She So Gets It!!! (and finally, a Q&A)

You have GOT to read this post by Michelle, who so totally understands the "big picture" behind the Library of Memories (LOM) system.
Thank YOU Michelle for sharing your post with me!

and now, finally … an answer to a really good question.
I’m behind the times and just got a copy of Photo Freedom. I love it like I knew I would. I’m so ready to dive in. One easy question, I noticed in the book that you have albums in iPhoto w/ your 4 main categories. How exactly does that work? Do you organize pictures there directly after uploading them? Or are they triaged similar to the way you triage physical photos?

A: First of all, there is no such thing as "behind the times." I’m tickled you have a copy of Photo Freedom and that you are interested in my system. Here’s how I use my photo software to support my Library of Memories storage binders (chronological storage) and category drawers (triaged photos) ...

Since I use and love all things Apple, my computer is a Mac and my photo software is iphoto, which is very user friendly and customizable. Regardless of which photo organizing software you use, you’ll want to set up the following albums or folders so that you can tag or copy images from your main dumping ground (I’m mean uploaded collection) into more manageable groups:

1. Seasonal highlight folders. At the end of each season or quarter I set aside some time to review and copy/move my most scrappable images into pared down seasonal folders. As I noted in the book, I might have 700 to 1000 (or more) images from July/August/September (summer) and will end up moving half or less to a highlight folder, that I label 2008 Summer I can always go back to my BIG collection and search by date and see everything I decided not to delete, but for me it’s critical to pare this collection down to just those images that I will upload and archive at Shutterfly for potential printing. I generally end up with somewhere between 300 and 700 photos in each seasonal highlight folder.

NOTE: I upload photos to my computer often (once or twice a week, or more.) After images are uploaded, I quickly review and delete the obviously BAD ones. At this point, I pretty much ignore them until it’s time to create a seasonal highlight folder. I do occasionally print (at home) a pic here or there before printing an entire folder, but for the most part, when it’s time to scrapbook, I go to my collection of printed photos. In other words, I do NOT spend time looking for images on my computer.

2. Triage folders. Once I have seasonal highlight folders created, I generally view them if I need to find a particular image. As I spend time with images in these folders, I may do some virtual triaging into my four main categories of All About Us (folders for each person in my family), People We Love, Places We Go, and Things We Do. I do NOT spend time duplicating my physical triage sub-categories on my computer, because I have found that I do NOT generally reference them. The only triaging I do consistantly is into the All About Us folders that I have for each person in my family. I DO use these folders, as I often want to reprint an image for a layout or a school project, etc.. For example: Just this morning Taft needed a photo of himself for school. I wanted a very current photo so I went to my Taft album inside my All About Us folder in iphoto to find a photo taken on the first day of school. These pictures are NOT yet printed, so this particular photo would not yet be filed in a storage binder or triaged from there into the All About Us category drawer.

As for the other three main categories, I don’t really have many sub-albums on my computer. If I triage an image, it just goes into the main category. I do create a separate sub-album for all of my travel locations and I also have sub-albums for Everyday Life and Color in my iphoto Things We Do folder — again, because I find I need and use them the most.

I hope this helps. Sometimes I write these answers and wonder if I’ve confused more than clarified.

BIG Tip: Keep in mind that if you are doing more digital scrapbooking these days, you will WANT to spend more time than I do setting up triage sub-albums on your computer. Your use of computer software to organize photos should reflect your approach to scrapbooking. Be careful NOT to invest time in processes that won’t pay you back in increased efficiency. You will find the right balance between computer and  physical files as you start scrapbooking with your Library of Memories system. So PLEASE, PLEASE do allow yourself to start using your system before it is entirely "set up." (which, btw … takes a long, long time to set up and fine tune and learn to use and love, and the longer you allow it to take, the better it will "stick" or work for you. Remember this OK?)


  1. Stacy,
    Can you talk about your color drawers? I saw an entry where you were setting them up but can you give some details on this organization process? Caroline

  2. Hi Stacy! Thanks for pimping out my blog! I am so used to talking to NO ONE out there in the great beyond and then suddenly… whoa!! where did these people come from??? :-)
    The other mornign I was dozing in bed before getting up and remembering some random things from my college days I have always meant to scrap… then I jerked awake and realized, with all the digital photo organization I ahve been doing and reworking my scrap supplies and finally having a photo printer all set up.. hey! I can scrap that memory! I don’t have to wait until I’m ready to scrapbook my ENTIRE college experience!
    It’s silly how happy that makes me.

