I Scrapbook Chronologically.

Over the next few weeks, I will discuss my results regarding how scrapbooks are actually organized.

Think about the following phrase for a moment:

I scrapbook chronologically.

What does this phrase mean?

From my non-dissertation observations, there seems to be some confusion as to what a person actually means by this. From my dissertation observations, there are at least two meanings of this phrase. For some, scrapbooking chronologically really means scrapbooking stories in chronological order. For others, scrapbooking chronologically means organizing layouts in chronological order. These are two very different meanings of the same phrase.

Moreover, even thematic scrapbookers tend to organize their finished album chronologically. For example, a vacation scrapbook begins with what happened at the beginning of the trip and ends with what happened at the end of the trip with everything in between organized by time, too. Time is a primary means by which scrapbookers lump various photographs and memorabilia together for inclusion in a scrapbook.

Most respondents in my study indicate they scrapbooked both thematically and chronologically (N=21). For example, a scrapbook may be about one vacation (theme) but is organized by day (from the beginning to the end of the vacation). Four respondents indicate they organize their scrapbooks thematically and seven indicate they organized their scrapbooks chronologically. Two scrapbookers scrapbooked whatever inspires them and place the completed pages in an album wherever they want rather than by theme or time. In this case, the scrapbooker may lump photographs from different points in time but of the same subject together (see also Demos 2006). Three scrapbookers did not answer the question. One respondent says she also sometimes organizes her scrapbooks by color or technique in addition to thematically and chronologically organizing her scrapbooks.

Personally, I organize my scrapbooks chronologically, but scrapbook whatever I feel like. I rarely make an album organized solely by theme. What about you? How do you organize your scrapbooks? Is there any order to how you scrapbook?


Demos, Elizabeth J. 2006. “Scrapbooking: Women Making ‘Me Time’ and Doing Family Through Making Memories.” PhD dissertation, Department of Sociology, Loyola University, Chicago, IL.

This entry was posted in Classification, Dissertation, Findings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Nat

    I’ve always thought “I scrapbook chronologically.” And by scrapbook, I think of it as the verb of the act of putting layouts together. I design and make pages in chronological order as the events happened. The scrapbooks when put together are also chronological. I like the context that chronological scrapbooks give.

  • JenE

    I scrap whatever inspires me and stick them all in albums together. No organization whatsoever. So a 2006 page of kids playing may be across from a 2013 art journal page. I love the surprises of the albums that way, plus it is WAY less stressful. I figure if my kids are annoyed by it one day, they can change it, hehe.

  • I should probably clarify that I usually only working on the current year’s and the previous year’s photos. I’m usually done scrapbooking/processing photos from the years prior to that, so it is pretty easy for me to stay on top of chronological organization of layouts. I did start a new album that is just random pages. I occassionally make a layout that is just completely out of place in any current album so I place layouts in the random album in random order.

  • I think I might need to do a post about what the word scrapbook even means! It really is a verb, but is often used as both a noun and a verb and I think that contributes to the confusion as to what people actually mean by scrapbooking chronologically. I agree, I like the context of chronological scrapbooks. There are definitely compelling arguments for non-chronological albums, but my mind things chronologically. My unit is year, so that means that I might make a page with photos from several points in time during the year, but the year is my framework.

  • AnnieB

    I scrapbook whatever inspires me then put the pages in thematic albums in chronological order…or as close to chronological order as I can.

  • DorothyCC

    I’m like you. I organize my scrapbooks chronologically, but scrapbook whatever I feel like. Unlike you, I’m way behind everything, so I have six or seven scrapbooks going on at the same time – one for a big vacation we took four years ago, one for a big vacation we took seven years ago, Project Life-type daily scrapbooks for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and now 2014, and a scrapbook for my son’s football career that ended when he graduated two years ago. I work full-time and am involved in many other activities besides scrapbooking, so I enjoy doing what I can in the time I have. I figure I’ll never get caught up until I retire–and maybe not even then–so there’s no point in getting stressed out about it. It’s a hobby, a fun way to relax, and a good process for preserving memories.

  • Oh, I’m sure that inevetibly, I’ll end up way behind at some point. 🙂 I also never want to be caught up. If I’m caught up, then what would I scrapbook? I got a lot of my life scrapbooked before I had my daughter. I also try to stay on top of photo printing even if I won’t scrapbook the photos for a year or more. I’m not as good at staying on top of photo printing as I once was. I was printing about once a month, but now, it’s more like 2-3 times a year.