Which Album? Organizing Layouts

After last Tuesday’s post about how I select photos for a layout, a friend commented:
“Thanks! It raised a few other questions, like, how do you decide what goes into what book (I know, some are obvious, but for me I have some that are hard to place) and how do you categorize your books?”
I organize my albums chronologically and thematically, but mostly chronologically.
I don’t have any hard and fast rules about what becomes thematic and what stays chronological. In general, vacations that generate a lot of photographs get their own album. So my trip to New York City is in its own album. My trip to San Francisco is in its own album. My trip to Ireland is in its own album. My trip to Cincinnati, only generated a few photos, so those layouts are in a chronological album.
I also do thematic albums for non-vacation things that generate a lot of photos. I have mini-books for Cows Atlanta, the Chihuly exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Cardinals games we attended in 2010, and trips to the park in 2010.
I only have one ongoing thematic album: Christmas. I began keeping all of my Christmas layouts in one album about a year ago with the goal that this is an album we would pull out each Christmas and see how we spent the holiday previous years.
Everything else is chronologically organized. I start by using the Power Sort Box from Creative Memories. I label one of these boxes with the year. Whenever I print photos (which I do every 1-2 months), I sort them into the box for its year. I sort along a variety of themes. I have a categories for my daughter with various family members, things we do, places we go. I suppose it is somewhat of a variation on Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories System (she categorizes photos along a few categories, while rejecting chronological organization). I use a few more categories than she does, while embracing chronology but I scrapbook in whatever order I feel like. Chronology comes back into play in the organization of actual layouts.
I use chronology to organize most of my albums, even my thematic albums. This is just my personal preference. There are other ways of organizing your layouts into albums. There is no right or wrong way to do it. This is what makes sense to me.
Now, I do something a bit crazy. I have albums for the family and a couple of albums for my daughter. Really, the only reason she gets many layouts is that I have extra photos. I rarely print out photos to specifically use in her album. In general if I end up with three pages of a particular topic, two will go in the family album and one will go in my daughter’s album. Sometimes I just end up with two single-page layouts. One will go in the family album and one will go in her album. I have a feeling that the number of layouts she gets will be smaller as time goes by simply because I am getting better at selecting fewer photos to print in the first place.
I really do not have any hard and fast rules about how I decide what goes in which album (family or daughter). There are some topics that are only in the family album and some topics that are only in my daughter’s album. I don’t think a whole lot about it. I just decide and then label the back of the layout as either “for the family” or “for my daughter.” I used to not label the backs of the layouts but since I rarely immediately put the layouts in an album, I would forget where each layout was supposed to go.
Overall, my organization process is a work in progress. I’m not sure if I adequately answered my friend’s question, but it’s a start. I have a feeling we will talk about this topic again sometime. How do you organize your scrapbooks? Please comment below.


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  • Mandy

    I have a Family book (1-2 page layouts for holidays, short trips, day-to-day stuff)Celebrations (births, birthday parties, weddings, graduations…this is for my extended family). Big vacations have their own book. Each Christmas (from the past 3 years)has its own 8X8 book since that’s the holiday that produces the most pictures and it’s my favorite time of the year. My son has 2 books of his own…I scrapbooked along with keeping a baby book. I also have a Me book, a book from high school and college and one with my son’s playgroup adventures.

    And apparently….I have more books than I realized!

  • admin

    Thanks for commenting! I made a separate baby book, too! I think I should start a book of me…