We made it through 2020 and kicked it to the curb. It’s a brand-new year and time for a fresh start!
If you’re like many people, you might have started the year with high hopes and lots of ideas for resolutions. Exercise. Lose weight. Get organized. Eat better. Spend more time with friends. Declutter the house.
Par for the course.
But while all of those resolutions have merit, I’d like to suggest that you add one more to the list: a resolution that will bring you joy — not just as you mark it off your weekly or monthly to-do list, but also while doing the work.
Consider adding one of these scrapbooking- and photo-related resolutions to your list. And enjoy the process of reliving your favorite moments and documenting the memories that matter to you and your loved ones.
(And if the idea of making resolutions turns your stomach, call it goal-setting. That’s something you can get behind, right?)
Resolutions (goals) you can accomplish with a monthly commitment
Let’s start with something totally doable. The following resolution ideas require only a single commitment per month. Pick one or more if you’re the kind who likes to not get in over your head from the get-go. You can do this!
Organize your photos as you go.
Take some time right now to schedule an hour on your calendar for every month of the year. In that hour, you should:
- Download the photos from your phone and camera to an external hard drive and one additional (backup) source, like Dropbox or another cloud storage option. Stick with full months, so it’s easy to keep track of the photos you’re organizing. For example, for January, no matter what day this month you do this, download the photos from December 2019. Don’t worry about January’s yet. If you have extra time and want to keep working, go back to the next-previous month (November 2019).
- Organize the photos in your system. Here’s a handy guide that will explain the photo-organizing system I have used for years. Whatever system you use, use it consistently, month after month.
- Delete any extra or “nothing” photos. Need help knowing if it’s worthy of deletion? Ask yourself, “Will this photo have meaning to me in a month? A year?” For example: A sweater caught your eye while shopping, but you weren’t sure if it was cute or maybe a little gaudy. You snapped a pic and texted it to a friend to get her opinion. That’s a deletion-worthy photo. It won’t be meaningful to you in a month, much less a year.
- Delete the photos from your phone, so they don’t take up extra storage space. (Feel free to keep your faves, if you use them for wallpapers, etc.)
- Mark off the month on your photo download list, so that when you sit down next month, you know immediately which photos have been organized and which ones haven’t.
Scrapbook once a month with a friend.
Meeting up with a friend (or two!) for dedicated scrapbooking time will go a long way toward making sure you actually get some scrapbooking time. When you involve someone else, and put an event on both of your calendars, you’re much more likely to follow-through with it — without rescheduling! — than you will if you only make a date with yourself.
If your current season of life won’t allow you a full weekend day to get together, no problem. Pick a weekday night to grab a quick bite to eat and then get scrapping for two or three hours. My friend Tara and I have been doing this for years (we try to meet weekly but average probably twice a month), and it is often the only time of the month I get any pages completed! I highly recommend doing this!
Resolutions (goals) you can accomplish with a weekly commitment
Looking for something a little more frequent to keep the scrapbooking bug alive and well? Here are a few ideas for weekly activities. Plan at least one sit-down session a week, for at least an hour at a time, if possible.
Tackle your photo library. Go deep!
Chances are, your photo library could use some work. If you haven’t already sorted your photos into folders by month and year, start there. Get all of your photos into one place (well, two: one hard drive, where you’ll do all of your organizing, plus one backup location), and make sure every photo has a home. Empty your Photos to File folder.
If you have already sorted your photos into folders by month and year, begin going through those photos, doing the following:
- deleting extra or “nothing” photos
- deleting blurry photos
- sharing the photos you took for other people
- choosing one or two favorites from a series of photos that are very close to the same, then deleting the others (For example, if you shot 20 pictures of your child swinging at a pitch during a baseball game, keep one of him making contact with the ball and maybe one of him ready to swing, then delete the others.)
- rating your favorite photos with a star or numbering system
- tagging photos with keywords or names so you can easily find them later
Acknowledge to yourself that you will not get your entire photo library organized in a day. That’s OK! If you schedule an hour a week, you’ll have 52 hours of photo-organizing time by this date next year! (Without a goal or plan, that would require you to work nonstop for three days — with the exception of sleeping for a few hours daily — to devote that much time to this large piece of the puzzle!)
Create that single album you’ve been meaning to make.
Have you been meaning to create an album of the photos your mother passed down to you? Or an album of school portraits for your child who’s graduating from high school this year? Or an album of your own school portraits? An album that documents your own life, friends, or hobbies?
Schedule an hour or two a week to work on that album specifically. Resist the urge to work on other pages or projects. Focus is key!
Here are some ideas on how to use the time:
- Make a list of pages and/or sections you know you want to include. (For example, I am going to be working on an album of my mom’s photos. So I’ll include pages/sections like Baby, Childhood, Teen Years, Loves of Her Life, Her Kids, Her Grandkids, Her Dogs, Quilting and Other Crafts, Friends, Extended Family, Obituary and Service, etc.)
