answers, anwers, answers

Be still my heart. Have you seen these?

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Whatever am I to do? Ok, just had to share.
And now, on to more important things …


Question from Beth
I’ve got a question about printing photos. Right now I still print doubles of everything. One copy goes into chronological albums (my kids look at these every day) and the other copy goes into my category drawers. Thanks to digital photography I’m only printing the "good" photos, but the drawers are still getting full fast. Should I be keeping only the ones I *think* I’m going to scrap in there and put the rest in cold storage?

The magic of category drawers is the way they automatically sift through the thousands of photos and present to you (over time) the similarities and connections you might otherwise miss. I have had to learn again and again that you can easily get too many pictures in these drawers. These drawers are not the receptacle of duplicate photos, but rather the long-term holding place for a very small percentage of the pictures you take, and very intentionally place/triage into them. I only put pictures that I absolutely know (without a doubt) I’d like to see show up someday as part of our scrapbook story. Category tabs and drawers that become too full just don’t work as well as tabs and drawers that are carefully managed. Please take heart in knowing that learning the balance and flow of this system takes some time (it just does) and you can always make adjustments and "fix" overflow issues. The trick then is to continually use pictures from these drawers, as you also continually add  pictures. For example, in my ALL ABOUT US drawer, the Oh Brother tab s constantly bordering on "too full." There is no specific measure of what is too full, I just monitor it visually. When there gets to be around two inches of pictures, I know I need to create a layout depicting brotherly relationships for the Oh Brother section of our ALL ABOUT US album. Even as I use pictures up, there remains a nice mix of new, old and older pictures that are waiting.

So, short answer: Be very deliberate about what you place in category drawers. If you’re not sure, I’d rather you put a photo in cold storage. You can always go back (and you will from time to time) and reintroduce a photo to your categories.

Question from Aubrey
I currently have around 20-30 albums with pictures in chronological order. This, to me, is my "cold storage." It’s important that my family and I be able to flip through an album and see old photos. I’m interested in using your category drawer approach, but am wondering if you have any ideas on how to do that. In the context of….if I’m taking my 100′s of pics monthly and putting them in categories, what will be left for any album (cold or temporary storage)? Will I pick just my favorites to put in the category drawers (say 1 of the 10 I took in a series)? It seems that if I "categorized" all 10, I’d have no use for albums of any kind.
And don’t the category drawers overflow at some point? Do you clean them out, and if so do you put them in cold storage based on those categories or just throw them all in together in one box?

I hope I answered most of your question above? I would like to add how important I feel it is (personal opinon here) that as the gatekeepers of our memories, we become very good at editing our collections so they can truly be enjoyed by family members. As your library of layouts grows, you will have complete stories (pictures plus perspective) which in my mind is far more valuable than just photos in photo albums. At the rate we take photos today (even if we are only printing half of what we take) we will eventually be limited by our physical space. I’d love to see you limit the number of photo albums you have to 15 or 20 and then work with those prints (that can still be enjoyed by family) to create a very meaningful collection of layouts.

If I were to put a  percentage to the number of pictures that get moved from my storage binders to my category drawers, 1 in 10 is probably about right (10% or perhaps even a bit less) so the vast majority of my prints stay in my storage binders, until I scrapbook them on event pages or they are eventually moved to my out-of-sight cold storage, so that I can free up a binder for fresher prints. And, by the way, my cold storage boxes are not in any kind of order!

My Thoughts:
The history of photography and the fact that it has been, up until a decade ago, primarily the privilege of very few, has created the perception that any and all pictures are priceless. This may sound bold, but this is no longer the case. Any commodity that is no longer scarce, loses its value over time. Now … before you freak out and think "is she NUTS, my pictures are ALL priceless to me," hear me out.  A picture and the memory it represents become meaningful when you add thoughts and personal insights that give it context and significance in your life. Nobody, not even your own children really want to have a collection of thousands of pictures. What they want are a few highlights that help them recall and reflect and be grateful for childhood and life. They want to feel intimate with a scrapbook and know that you have lovingly selected from among the masses, a few pictures for them to keep and cherish.

