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Confession: Coming out of the closet by looking inside. YEARS of photographs in disarray are sharing closet shelves with various games and frames!

Games, frames and photographs! I open those closet doors and instantly feel anxious, overwhelmed and somewhat guilty! I do NOT want to scrapbook! NO! I won't! I can't! I DO NOT WANT TO! NO! It is NOT Thearaputic! (Hence the guilt!) What's that about? I think it came with the first scrapbook party I ever went to. It was designed to educate us, AND it was designed to sell lots of groovy scrapbooks, tools and supplies! I did go home and carefully pull or cut away my childhood photos from those disastrous magnetic pages and whatever pages those are with sticky backgrounds. Oh the guilt of wrecking a work my Mom's hands lovingly did! How could she have known that those magnetic pages were works of the Evil one?! But the guilt of having so many more that have NOT been organized! Some folks just don't know how to Party! But the party also frightened me when I looked at all the coolest scrapbook pages ever and realized I don't want to do it! I don't want to buy the supplies, go to scrap booking marathon parties or sit for hours cutting, pasting, designing, fancy cutting and arranging millions of photos resting in various boxes (yes, even shoe boxes), envelopes, photo packs and...My photos were in DANGER! I was now responsible for the truth I knew. I had to DO SOMETHING, but WHAT!?
So I'm asking for HELP! I need some ideas for:
1. Motivation to care. (I tell our daughters they can figure it out when I'm Gone...)
2. Another option besides scrap booking. (I can barely say the word!)
3. I need so much help, I don't even know what I need!!!
I haven't even mentioned my transition to digital camera where I have so MANY files and folders stored on my computer, but I don't want to get them developed because if I do I'll have even more photographs! HELP! Anybody...?


TAB said…
I don't know!! I have the same guilt and I only have about 4 years worth of really special pictures that are piling up-on my computer and in a little box full of developed pictures in envelopes from Walgreens, Wal-Mart or Snapfish. I think I just want to get a bunch of photo albums and put pictures in there without cutting, pasting, stickers or special scissors. But, where to begin??? I just feel guilty that I don't have hardly any pictures of Naomi when she was an infant or any really developed of her and I have about 10 thick envelopes of developed pictures of the twins. GUILT!!!! Man, gone are the days when a photographer would come around just once a year to snap a picture of your family.
Olivia Arlene said…
I'd honestly do it all for you mom, but I'd need someone to get the kids out of my hair for a few days! I don't really like "scrapbooking", but I do put my pictures in albums like Tab was saying. From my digital camera, I put pictures in monthly folders on my computer and then when the month is over I choose a few of my favorites to get prints of and slip them into the albums. I have one for each child. Then when a year is over I place all of my monthly folders in one folder for the year. Currently I have folders for the years 2005-2008. It makes it so much easier if I am looking for a specific picture because I also "rename" my pictures according to the event, etc. Does that make any sense? When I put my prints into the albums I make sure that I write on the back the name of who is on the picture and any detail that I wish to remember.
Liv, you are truly 'together'!
Laurie and Tab, I'm with you on the guilt. I actually started a scrapbook for each of the kids. Shannon's is up to age 7. Logan age 4. Zac. . .can't remember. I've always been terrible about remembering the camera. We have huge gaps in the kids growing up with no pictures. I got overloaded with guilt when we realized that we have almost NO Jr. High/High school age pictures for Zac. I put the books away and haven't worked on them since. Just thinking about it makes me almost nauseous. And. . . . .I can't deal with the GUILT!
Laurie Lynn said…
Tab-Remember the twins were first born and such a "novelty" that it is understandable that you have more pics of them! You may not have as many of Naomi, but the cute ones you have make up for the amount! I mean it!! And yes, folks had a few pictures "back then" not piles like we do now! It was simpler! (Think of Sarah, Plain and Tall when they got their photo taken) Sweet!

Liv-Thanks for the offer to do it all for me! I love you too much to wish that on you since they are not as organized as they should be, but when I get "set up" you'll help? I'd love that...when I get the motivation to care! You are so good at "keeping up"! Is it theraputic?

