How about some Q&A?

Q: I have to say deleting photos is mega hard…so I"ve consoled myself for now for burning each and every photo to a backup disk in date order, to ease the 'stress' of 'what if I delete one that I should have kept?' In reality I'll probably never check those disks, but it's my cold storage of sorts…does the deleting get easier?

A: Absolutely.

Once you get the hang of creating highlight folders that contain the best and "the most likely to be scrapped" and once you experience the satisfaction of knowing that you have archived these folders outside your home (Shutterfly would be a good option) and once you begin to actually use your photos (i know, big step) and create pages that matter and projects that mean something — you will ABSOLUTELY, without a doubt be able to look at photo, estimate it's potential value in your overall story and "let it go" (a.k.a "move to trash")

Here's the deal. You have got to learn to purge and prioritize, or NONE of those precious pictures are going to ever be paired with your priceless perspective — and it is in this partnership that we secure the memory and recognize the true value. 

Q: What do you do when you have a specific project in mind and want/need to have pictures that are not 4×6 or that you want to use in black and white?  I know that it make perfect sense that you cannot scrapbook photos that you have not printed, but quite often, I am working on a specific project (often from a project-based kit that I have purchased) and the appropriate photos for them are not 4×6 or because of the colors used in the project, the photos best suited to the project should be in black and white.  Thanks for your help on this.

A: You're welcome! If this happens to me, I simply reprint these photos in larger sizes or black and white.

I love having the 4×6 prints in my storage binders, where I can see them (again and again) and put my hands on them. If I decide that I need specialty reprints I simply note which binder I found the pictures in and then find those images again in my seasonal highlight folder on my computer and upload a small order in a specialty size and/or color. My experience is once you get used to having prints available for pages and projects you find you "need" specialty photos less often. It doesn't bother me to create duplicate prints because I know I can always triage the original 4x6s or share them with grandma or someone else! Specialty printing today is so accessible and affordable that it's simply not a big deal.

Q: I know the storage binders are supposed to be for "event" pics, but I have A LOT of pics of everyday stuff and face shots of the kids.  I can't imagine that I'm going to put all of these face shots into my category drawers but they're not really event-oriented and I don't think they are ready for cold storage so what am I supposed to do with them?  Do they live in my binders for a while?  YES.

Do I put them in the category drawers? Over time, some — others, no.

A magical thing happens as prints live in storage binders. They are prioritized. Without any conscious effort on your part — you are prioritizing (assignming importance and relevance) each time you thumb through a storage binder and look at your photos. Aside from imprinting them on your brain, you make a decision to either use or pass on printed photos. On any particular day, one of these "everyday pictures" or "face shots" may jump out at you and you my decide to triage it into a category drawer. You may also pass on a photo again and again and again and ultimately (after years) decide to lovingly place it in a cold storage box (with the absolute satisfaction that such a decision is not made prematurely.) If you happen to be looking for a photo of your child taken during the summer of '07 — you can go directly to the Summer 2007 storage binder. If you are looking for several great personality shots of your child — you don't have to view binder after binder or scroll through hundreds of images on your computer. Instead you can go to her personality tab in your All About Us category drawer and find a handful of photos you've already deemed worthy of that category!

The main thing is to get your most scrappable prints into viewable binders and begin to live with them. You won't experience the magical things I mention, until you take this first step!   

{comment from questioner} Other than this, so far, I am LOVING this system.  It is so stress-relieving to know that I have a place for my photos.  I came across a photo of my hubby and his friend at this friend's wedding.  A month ago, I would have said "great pic but where should I put this so I know where to find it?"  Now I know exactly where it goes.

Yeah. I'm so glad to hear this. As you dive in and establish the essentials of the Library of Memories system in your own home, you will (more often than not) answer your own questions, and these are the answers that stick. Trust your answers!

For those of you that have no idea what this Q&A is about, click here to learn about my book, Photo Freedom. I will be teaching A Library of Memories at Big Picture Scrapbooking in February 2009. Register at BPS and watch your inbox for details!


LOM Tip: Take pictures of your kids holding school projects — especially if they are too big to keep. These photos can be used in School of Life albums, triaged into category drawers or set aside for a "someday" mini album called "3,762 Things I Made" (see last post)



  1. thanks for the Q & A—it is always a reminder to revisit my LOM!

  2. 3,762 Things I Made – hahaha! Love it!!

  3. Thanks for answering my question Stacy. My LOM is definitely a work in progress but I just love it!

  4. Taking pics of kid holding school projects: WHAT A FANTASTIC IDEA! Thank you for that one. I just take pics of the project itself, but with your approach I can get an image of the project AND an idea of how old my kid was when she made it – all in one shot. And I can totally see myself doing a “3,762 Things I Made” project for my kid one day :-)

  5. Can’t wait to sign up for LOM…I’ve had my own “version” for a year or so…and I really want to tweak it and improve on it!

  6. 3,762 Things I Made!! LOL That’s funny! Mine would be 62 Things I Made and 3,700 things I almost finished.!!! LMBO

  7. Miss Stacey, I love your attitude on photos! I took your class at CKC-Valley Forge, but I see now that I need a refresher because I have not made many changes yet. :o
    On another note- I started taking pictures of my dd and her art projects back when she was 3. I did a layout for each season, just using those photos. It makes it much easier to file those projects in the proverbial “circular file!”

  8. I’m so glad to hear you will be teaching LOM soon. I have your book, love it and have started putting your system into operation but look forward to more guidance.

  9. love the idea of taking pics of the kids with their projects!!!!

  10. great post! As I read them I thought… “I was thinking the same thing!” Can’t wait for the LOM class on BPS!

  11. I’m glad your going to teach another LOM class. I’m taking Cathys class right now on Design my Life and it’s the first time I have scrapped out of order. Refreshing!!! Now I want to learn more on storing photos because right now for class that’s the hardest part, picking photos to scrap seeing they are all over the place.

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