Lesson 4 part 2 – Fine tuning your Organization

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Whatever you’re doing, what better way then being organized to save you time. It’s the same in scrapbooking; making sure you are organized is one of the essentials part to scrapbooking as it will save you a lot of time. We all did this: shoes boxes of photos, growing stacks of unorganized photos or bundles of envelopes packed with pictures just waiting to be scrapped and then we go into frantic searches for that one perfect photo we need to finish for a layout. The best way to avoid that is by adopting a method of organization for your photos; one that will suit your style and will ensure that you spend more time scrapping then searching for your photos.

1st step – SORT AND WEED

You might ask yourself, where should I begin? Whether you’ve just rescued some of your photos from old, magnetic albums or you simply have stack and shoe boxes full of photos just waiting to be scrapped, the best way to start is by deciding how you want to arrange them. Look at how you scrapbook and then choose an organization method that will allow you to find subjects quickly; here are some suggestions:

1. Chronological: If you’re facing a huge backlog of photos, this method would work best for you. By going trough your pictures and sorting them by year, each piles representing a year, then once that is done, take one year at a time and store them into months. When sorting, you might consider making two piles of each; one that you will use for your layouts and another of those that you won’t scrapbook (those can be kept in storage boxes). If you come across pictures you want to give away to family or friends make another pile for those. Another time saving tip: try jotting down dates, names and other important facts wild weeding your photos. This will save you time on your journaling and please remember if you are going to write on your photo, please make sure you are using a photo-safe pencil.

2. By theme: If scrapbooking by date is not something for you then grouping by theme might be the ideal for you. If you’d rather scrap by subject, events or if you’re thinking of making themed album, you can sort your photos in to specific piles such as holidays, vacations, sports, outing, friends, child…. The advantage of doing that is that if you suddenly have the desire to do a Christmas layout, for example, you can combine your entire photo quickly and complete pages for several years at once. Or make an album 70’s Christmas and combine all 9 years of Christmas in one album.

3. By Album: Sorting your photos according to album is a great way to go as well. For example, if you look in my organization boxes you’ll find a section for each of my 2 kids, one family album, one Heritage album and other smaller themed projects. That way, when I get an idea for a layout that concerns my son or daughter I know exactly where to look. Adding cards with little notes and even little stories will also help you with your journaling.


2nd Step – STORE

Once you have all your photos in order, keep them in a photo safe Storage box with index cards or divider tabs to separate them by categories. Some scrappers use shoe boxes. I don’t recommend it as they are not photo safe. If you buy photo boxes available at a stationery or discount store, do make sure they are photo safe. If not, they could damage your photos over time. My favourite storage option is Creative Memoires Power Sort box. This Power Sort box will help you safely store, organize and transport up to 1,200 photos. The inside cover storage sleeve allows you to safely hold flat memorabilia or even panoramic photos. Six divided Compartment Boxes and Dividers allow you to sort to your heart’s desire − by big events, family members, chronologically and more.

If you don’t have enough room to bring your entire Power Sort to your next big scrapbooking event, use one or both Compartment Covers paired with the Compartment Boxes which allows you to transport up to 400 photos. Additional Dividers are sold if you need more.

If you’re looking for more Storage option visits our Organizer section.


Once all the organizing is done and you have a system that works for you, you might wish to select, compile and store specific groups for layouts which mean grouping specific photo of each event (only the best) and separating them in pages layouts. This will allow you to be time effective, creative and efficient without all the hassles of searching through all your event photos once you’re ready to scrap. Here are a few methods I’ve tried.

1. Post-it Notes: I love post-it notes. With post-it, it’s fun once all your pictures are sorted then you can immediately select the best one for each event and group them according to layouts you plan on creating. Another option for post-it is a simple scrap of paper folded that you slip your photos into once you are done writing the information you need. Do remember if you use post-it notes stick them on the back of you pictures. What you can also do on your post-it is write what subject your layout will be, include any other ideas such as potential titles and embellishments. You can also add an asterisk if there is memorabilia that you have elsewhere and plan to use on the page.

Note: Post-it Notes® come in several different sizes. The 2″x3″, 3″x3″, 2-3/4″x3″ seems to work the best, allowing plenty of room to write notes.

2. Power Layouts Kit box: After removing all the photos you don’t plan to use, store them in and acid-free Power Layout kit box. This is a great option to sort numerous layouts till your ready to scrapbook and they are easy to carry as they have dividers that can be name for example; Zoo Vacation 2012 or Xmas 2011… plus if you have any design notes, idea for journaling or memorabilia’s just drop them in as well. This way if you need to go shopping for paper or embellishments for any of your particular layout, they are easy to take with you. If you want to match items with your photos you can store them directly with your pictures. This system is great if you attend a lot of crops. You can decide which layouts you plan to work on, grab what’s in the divider, it will contain all the page elements, and go!

3. File Mate:  Are somewhat like Power layouts kit box, but even easier to carry, we have the 4×6 and 12×12 format and you can store 7 layout in the 4×6 and 13 in the 12×12. Plus you are sure they are photo safe.

Those next two options are good if you know you will be scrapbooking your photos soon they are not to be use for long-term storage.

4. Large Envelopes. You can use this system practically the same way as you would use the File Mate but in individual dividers. If you use paper envelopes, you can jot notes such as potential titles, embellishments, and journaling on the envelope itself. But remember if you’re using envelopes; make sure it’s only for a short time because envelopes are not necessary photo safe.

5. Developer Envelopes. If you take several photos of the same event, you can keep your photos in the envelope they came in from the developer. To make finding them easier, write the activity and date on the outside of the envelope, along with any journaling notes. You can store these chronologically or by subject, if you desire. Again if you are going to use the developer envelopes make use it’s for a short time because they are were not made to keep your photos safe, they are made for transportation.

Once you’ve decided on your organizing system, it’s important and time saving to keep it up to date. This will allow you to find the photos you’re looking for quickly, easily and make your scrapbooking time more fun and efficient. In other words ORGANIZATION = MORE FUN productive and enjoyable, scrapbook sessions.



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