Ruth- I'm sorry to have brought up more guilt! (Like we don't have enough for feeling we never quite measure up to some ridiculous standard!)
Yes nausea can set in! That's what I'm talking about! But like I told Tab (and I mean this)) Zac's photos make up in cuteness what they lack in amount! So there is the "guilt of amounts" (think of the few I have of Christine!!! And none before age 6! And for me there is the "guilt of disarray"!

But I do think I'll try to get a bit more orderly and let Liv help me just do it! OR I will put the photos in a somewhat chronological order in some cute smaller decorative boxes amd have a "grab and look" method! I kind of like this idea. It's how we used to look at older otiginal black and whites and it had a "Happy disarray with a surprise aspect" about it! Wouldn't they be nice in small cedar boxes for the aroma? (Or should I feel guilty about photos in cedar?)
Stop the guilt!!
Hmmm. I'm leaning toward the cute box storage idea! Cute boxes are a step up, for sure!
Laurie, I have in times past seen some wonderfully CUTE CUTE CUTE boxes at various Hobby Lobby stores. I think your idea sounds wonderful. You could sort photos by year, or child, or event (such as a box of Tab's birthday photos) etc. Somehow,this sounds more exciting, fun, and creative than a scrap book. I could ALMOST get excited about doing that!
Olivia Arlene said…
That is a good idea with the cute boxes! I like it! My only con would be that boxes take up more space than albums, but maybe that doesn't matter too much?

Maybe it is somewhat therapeutic for me. Never really thought about it before. I do like organization, so I guess it makes me feel good to do it knowing that my kids will have pictures of their past. Of course maybe they won't care, but I do, at least for now. I am sure there will come a time for me that I will not have the time to take and organize so many pictures, but for now I enjoy what and how I do it.

Of course I will help you Mom! We can have our own picture party!
Laurie Lynn said…
Mike and I counted up the number of times we've moved in our 29!!! years of marriage and came up with 14 times in the same state in 4 different towns! SO I thought it may help to organize photos by places we've lived. Hutchinson, Buhler, Lindsborg, Salina, Lindsborg and streets, 8th Ave. Sherman Ave. 10th Ave., Wall St., Wisconsin St., Hohneck Rd. etc.!
Yep I'm leaning more toward cute boxes and I'm anxious to see what Hobby Lobby has (thanks Ruth).
Liv, I thought about when you help, we could have a little pile of photos that we don't intend to keep (or even magazine photos) for the kids to "play" with when they aren't napping or watching Cars, Dora, Jungle Book or ???
They could have their own little boxes full of their own pics.
Now I'm getting excited! Anybody want to join in for the "alternative to scrapbooking" party? We could call it a "photo boxing party"! Photos, boxes, stories, chocolate and any other comfort food. Let's do it!
Did someone say "party"!? You know what sounds the most fun to me? Don't laugh. . . .but the shopping for the boxes. I haven't had a fun reason to shop lately (sorry, groceries and underwear just ain't my idea of fun), and Hobby Lobby, Micheals. . . they're my idea of fun!
Laurie Lynn said…
I'm so anxious to get started that we went to Salina and got some boxes at Hobby Lobby this afternoon! Now I need to decide on the best way to organize and do it.
But hey Ruth, I'm sure one of us could think of another reason to shop!
Caryn said…
Too funny :-)! Don't worry about scrapbooking, just organize them in photo boxes. I just found this neat, organizing blog - It might offer some tips.
Chris said…
I haven't read all of the other comments, so I hope none of my suggestions are redundant.

1. How do you kids or other relatives feel about scrap booking? I enjoy putting together albums for my relatives--I've only been called upon to do it a time or two. Perhaps someone would do it. OR perhaps they would enjoy doing it with you. That way you're not really scrapbooking. You're just visiting and enjoying the memories together.

2. You need to find a scrapbooking consultant who wants to help you get your albums done the way you want them to--the beauty is in the simplicity. Not someone who wants to sell you as much as you can. I have one of those consultants and I love her.

3. Don't worry about making your pages artistic or elaborate. As my consultant taught me. Fancy is fun but simple is done! I just put down a piece of colored paper--add the photo--and as I have time I go back and write in things--sometimes a short caption or title (not super creative or clever--just informative). Other times if I have a lot of memories and the words are coming quickly, I write more. I also don't worry about whether they are in chronological order or if I have dates for them all. Some times I group them by holiday or season, but that isn't necessary either. We don't have our memories in a certain order so our albums don't have to be either. Random is fine.

