on a similar project? What tips can you share? I'd love to hear them!