Clutter-free scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a hobby that terrifies me because all of the stuff that accompanies it. Digital scrapbooking expert Gina Maria Myers, however, knows how to create beautiful scrapbooks without a single sticker or sheet of fancy paper. She is owner of the Scrapbooking Resource Center and publishes the blog Pieces & Pixels. We hope you enjoy her guest post that follows:

What’s the most commonly collected item among all demographic groups? Well, it’s not ceramic figurines, I can tell you that. It’s photographs.

So, how do you deal with the clutter of photos? There are several solutions ranging from “don’t take so many” to “sort into photo boxes by century, decade, and year.” My new favorite is just “don’t.” Don’t deal with the physical clutter of photographs, digitize them.

First, it helps if your photos start out in digital format and that can be taken care of by using a digital camera to take all your pictures. If your older photos aren’t already digitized, you can get them batch-scanned through any number of local and online sources. Once your image files are in your possession and thoroughly backed up, I’d store the negatives in an off-site location and dispose of the paper copies (I’d offer them to family first, but I’d definitely get them out of my house.)

If you’re just starting out, now is the time to be the architect of your digital file storage system so you’re not trudging through thousands of images in a couple of years. My own photo archiving system is organized by year and broken down into months with events like vacations broken down further. I keep copies of my photos on two external hard drives and back them up to disks with index prints annually.

Now, you’re probably wondering how I share these photos if I’m no longer making prints. It’s a valid question since we’re all used to shuffling through stacks of photos and passing them around with friends. I scrapbook.

You’re probably shaking your head and thinking: “But scrapbooking involves stacks and stacks of paper, stickers, paper cutters, pens, and a plethora of other crafting supplies that would take forever to list as well as thick, heavy albums that take up precious shelf space.” You’re right. Or, at least, you would be right if I still practiced traditional scrapbooking.

But, I don’t practice cluttered traditional scrapbooking. I make scrapbooks with digital supplies. Online Digital Scrapbooking stores make it possible to buy digitized “paper” and other elements, and I use these to create albums that look just like those I used to make with layers of paper, photos, stickers, brads, and doo-dads.

In the end, I have pages that look textured and dimensional, but, once printed, are only as thick as a single sheet of paper. Even better, these pages can be uploaded to online photo processors and printed in a bound book that takes less than an inch of space on your bookshelves.

If you’ve never given a thought to digital scrapbooking, take a look at this post on how to get started.

23 Comments for “Clutter-free scrapbooking”

  1. posted by Carjazi on

    Great post. Congrats to you.

  2. posted by rachel martin on

    WONDERFUL article!!

  3. posted by Sharon on

    Part of me would love to go digital but I love my papers and embellishments and textures. I am learning to print less photos to scrap.

  4. posted by Brooke - in Oregon on

    Great Article Gina! Yes for the newbies to digital, start out organizing. Much easier than going back to do it. But it is all still easier than organizing paper scrapping (I know I have a TON of paper supplies) Now I only need my computer, so much less clutter 🙂

  5. posted by MaryE on

    Very useful and informative article. TFS

  6. posted by Bruce Thivierge on

    Great article!

    I have tried to get better at uploading family photos up to Flickr quickly after shooting (well as quickly as I can!). That allows me to get them in a place where they can be organized, shared, printed, whatever quickly and easily. I find it makes it more likely for me to actually do something with the shots if I have in a place where I can get at them with a simple internet connection.

  7. posted by amanda on

    Does anyone know of decent scrapping software for the Mac? I like the idea of laying out pages graphically, but I’m not ready to pony up the dough for PhotoShop.

  8. posted by Kris on

    I never got into scrapbooking and know I never will. All my photos are digital, with the exception of some very rare/old/sentimental ones that I had converted to black and white and are part of a collage on one of my walls. I keep my photos on an external hard drive and on Shutterfly. When others want to see photos, I send them a link. That’s it.

  9. posted by Gina on

    Amanda –
    You can use Adobe Photoshop Elements with your Mac. It’s got many of the same great features as Photoshop with a smaller learning curve and much smaller price tag. I tend to recommend Adobe products because most of the scrapbooking products and tutorials are compatible with their brand.

  10. posted by Melissa A. on

    I’m starting to scan old photographs that I borrowed from mom and dad. I wish all of their photos were nicely taken care of, but they don’t have a computer, and I live in another province. I only have 3 photo albums, but I do want to start making digital scrapbooks. I can’t imagine paying for digital dodads and pretty paper though.

