Be still my heart. Have you seen these?
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!
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.
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!