Do me a favor and chew on this!

Ok, a few more quick answers …

 

Question from Heather
I just thought of a QUESTION as I was looking at your books — what type of pens do you use to journal??? I love your style of writing and how you use a fine point and a bold tip.

First of all, thank you. I have learned over the years to embrace the imperfection in my handwriting and I often mix point sizes as I think it enhances the look and makes it easier to let go of the idea of perfectly formed letters in perfectly straight lines. I love Precision Pens from American Crafts in .01, .03 and .08. I buy them by the box, and I use black almost exclusively.

Question
from Caroline
My understanding is that you flip through your binders and
scrapbook what you feel like. When you put them in your albums at
different times, do you rearrange in chronological order? For example,
something from 2007 goes in your child’s book and then a week later you
scrapbook something from 2006. Would you rearrange the order?

The short answer is No. The longer answer is, I used to and the more I live with and love my system, the less it matters to me what order the layouts are in. Now, there is a general chronological order that naturally happens as for the most part I stay relatively current with my pictures. There are now two volumes of All About Clark in our library. The first volume features layouts mostly from his earlier years and the second volume features layouts beginning a few years ago. If I were to create a page today and pull photos from my category drawers (perhaps there’s a baby photo among them) I would simply place the resulting layout in the current album. Keep in mind, that you can do what feels right to you. If you are using 3-ring albums adding a page in the middle is not hard at all!

cheers.

Comments

  1. I have loved learning more about your style and getting different details. I also love those file cabinets! Hope you and your family are well!

  2. Woah…I’m definitely chewing. What a freeing thought!
    Two years ago I sifted through a HUGE box of photos (still in their original developer envelopes) to place in albums as a gift for my Mom’s 60th birthday. This was a gift for her, but also a gift my sisters and I will have in years to come. Sifting through those photos there were a lot that were probably important at the time, but no longer hold much value. (For example, my parents loved to attend car rallies and took SO many pictures of cool classic cars. These photos are interesting, but don’t say much more than “someone else’s cool car”. So I put two or three in the album, and set the rest aside in a box I asked Mom to sort through and decide if she needed anymore. That box is probably still full of photos :) .)
    On my Mom’s birthday the whole family sat around for an afternoon looking through those albums. They aren’t scrapped and the stories aren’t written, but we shared and laughed together as we remembered and valued our history as a family.
    Thank you for reminding me it’s okay to pick out the meaningful pictures and let the rest go.

  3. I love those cabinets! I have three of the 6 drawer cabinets in red that hold everything from paper to stamps to cables. They are such a cute addition to an office or craft space.
    Thanks for offering your thoughts on the library. I’ve taken the class twice and poured over the book but still I find new and useful bits of information each time I hear you talk about the system.

  4. HeatherC says:

    Those cabinets are cool! Gotta love those bright colors and all those nifty drawers — I wonder if they come in green??
    Thanks for answering my question — I will get some of those pens. My journalling pens are about at the end of their life anyway. :) Heather

  5. Aren’t those cabinets wonderful? IKEA has some similar ones for less $$, but not in those fab colors. They do have red, though, which works for me because red is one of my scrap space colors.

  6. Love Photo Freedom! I have been in the process of moving and knew that I could not take your class at the beginning of this year. Now that I am getting a little more settled I wanted to get a jump start on things and so I went ahead and bought your book. I hope to join you in class next year.
    Needing Help – organizing/printing photos – from computer to prints:
    I am trying to switch over to Photoshop Elements 5 & now have all of my photos organized in this program. Now that I have tagged all of my pictures and I open up my “family” tag – I want to print the photos within this tag. I can not figure out how to send my photos within my “family” tag to an online printing service like “Shutterfly” or “Costco”. Is there an option in Photoshop Elements (or even iPhoto) to order photos from Shutterfly or another company? I see Kodak, but can’t find anything else.
    How do you get your photos from your organizing program to a printing service?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!
    Beth

