Free at last.: How I Ditched the Guilt about Preserving Memories

How many unfinished photo albums do you have around your house?
I have no less than six.
How many boxes of photos do you have? 
Because I lived before the digital age, I have no less than six photo boxes full of photos sitting at the bottom of my Husband’s closet.
How many digital photos do you have on your computer? 
How many digital photos have come to life in print?  In the last year?
Probably less than twenty! Those that got printed were ones that the girls needed for various school projects: Like star of the week. 
I know I’m not the only one.  I got together with a couple of friends on Monday and scrap booking was one of the many topics of conversation. Here’s a little overview:

My kids don’t have one single scrapbook! Not one! 

My mother-in-law made albums and videos for all of her kids. We watch them and look at them during family get togethers and it is so wonderful. But it makes me feel like crap because I have done nothing for my kids.  

When I asked her how she did it, she had five kids, she told me at one o’clock in the morning when the rest of the house snoozed she was working on her projects.

Hmmm.  There are people out there who love to scrap book–you can find web page after web page from professionals and novices alike–who find great joy cutting and pasting and and creating fun layouts– 
who forego sleep, and the use of their dining room table, in the name of creativity and preserving family memories. 
I am the person who enjoys the finished product much more than I enjoy the process. I also enjoy my sleep (I’m the rare bird that manages 8 hours of sleep most nights) and I also enjoy being able to eat at my kitchen table. 
And before 2011, I had not a single completed family album. And in this digital age, the majority of my pictures are trapped in a digital prison. I have nothing to put my hands on.
As a teen, I remember spending a random Saturday Mornings just sifting through picture box after picture box of old photos in my parent’s living room.  Laughter took hold as I bemoaned old hair cuts, toothless grins, and eighties and nineties fashion trends. 
With photos trapped on my hard drive my kids won’t get to experience the same nostalgic feelings that I did.
That makes me sad. And it’s always been the catalyst for my stop and start approach to scrap booking until recently. 
I received a piece of advice a couple of years ago that stuck with me. I am glad that I followed it:
When it comes to preserving memories through scrap books, don’t fret about the past and all the time that has gone by–Just start right now. 
Start right now, my friends. 
Right now is the perfect opportunity to begin an album, it being the beginning of the year.  Just work on the current year–catch up on 2013–then if you have the time, energy, and inclination work backwards from there. 
For the past two years I made a digital scrapbook that I worked on throughout the year. I just finished my 2012 yearbook and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. Hope you’ve enjoyed the snapshots of some of my favorite pictures and layouts.  
My kids do not have scrapbooks. Yet.  I have boxes of photos. Still.  But as of this moment I do have two completed products chronicling our last two years that I can hold in my hands. I am so grateful that I started now! 

What has been your approach to preserving your family’s memories?

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  1. says

    I’m so behind on our photos as well. I love the advice to just start where you are instead of worrying about going back to where you left off. That sounds much less overwhelming.

  2. Erin Smetak says

    I have a whole room devoted to scrapbooking and stamping. I have oodles of ribbon, ink pads, stamps, buttons, embellishments, and paper! And I love to get inky and sticky w/ glue. However, I too have TONS of pictures just waiting to be scrapped. Every time I look at them, it’s like they are calling my name, and I get hives! Such pressure to stay “current and up to date”!

    So, I decided that I would scrap only what I wanted to scrap, and whenever I wanted to do it. I can always put my pages in order later. Talk about freedom! Whew! It’s SO nice to just pick a few pictures to work with and not feel that albatross around my neck to have a bazillion scrapbooks updated to the day for each of my children! And I can take as long as I want on one page, because let’s face it. These scrapbooks are our pride and joy. I’m not giving them up until I’m dead and buried! When I put all of my creative sweat (and sometimes blood!) into my creations, I don’t want to give them up when my kids get married and move away! Haha!

  3. Christina Bruni Bolcato says

    Great post, as always. You have inspired me to look into this. I remember we talked a couple of years ago about our digital {picture} prison (LOVE that term that you used!), and I am proud of you for doing something so constructive with it! Now it’s time for me to follow suit!

  4. Anne Kimball says

    HiChristine, I’m Anne
    from Life on the Funny Farm
    (, and I’m visiting from Thumping
    Augh! I know exactly what you’re talking about. I used to be so on top of my photo albums and now everything is in a state of confusion and disarray. I definitely hope to get back to things being organized. Thanks for the motivation/

    thanks for posting this. If you’ve never
    visited yet, I hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

  5. says

    I KNEW I couldn’t be the only one! Here from the Thumping Thursday Hop and know my day of reckoning shall come. For now we have all pics on our phones or tablets and let the grandbabies “roll” them at will. BB2U

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