- For each page or section, jot down which photos you might include.
- Go to the photos! Sort photos into sections that match the sections you outlined.
- Scan printed photos.
- Collect all digital photos into one location. Name according to date. File into folders that match the album’s section titles.
- Design pages.
Resolutions (goals) you can accomplish with a daily-ish commitment
Maybe you want to work on your photos or albums more frequently than once a week. That’s excellent! Just know that you don’t have to schedule an hour at a time to be productive. Instead, start by working just 20 minutes a day into your routine.
Do one layout a week.
[This is my favorite tip for getting pages done!]
Many people lament about how much time scrapbooking can take, and how they “don’t have time” to do it when they have kids and other family commitments, or they just work long hours and have no energy left at the end of the day.
But creating pages doesn’t have to require three hours of uninterrupted time in a single event. It’s just as possible to get things done if you divide each project into smaller chunks and spread them out among several days.
To get an entire layout done in a single week, I recommend the following 20-minute chunks:
- Day 1: Decide what topic you want to scrap. Review your photos. See what jumps out at you. Choose a single event or topic. Gather the best photos to tell the story.
- Day 2: Write out your journaling for that page. Go beyond simple dates or chicken-scratch on a Post-It Note. Try to write it out in a format that you can copy and paste into a digital layout when you’re ready.
- Day 3: Pick a digital scrapbooking kit and template to use with your photos.
- Day 4: Combine your photos, journaling, kit and template into a base layout.
- Day 5: Add extra embellishments — a fun title treatment, extra elements like buttons, etc. — if desired. Then, prepare your page for printing. Be sure to save it as a Photoshop document that you can edit later, if needed (a PSD with all layers in tact) and a full-size/high-resolution JPG. (I then move my finished JPG to a folder on my external hard drive called Pages to Print, so I can keep track of what has and hasn’t been printed yet.)
Work scrapbooking or organizing photos into your daily routine.
If you have more than 20 minutes a day to work on your scrapbooks and photos, first of all, enjoy this immense blessing! Then, to use your time most productively, try settling into a routine — or at least creating a weekly plan. Knowing what you’ll be working on when you have the time available can go a long way toward helping you avoid wasting time.
Along with actually creating layouts and the other ideas mentioned above, here are some additional activities you can do:
- Organize your supplies. Digital scrapbooking supplies — papers, elements, alphabets, fonts, etc. — can quickly become overwhelming. To keep them organized:
- Create folders for types of kits. For example, I have folders for kids, sports, travel and everyday kits, along with many others.
- Save preview images of kits as the folder images in your computer. This will go a long way toward helping you skim through your kits when it comes time to choose which papers and elements to use on a layout.
- Tag each item with keywords, so you can do a smart search later to find all of the elements with keywords, “paper,” “solid” and “purple,” for example.
- Brainstorm. Think of the stories you want to tell. Make a list of pages or albums you want to create. Go through your photo library, and jot down the must-scrap photos. Then when it’s time to create, you’ll have a list of stories from which to choose.
- Journal. What’s important in your life right now? How has the pandemic affected your life? How would you describe your kids’ personalities today? Why did you marry your partner? Who are the people who are most important to you, and why? Take time to write, even if it’s about topics you’ll never scrapbook. What stories do you want to leave behind when you exit this earth? Make sure they’re written down.
- Reduce your paper-supplies stash. Many of us started out as paper scrapbookers before moving to digital. If that’s you, you probably have a lot of supplies taking up space in your home. While I don’t recommend getting rid of everything — after all, scrapbook supplies make great general crafting supplies and might be useful for other things — I do recommend taking a little time to reduce what you have on hand. Clean up your space and donate supplies you know you will never use. A clean and organized studio space is great for maximizing productivity!
Feeling ambitious? Do it all!
OK, so this might not be an option for 99% of us, but if you are fortunate enough to have 20 minutes a day five days a week, and an hour two days a week, and a couple of days a month when you could devote an extra hour to your hobby, this is what that might look like!
I will warn you, though: Don’t over-commit! If you don’t think this is a realistic schedule, please don’t try it! You’ll be more likely to burn out and not want to scrapbook at all!
But if you’re the kind of person who likes routine, day in and day out, and you feel like a schedule like this would be heaven, here’s a plan for you!
Get your FREE DOWNLOAD!
Ready to get going? Here is a free download for you: A 17-page calendar PDF for 2021. It includes:
- One blank calendar for every month, so you can fill out the days and times that work with your ideal commitment — monthly, weekly or almost daily.
- One extra-blank calendar (is that a thing??) with no month or dates included, either, so you can carry your planning into 2022 and beyond!
- Four sample calendars — the ones used in this blog post — so you can reference what the calendar might look like when completed (in case the commitment strip at the right side of the page isn’t clear).
So, do you have some ideas? What will you be tackling for 2021? I’d love to hear about your resolution(s)! Feel free to share in the comments!
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