Scrapbook binder cover

How to get and stay organized while acquiring scrapbooking info (journaling, notes, etc.)

As you begin working with your photos and albums, you’re likely to start taking all kinds of notes — notes about which photos you’ve organized, notes about the stories behind the photos, notes about memories the photos spark as you review them, and so much more.

You might take a class and want to download the course workbook. You might do some searching on Pinterest for some ideas and be led to blog posts you want to print out and reference later. Heck, you might even find a blog post or two on this little blog you’d like to keep.

As you’re printing things out and jotting things down, you’ll want to start tucking away these resources and ideas. And it’s a good idea to have them all in one place. To give you some ideas on what to store and how to store it, here’s a breakdown of my own scrapbooking binder. Feel free to create something similar!

My Scrapbooking (/Notes/Journaling/Everything) Binder

I start my binder with a cover that includes my phone number. This is critical, because if I were ever to lose this binder, I am certain I would cry until someone called to tell me she found it!

If you’d like a copy of the cover I have used, you can download it here. 

scrapbook album-planning worksheet preview

My Tabs

Inside the binder, I have a tab for every album I make:

  • Gabe, Ella, Joshua — Each kid in our family has a tab. Under each tab, I’ll include notes related specifically to that person. For example, my son Gabe played baseball for 13 years, and his baseball seasons’ info all falls under his tab.

  • My Book of Me — Some day, I will document my own life! Right now, under this tab, there is basically only ideas about what I will scrapbook some day. But eventually, I’ll have actual journaling for pages here, too!

  • Family — Under this tab, I’ll tuck away notes about our family history, an album planner for our family portraits album, items related to my relationship with my husband and anything else related to how our family runs on a daily basis. For example, I have a page of journaling about how the coronavirus lockdown affected our lives as a family.

  • The Places We Go* — Journaling, notes, and album-planning ideas for family vacations and day trips go under this tab.

  • The Things We Do* — Honestly, I don’t have a lot under this tab right now, but if I were to write things about our everyday lives, those notes would go under this tab. For example, I would love to do a page about our family’s board-game and card-playing pastime. The journaling for that would go here until I got around to doing the page.

  • The People We Love* — Under this tab go notes, journaling and ideas for documenting things like weddings and babies our friends have. I also plan to make an album that goes into detail about the most important people in my life. When I do, my notes for those pages will go under this tab.

  • Other Albums — This is where I lay out my plans for other albums. Right now, there is an outline of pages I will do with my mom’s photos (when I get up the strength to work on that album). She passed away two years ago, but there are all kinds of mixed emotions tied up with those photos, and I’m going to need some space and time before I tackle them. So for now, I store the details here.

  • Miscellaneous — This is the tab under which I store all of my random notes — things like what font I use when ordering my album spines from Creative Memories (so I can reference it when I’m ready to order another, and they’ll all look consistent), extra album-planning worksheets, wish lists and more.

Other Tab Ideas

Here are some ideas for other binder tabs:

  • Courses — Make one tab for each online course you take, so you can reference the notes later.

  • Story Squad template previews — Store a print-out of the instructions and previews document that comes with each week’s templates. Then you can see at a glance what the templates looked like, and when you want to reuse them later, you can find them quickly by the date they were delivered.

  • Story Squad resources — Keep a place for storing things like the Find Your Photos Without Losing Your Mind e-book, planner pages and photo archive log. You might even consider creating a separate tab for each of those, so you can find them quickly when you need them.

  • Inspiration — You might store a ton of ideas on Pinterest boards, but if you find one you want to try later and don’t want to lose it, you can print it and store it here. Also, store torn pages from magazines (like Scrapbook and Cards Today and Creative Scrapbooker magazines) here.

  • Learning — If you find a blog post online that has how-to information or gives you ideas of layouts to try or Photoshop tutorials to experiment with, print them and store them here.

Recommendation for Binder Type

Your binder should be a living, breathing set of documents that you refer to over and over again. You’ll find that you carry it to scrapbooking events (crops) and pull it out frequently when you sit down to work on your albums. So ideally it should be durable and have room to grow.

I use 2 1/5” rings in a disc-bound binder that I absolutely LOVE. If you haven’t tried a disc-bound journal/notebook/binder, I highly recommend it! The startup cost is a little prohibitive, just because you need to buy the binder punch (which is about $40 in the Tul brand that I use, sold at Office Depot). But once you make that investment, you can enjoy the benefits. It feels like a spiral-bound notebook, but sturdier (there are no wimpy wires to get bent out of shape), and you add pages and rearrange them as you wish. It’s also very well made, so it stands up to the test of time and travel.

Whatever you use, be sure to keep tabs on your binder! It will become an important resource as you begin and continue to love this hobby!

* The idea for these three tabs started with Stacy Julian and her book, Big Picture Scrapbooking. Years ago, I read and loved her idea for breaking down the things she scrapbooks into these three broad categories. The idea has stuck!

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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