Deciding What to Include in a Scrapbook

Respondents struggle with explaining why they make the choices they do as far as what is included in the scrapbook, especially after the photograph(s) and journaling were accounted for. Most commonly, respondents say they do not know why they chose a particular piece of paper over another. Photographs are generally chosen because they are:

  • of good quality,
  • tell a cohesive story,
  • or are the only photograph—regardless of quality—of a memory.

No one includes every single photograph taken, piece of memorabilia collected, or scrapbook embellishment purchased in their scrapbooks.

It is the rare scrapbooker who can detail exactly how they decide what is scrapworthy because most respondents have either learned to ignore this decision making process or are completely unaware of it.

One respondent, who says he is very organized, offers a glimpse of his scrapbooking-decision making process:

Take a week-long vacation as the subject. I get the photographs developed and lay out the photographs by day. Whatever happened Monday goes in the Monday pile, and whatever happened Tuesday goes in the Tuesday pile. I will then pick through the pile for each day and sort out the photos—eliminate blurry photos and photos to be used elsewhere. I will then start to lay out the page, so I will lay out the photos first and how I really want to prioritize the photos based on what fits. And then I add stickers and journaling.

Another scrapbooker actually plans out layouts before he even takes the photographs. He knows what photographs he wants to get in order for his vision to be realized on the scrapbook page.

Others include pictures that tell a cohesive story. For example, the scrapbooker may have photographs of every noteworthy moment (i.e., photographs in front of Epcot® at Walt Disney World®, but not photographs of them sleeping in the hotel room) from the trip, but only those photos that tell a story are scrapbooked.

What makes it so difficult to discuss what makes a memory, photograph, or piece of memorabilia scrapworthy is that it is so obvious to the scrapbooker that the question seems absurd to most respondents. Scrapbookers are more likely to be able to discuss why something is scrapworthy when the scrapbook is made for somebody else because in this case, the audience is taken into consideration.

How do you decide what to include in a scrapbook? Do you include every memory, photograph, piece of memorabilia, or store-bought embellishment? Why or why not?

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