  7. Ann Grounds says:

    Love the color of those cabinets!!
    On your WODERFUL SYSTEM: I have been thinking about this ALL DAY while driving between patients and on the way home. I think I know why many of us have a hard time with “storage binders” and category drawers. It’s all in the NAME: “Storage” to me means put away, out of site, or not going to touch for some period of time. Since beginning the ’07 “Alumni Tour” of LOM ’08–I have come to equate your “storage binders” to really mean “WORKING BINDERS”-thus they are the primary spot from which you work from, pulling pictures to put on layouts or to put into the category drawers. I haven’t come up with anything catchy for the “category drawers” other than the “LOM Category Drawers” ;o) Like you said in your post and I have been chewing on it for quite a few years–it’s the memories shared in both pictures and words that is worth more than anyone will ever know. A picture can be worth a 1000 words, but a picture paired with words can tell a lifetime of stories….
    Thanks Stacy!!

  8. LOVE the LOM system and, in fact, had started something similar years ago, but then with the digital age became a little overwhelmed with it all. So, thanks for the great book – got it at Scrapbowl in DC – and thanks for getting me back on track with my photos. [I've ALWAYS taken tons - can we say 17 rolls of 36 exposure for a colorado vacation?!] Two things to share – #1 -I don’t have working binders – but I do have a ‘working system’ – mine is actually a small box where printed photos are placed either chronilogically or by my LOM topics – when I’ve gone through and scrapped these the ‘leftovers’ go to a little triage area [divided by LOM topics]right in my scrap area [handy, and I've been know to sneak in there and scrap another layout in a completely different way!] and when I have time I go through these and decide what goes into the REAL LOM boxes and what goes into cold storage. And #2 – you are SO RIGHT about tossing photos! I’ve tossed a ton of those non-descript, blurry, that spot of red on the soccer field is really our son photos – and dh and I had a conversation about this – tossing photos IS HARD to do – and I said, if that photo of the red dot on the soccer field was the one and only photo I had of that child then – by all means – I would keep it. But truth is – with the amount of photos I take there’s usually some pretty good ones and I have great photos documenting almost every.single.thing. our children have done. So why clutter my life with all the extra stuff that doesn’t matter? Photo Freedom is TOTALLY FREEING. And I love it!! And BTW – so looking forward to some FUN later in the summer! ~ J

  9. LOVE the LOM system and, in fact, had started something similar years ago, but then with the digital age became a little overwhelmed with it all. So, thanks for the great book – got it at Scrapbowl in DC – and thanks for getting me back on track with my photos. [I've ALWAYS taken tons - can we say 17 rolls of 36 exposure for a colorado vacation?!] Two things to share – #1 -I don’t have working binders – but I do have a ‘working system’ – mine is actually a small box where printed photos are placed either chronilogically or by my LOM topics – when I’ve gone through and scrapped these the ‘leftovers’ go to a little triage area [divided by LOM topics]right in my scrap area [handy, and I've been know to sneak in there and scrap another layout in a completely different way!] and when I have time I go through these and decide what goes into the REAL LOM boxes and what goes into cold storage. And #2 – you are SO RIGHT about tossing photos! I’ve tossed a ton of those non-descript, blurry, that spot of red on the soccer field is really our son photos – and dh and I had a conversation about this – tossing photos IS HARD to do – and I said, if that photo of the red dot on the soccer field was the one and only photo I had of that child then – by all means – I would keep it. But truth is – with the amount of photos I take there’s usually some pretty good ones and I have great photos documenting almost every.single.thing. our children have done. So why clutter my life with all the extra stuff that doesn’t matter? Photo Freedom is TOTALLY FREEING. And I love it!! And BTW – so looking forward to some FUN later in the summer! ~ J

  10. Lacy Wulff says:

    I’ve read your book through several times now and really, truly, “get” it. I love the system, love the organization and love the potential connections made through this type of scrapbooking.
    If there is one thing I’ve had to force myself to do, it’s to take it slowly and methodically. I immediately started in with the album titles and the category drawers and for the rest, I turned down the corner of the pages so that I would remember which other components I felt were important.
    Slowly but surely it comes about and the way I want to save my family’s memories is in plain, simple view. Thanks so much for that.
    ( I find it extremely frustrating to read others responses that complain that this system doesn’t work for them and why are you forcing the issue. Not all of it is for everyone. I’ve found it to be totally adaptable to my liking.)
    Thanks again.

