Skip to main content

Organizing and Displaying your Scrapbooks/Memory Books

Here is a picture I have wanted to show you for a very long time. I recently, and I mean really recently, organized my pages and books for my memories (scrapbooks). First a little history.

I authored my first modern memory/journal (scrapbook) page in the spring of 2002. I went to a neighbor's Creative Memories home party. We completed one page. I liked it. I did scrapbook in high school and college using those awful tan paper scrapbooks. I still have them. In a tub. Hidden. I was also good at putting my developed photos into simple photo books. Pictures have always meant a lot to me and my dads family. Still do! My grandma Johnson, as poor as they often were, always made sure to have professional pictures taken, frequently. I am still finding some of these pictures. But I digress.

Spring 2002 first modern page. A year and a half later or maybe longer, I went on my first all day crop. I felt like a mess. I didn't know what I was doing, didn't know what supplies I needed. I had papers and some embellishments and certainly plenty of pictures and plenty of memories to preserve. I forged ahead. My supplies grew, or at least my designer paper stash grew to astronomical proportions. (Shhh...oh well, husband knows now!) I plugged away on pages. I spent a fortune on magazines and other resources. When my daughter started kindergarten and first grade, my son would play and craft with me in my space in the dark cold unfinished basement.

Along the way I joined Stampin' Up! because I loved the products and their Simply Scrapping kits! I continued to complete traditional paper pages, saving those memories as fast as I could. I often (okay always) got hung up on the creative process. My pages were detailed and over the top. Beautiful to look at but I just wasn't getting very far. Then in 2009 Stampin' Up! released their version of digital Scrapbooking - My Digital Studio. I was hooked. Instantly! I did not buy every download they released but it felt like it. Over time I think I amassed around 550 separate downloads. It just got to be too many decisions, to much to sift through for me. But I love digital. Me and digital art goes back to college too but thats a story for another time.

Over time, especially switching to digital I amassed a fair amount of completed pages. Guess what? They sat in their shipping boxes in tubs. All my completed pages, traditional and digital and then Project Life App prints were a mass mess of tub upon tub of messed up disorganized pages. When I started getting going in 2003ish I purchased a plastic 3 ring horrid binder to put some of my pages inside in sleeves/protectors. I outgrew it quickly. It broke. I longed for time and space to get this mess organized.

This fall I got a wild wild hair that i wanted the books on display for the holidays. Yes, I did! My husband also thought that might be nice. So after Thanksgiving he kindly hauled up all the tubs of crap. Well not crap, but a terrible mess. I had planned on hauling all this to a retreat and work on it but what a mess to haul and I wouldn't have enough room to do what needed to be done.

We cleared some space in the living room. I dug in and unboxed all the pages, pulled them from their "albums" hahaha. I made a very large stack of completed pages. And I still think I might have some missing, or never got printed. But can be dealt with much later. Husband helped me sort and organized the pages by years. I loved having his help but he was slow because he would stop and look at and read every page. I kept saying hurry, thats why I need to get them in books. He had no idea some of the pages I had done. I would print them and they'd come home and sit in those boxes, for no one to enjoy :-( And during this I had just sent off around 300 pages to be printed from Project Life. A chunk of them were for Christmas gifts, and extras for each of the kids books.

***I will address my switch to Project Life App in a future, probably long-winded, post.***

I then went and put the months in the years in order. Turns out more recently I often forget the date. Oops. Lesson learned. When I did I hand wrote it on the page and corrected the digital files. If I reprint or print extras, they will be correct. Part of why I love digital.

Next I consolidated, unboxed and otherwise organized my empty books, sleeves and posts. Here I thought I had so many books. Ha ha ha. Im so funny!

Sideline: plans for kids books. They will not get copies of everything family related, unless they specifically ask for it. We will be the master keepers of all the memories. I will print extra or created paper pages of what specifically relates to each child's story. They each have 5 matching post albums.