6. I do buy creative memories albums now. The first one I made--I put the pics into a $5 album that I got at a craft store. It has started to fall apart. When I consider what people spend on a dinner out or other things, it does not seem so extravagant and we love to look at our albums. We pull them out several times a year.

7. Think of the end more than the process. Scrapbooks really are a treasure. They also have scrapbooks now where you just slide the pictures into a transparent sleeve. That might be a great option, as well. We tend to look at the photos that are in albums more than in boxes, so to us it's like, we took all that time to take the picture and spent the money to develop them, or put them on photo paper, it seems more practical to put them together where we will see them than to have them always packed away.

Hope that helps!
Olivia Arlene said…
Can't wait for the party!!! Good idea for S and E to have their own photo boxes while we work!
Zoanna said…
I had a similar quandary. I started by
= buying new photo boxes in matching/coordinating colors. Easy on the eyes. Labeled each one in 2-year segments (1997-98) then tossed things in if labeled or best of knowledge if not. Threw out ones that didn't mean much or were blurry or not close up enough, threw out almost all peopleless vacation shots, etc. It took a week of spending 1-1.5 hrs/sitting, but it was well worth it. It served to show me that I take too many and so I have started leaving the camera behind for things that aren't super special lest I clutter up the computer, too.
Zoanna said…
BTW, I havent' scrapbooked since filing all those photos, but it has greatly relieved my mind to know "That's okay," you can probably find the photo you're thinking of in less than 15 minutes. That's a HUGE improvement" and when or if I get inclined to scrapbook again, I can just choose an event to scrapbook without wondering if all the related pictures are even together. That always stopped me before. Now I don't even save mementos; I see them as a clutter. The memories are what's important, not junking a memory to death with all that "creative" stuff that I used to think "made" a scrapbook sing. I journal a LOT on my pages about feelings, prices, funny things said.

Anyway, it sounds like what you want in the peace of organized photos, and I say your best bet is to start with fresh new boxes that you enjoy looking at, labeling them all (2 years was a good chunk for one box for my collection) and doing a little at a time in a set time frame . I use a kitchen timer, In fact, I'm heading to my office now to make order from chaos!
zoanna said…
Sorry to junk up your comment box. Just reading the others' comments, too. One thing my mom did with old photos was make puzzles for the kids with them. You can either go on another fun shopping trip and buy blank white puzzle pieces (large enough for little hands to handle) or simply glue photos down on paper then make your own puzzles. Have the kids put them back together. The only caveat is to make sure the kids absolutely understand that these are the ONLY pictures you're allowed to cut and glue and make puzzles with!
Laurie Lynn said…
Yes, I remember the phrase "Fancy is fun, but simple is done" and I like it. I'm keeping it in mind big time as I throw pics by years or by places we've lived into boxes! It's just gonna be much much better than how they are now! I'm going to have to go with a "grab and look" method instead of organized scrapbooks. I enjoy looking at finished lovely scrapbooks, but I just don't want to do it! Please don't think less of me! : )

I do not think of your comments as any kind of junk!! I love 'em! No apologies please!
I've thought about journaling and like the idea...but I'm not sure how to journal about prices!? Do you mean bargain prices? Oh, I've got some bargain stories!
I love the photo puzzle idea! Fun!
Laurie Lynn said…
Thank you all for you thoughtful help.
God willing, after Easter, I'll just do it!
Laurie, I like that "Fancy is fun, but simple is done." I like that thought a lot!
Zoanna said…
I meant I like to remark on my scrapbook pages about the cost of things at the time (a movie ticket, a week's rent in a condo, a souvenir, an amusement park pass, that kind of thing). Years after the fact it sounds SO cheap, and I think grandkids will say, "You ONLY paid $3.50 for a Coke at Disney World? Wow!"
Laurie Lynn said…
Of course. I just wasn't tracking, but it makes perfect sense and I do think that sort of price history is interesting!
I understand now!

($3.50 for a coke at Disney World! No joke...and the scary thing is that the grandkids most probably will one day think a $3.50 coke sounds cheap! Almost unbelievable!)
Chris said…
I would never think less of anyone for not scrapbooking...:-)

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