  11. That quote you posted today will be repeated by me over + over + over again. It is so right on.

  12. Thank you for answering my question. It makes more sense now and I see how I will have room in the drawers for the older photos that haven’t been sorted yet. Editing seems to be a theme around here lately for many things… XX’s BethBG

  13. Stephanie T says:

    I’ve read through your Big Picture Scrapbooking and Photo Freedom books many times in the past few months. I’m working on setting up your system for myself because it makes so much sense to me–it’s how my brain works. I have two questions…since American Crafts no longer carries the 3-ring binders you started with, can you recommend a good quality substitute? My second question is about putting photos into storage binders when you have decades of photos to triage. You mention that your storage binders go back five years or so, but what is your suggestion for storing the to-be-scrapped photos that go back way more than five years? Thank you, Stacy, for sharing your LOM system with everyone.

  14. These questions and answers are awesome. I’ve just got to get your book ordered so I can ‘get in the loop’ and reorganize the mess I call my ‘photo closet’.
    Sue

  15. stacy. those cabinets are amazing! So you, aren’t they?? Love all you’ve been sharing so far.. I took a hiatus fr LOM class, as we’re moving to another state next week.. but man, I can’t wait to dig in again.. I’ve missed all of you. thks for being you and sharing all you do.. u are one amazing chick! BIG HUGS

  16. Land of Goshen that’s a lot of info…
    I do have to say that those cabinets are very 1977, we need shag carpet to match… LOVE IT!

  17. Jennifer Kolakowski says:

    Stacy-
    Can you show more pictures of your NZ albums? Love this idea. Also would love to know what the album is and where you get the page protectors to fit 3×3.
    Thanks for all the inspiration!!
    Jen

  18. I’m totally in love with the entire photo freedom/LOM idea. It’s taken a few weeks now but I’ve managed to get almost all gazillion photos into storage binders and now I’m waiting for my category drawers to “develop”. Oh, and lets not forget the page kits – love them. I was (previously) a chrono-scrapper but this it so free-ing!!
    The yellow and orange cabinets are spectacular – think they make them in pink? smiles!

  19. thanks for making me think about this! You inspired me to go to my scrap-picture-stash again and think about what I want with my albums.
    Photography is my passion and we take a LOT of photo’s. Depending on the occasion, generally taken we print about 10-15% of our pictures, but thats still a LOT. These go into ‘normal’ photo-albums (I do add journalling and things like postcards and tickets etc., have been doing this since I was a kid). I print some of the best pictures, or the one that hold the best memories, a second time for scrapping. Sometimes I get an idea for a LO and then print the picture. I don’t scrap in chrocological order but I do store them that way.
    I keep practically all our pictures on dvd, so if I change my mind and want a pic printed after all I can easily do so.
    Choosing which pics to print is a very time-consuming job for me, I often find it SO hard to choose ’cause I enjoyed every minute of a certain trip or the cat/rabbit looks so cute on every single pic! I found that it helps to wait several weeks after an event or trip before choosing what to print, it makes it easier to select because I have had a chance to process what happened in my mind and have more of an idea what the fondest memories will be that I wish to cherish most.

  20. Michele says:

    Hi, Stacy! How do we access your class for the “Penny for Your Thoughts” KOTM if we purchased it? It doesn’t say on the KOTM website.
    Thanks and can’t wait to get your kit!

  21. I LOve, LoVe, LOVE these cabinets. I have the white one (that looks like the orange one). I got it at a Pottery Barn outlet about 4 years ago (for only 25.00! b/c of a tiny dent)and the drawers pull out sooooo smoothly!

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