Back to the program: Maybe I am late to the show on this, I thought all scrapbooks, of post or ring style, would all be universal in size and post sizes and sleeve sizes. Nope! Nope! and Nope! All of Stampin' Up!s supplies were all interchangeable, thank goodness. But the books and supplies I purchased from Michaels for the kids books - Gretchen Green, Blake Blue, do not work with other manufacturers. I was crushed. I wanted to get this project on completed. I popped on Amazon and ordered some post extenders. Guess, what? the width of the posts work with nothing I have. My SU! sleeves do not fit my non SU! albums and those are the only sleeves I have. Argh! That may have not been what I said in the moment but it is version you will hear.

My sweet husband kept saying, where and what do you need me to get? I turned to him and said "I honestly do not know how to answer that". Sigh....

After some research, here are some of the ideas I came up with:

  • order one manufacturers posts and replace them all, or at least the ones that now need it, with a uniform system. The post extenders I purchased from Amazon look very sturdy.
  • start over and buy all one manufacturers albums and supplies.
  • Guess and make sure I have supplies for the kids albums and build their albums empty for now.
  • Switch to ring albums (thinking on this because I like the Black Leather Project Life ones in my store at Stampin' Up!)
  • Where does this leave all my mismatched albums?  Does it really matter? 
  • What else am I missing? 

After many back-breaking and thumb breaking hours I got the books in order and pages in them in order. I have a separate book for my Stampin' Up! related memories. I have a separate book for my Roadside Kitsch memories. Its a weird obsession I have. Turns out I am not alone on the kitsch! We have the family base stuff. I do not have a separate album yet, but pages for a future album, of family history and my history. Again, need info on what to purchase. I do realize those post albums can get heavy and unwieldy to deal with (hence the thumb breaking putting them together). And putting all those pages in sleeves proved to be a bit back-breaking, but fun to look at those precious memories. Part of why I am thinking of switching to ring albums. May not hold as many pages but easy in and out. Nice side binding to label. Not as heavy. Easy to flip open flat. Easier probably to get sleeves that work in just about any of them. Maybe I am wrong here. Seeking advice!

In any manner, for now, the job is done. I want to clip some type of poor mans labels to each binder until I figure out the rest. And guess what? My husband has looked at each page in his leisure. The kids know the books are there and will look at when they get a chance.

My husband was so happy about this he took the time to clear off a shelf in our "library" for them, dusted it off too. He chose a shelf which would be around eye level when sitting at the table. .We have 4 78"? old All Steel industrial bookshelves procured from Control Data where my husband worked, when the company moved. They sit along a wall in our dining area off the kitchen. It certainly creates a conversation in the area and creates an elevated coziness. Kind of classy looking.

Now you can understand why this was years in the making. I won't go into part of why that was, such as caring for young children, caring for my aging parents, dealing with my increasing mobility issues and a health crisis of my husbands, amongst at least a dozen other reasons. In other words, life happened. In a big way!

And since the books got on the shelves, I have completed over a hundred new pages. Yes. You saw that number correctly. And I have been putting together a holiday cookbook which I will have printed as a bound book as soon as Project Life has that as an option. This has been how I have been unwinding from hectic busy holiday preparations. I could watch TV or read or something else but I would rather read the stories of our lives. I am not sending those pages to the printer until I have an album solution though.

How many of you have experienced this and what did you do about it? Do you have matching albums? Guess I am new to the displaying piece and organizing and have a lot to learn. Please comment below.

I feel like an accomplished author getting this published just in time for holiday browsing. Its been a long and fun road to get here. And there is more road to be traveled.

Thank you so much for stopping by during this busy holiday season! Enjoy your time with family, Sandy



This is my personal blog, I am an independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator and I am responsible for the content. Stampin' Up! does not endorse the use of the classes, services, or non-Stampin' Up! products I offer her.

Statement of the Heart

To love what we do and share what we love, as we help others enjoy creativity and worthwhile accomplishments this we make a difference!

Copy of My Rights

Copy of My Rights: All the content of this Blog (including text, photographs, and design work) is by Sandy McManus, Needs A Ribbon, Inc. You may copy my any of my art posted for your personal use as you please. Please respect the copyright laws: give credit where credit is due (to me!) and deux please do not copy anything on this website for publication and/or contest submission. Thank You! This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License