  3. ok my big question is HOW do you upload to Shutterfly from within iPhoto??? When I did a test print of photos from my iPhoto archive they went to Kodak for printing — is that Shutterfly??? I found I could not figure out in iPhoto how to upload to the site of my choice from within the program.
    And could you tell us more about how and why you use COLOR as a subcategory — I saw that you did an album of your happy colors which is great…. but if you’ve done one of those already why would you continue to sort pics into color categories?
    Personally, tag every photo with the name of each person in it (which is easy bc I set up keyboard shortcuts for each name and I pretty much have them memorized by now so I just hit whatever key) so if I want to see every photo with “Christen” in it from childhood to now, I just put her name in the search engine and they all come up.
    I had a detailed and perfectly organized digital archive of photos before I read PF, but I am so glad I took your advice and put them all into iPhoto and then grouped them by date and tagged them all in there. It is so so much easier for me to get inspired by my photos now. I still upload photos to my external HD first and put them into my original digital archive, renamed appropriately, and then load them into iPhoto…but I might take only 200 photos in a whole summer, so it’s a lot easier for me. I have 6000 images in iPhoto now.

  4. I can’t wait for LOM class to open. Have More Fun has already changed my life and now I’ve cleared my Spring to truly dive into the LOM once the class begins!
    Oh, but I am getting some things staged on my own using Photo Freedom as a guide. It’s on my nightstand for daily inspiration. However, I just can’t wait for the 2009 LOM class to open up for registration and better yet…begin!

  5. Thanks for the clarification on this Stacy. I too use iPhoto and love my Mac!!!! and I was wondering those details myself. You were very clear as to how you do it. Not confusing at all. I have all my photos organized and am slowly getting my things ready for the storage binders portion of the system. Can’t wait. Thanks again!
    P. S. I really love the book and look at it all the time for inspiration and reference.

  6. Count me in as another who can hardly wait for the next LOM class…and I feel just like Michelle, it is silly how happy this system makes me. The connections I am making, and the clarity that I have gained as a scrapbooker has reenergized and motivated me like never before.
    Prior to LOM, the only motivating factor I had was to use the latest supply. That got old and expensive quick.
    Now I’m prioritizing, taking real moments photos for the first time because I actually know what to do with them now!
    I’m so happy you are sharing your knowledge with us. I stalk your blog daily for nuggets of wisdom.

  7. I have read your book twice and am in the beginning stages of implementing most of your system.
    I am a digital scrapbooker trying to be a paper scrapbooker. (pretty much the opposite of most people these days isn’t it??)
    You would be appalled to know that I have been up to 2:00 am and as late as 4:30 am the last week or so working on this and the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t appearing yet. But I am at the point that I can now work on it in 15 minute increments. My goal is that I can see a glimpse of a light by January 1st of 2009.
    Has all the effort I’ve been putting into this worth it? I can’t really say for sure yet. But…
    1. I took your advice and printed photos at Shutterfly. The photos are amazing. Seeing them on the computer just doesn’t do them justice.
    2. Looking through the photos and putting them in storage binders is a pleasant walk down memory lane.
    3. Yesterday my hubby caught me doing a happy dance just cuz I was so happy to be getting organized.
    So I haven’t scrapped anything yet. But this week I am starting Cathy Zielske’s Design Your Life class and I think that my category drawers are going to be a tremendous asset for the class. Having these has encouraged me to try doing the class with photos and paper scrapping instead of digital scrapping. We’ll see how it goes!!
    As far as my digital files. I am on a windows based system. I upload all my photos into folders by shoot date. I tag all my photos in a program called IMatch. This part of my system is very well organized. I do think I can improve it a bit by adding in the Seasonal Hilight folders instead of the annual “to be printed” folder that I recently created.
    So sorry…I am rambling on. I get that way when I am enthusiastic about something. So I will just end with thank you…and have a great day!

  8. WOW!!! That was the exact reason I came to the blog today…to find the answer to the photo orgnizing question. THANKS.

  9. Deb Jones says:

    I am so glad that you put Michelle’s link on your blog. I have taken LOM twice now and Michelle really was able to verbalize the whole LOM idea so well. She says all the things I couldn’t. I’m a Stacy fan (just finished Have Fun) and a LOM fan. I talk about LOM all the time. I am going to print out Michelle’s explanation cause it will help me talk to others about it.

  10. I was gone on a trip and just saw this post today…thank you! I use a Mac and iphoto and have wondered if I needed an additional organizing software system or something, but I never thought of making folders by category. (I got the Mac AFTER reading the book, so I’m glad you reminded me of the organizing section in there!) I rarely comment, but I just have to say I love your system and have moved all my layouts into nice fresh beautiful three rings. And it sounds cliche, but what freedom! To add pages in between older layouts! To move layouts from one place to another as I learn about my own way of using the system! To scrap whatever I want whenever I want without feeling pressed to be chronological! And to realize that the All About Us (I call mine ‘Who We Are’) category is sorely lacking. Thanks for everything, Stacy.

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