  11. posted by Heather on

    Awesome article Gina! I organize my photos the same way. And my digiscrapping stuff is all organized by designer. LOL

    Yay for digiscrapping! My favorite thing to do!

  12. posted by Sarah on

    I have just discovered for (what I hope will be) simple digital scrapbooking – but their software doesn’t work on my mac because of system requirements – but it is free and might work for someone else!

  13. posted by Montgomery on

    I resisted the clutter and expense of scrapbooking and was thrilled to discover digiscrapping two years ago. All the fun, none of the downfalls. Great article!

  14. posted by Minnie on

    What a cool idea! I’d never heard of digital scrapbooking.
    I always thought scrapbooking was weird, I didn’t see the point of it. But I have come to understand it’s really 75% about the process; not the outcome. (At least for my friends who do it, I can’t speak for everyone).
    I can tell you a few people I know would really miss the tactile experience and fun of actually working with all the various doo-dads. But to each his own!

  15. posted by Joy on

    Great article Gina. I love to digiscrap and now that I have the laptop it is easily portable!

  16. posted by spark on

    I’ve never really understood the mania with scrap booking as it is today. To me, a scrap book is a book filled with tons of “scraps” – memories and photos, not just photos.

    Perhaps movie ticket stubs from your first date, or a corsage from your first dance, 2 of the four pictures taken with a friend in a photo booth, brochures from a cruise you took for graduation, your first “will you be my girlfriend, check yes or no” note…etc.

    What I’m getting at, is it seems that scrapbooking now is nothing more than a photo album with a ton of visual clutter added to the pages. Do-dads, layers of paper, picture corners which don’t actually hold pictures, stickers, die cuts, etc. I just don’t understand the fun behind these things.

    Scrapbooking I understand, but not the phenomenon of picture albums with “stuff” all over the pages and pictures. I prefer a clean, de-cluttered picture album for photos if they are going to be printed.

    So digiscrapping doesn’t seem to be something I’d enjoy either. This is certainly a personal opinion of this hobby, so let me restate the comment from above, “to each his own.” I guess if you enjoy this stuff, though, this is a great idea.

  17. posted by Gina on

    A scrapbook, Spark, is whatever the maker wants it to be. Mine include ticket stubs, maps, souvenirs, coins, photos and LOTS of journaling. Is it any less a scrapbook because I put it on a beautiful, coordinated background and call it a hobby?

  18. posted by Amy on

    As our family is continuing on our journey to become organized we decided a few years back to start making digital scrapbooks. They require so much less “stuff” and I’m not so crafty but I still like to preserve pictures in a creative way, there are templates already made up for me. All I have to do is plug in the pictures.

  19. posted by Laura on

    Creative Memories has a great software called “Storybook Creator Plus” for digital scrapbooking and also “Memory Manager” for organizing, editing and keeping track of your digital photos. I love them both!

  20. posted by spark on

    @ Gina-

    Of course not! I think you misunderstood my statement, or I failed to state it clearly, or maybe it came off rude. Anyway, it’s just a personal opinion. I certainly didn’t mean to offend you or anyone else. Especially not you since you took the time to write a guest post. Next time, I’ll keep my comments to myself or make sure it’s appropriate to post an opinion. I do apologize.

  21. posted by Gina on

    Spark ~
    No offense taken whatsoever! Really. I was trying, not very well, to point out that any style can be incorporated into digital “scrapbooking.” It can be a book of “scraps”, it can be a simple, elegant book of pictures with very understated journaling or it can be a big pile of decorative “stuff” artfully arranged around a picture. I know it’s not for everyone – heck, I’ve even met people who don’t take pictures! – but I think some misunderstand the hobby.

  22. posted by Anne on

    I used to hypervenilate at the thought of cutting my pictures of my kids or family to put in a “scrapbook” layout!
    I discovered digi scrapping and I can tell you I have spent zero on anything for this.
    I have scanned most of our pics into the puter, and used digi scrap materials for my favorite pics and cut the original pictures. The other pictures I threw away! What a great feeling!
    I am a bit addicted to downloading the free digi scraps available everyday!
    and a big Thank you to Gina for her advice and amazing free items on her blog. My Christmas recipes are organized with a beautiful pictures she gave away on her site!! Christmas cookies! Thank you

  23. posted by Digital scrapbooking | Bohemian Revolution on

    […] the clutter of scrapbooking doesn’t appeal to you, do it digitally. Take digital photos and use digital supplies to make it look your scrapbooks look like the real […]

Comments are closed.