Tips For Managing A Long Project

I have been scrapbooking my trip to Europe for over two years now. It’s the only project that I’ve been this dedicated to. And when I say “work” on this trip, here’s what I’ve done:

A mini album. It contains many of my favorite photos, details on what I did every day, postcards with journaling, who I met and how I felt as I traveled to each city.

There will be a 2 page layout about each city I traveled to, including the memorabilia I saved. Here’s the Venice layout that I created recently (and showed a teaser of – layout based on a Scrapbook Generation sketch). The photos on these layouts are overview photos from the day, but don’t include the detail photos from specific places or tours.

Other:Β Sassafras metal flowers, Prima flowers, Recollections bling.

Beyond that, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I took about 1,500 photos on my trip but after deleting bad photos and editing, I ended up getting about 300 photos printed.

After I started making the overview pages, I realized that was not going to be enough. There were so many other details about the excursions, the food, and the sights that had to be documented too. But did I really want to scrapbook 300 photos? What would I do with that many layouts? I’m not a huge fan of two page layouts, so everything else will probably be one pagers. Would these layouts go into my Places album? Would they go into their own album? Decisions, decisions.

I’m glad I gave myself time to think over the possibilities. If we are overwhelmed by a project we might make a quick decision just to get it done. After two years of reflection, I’ve realized that this was truly an amazing adventure and it deserves special treatment. Of course I’m going to scrapbook these photos no matter how many layouts it takes and these layouts will go in a dedicated album. (And it’s already half full!)

That leads me to offer a few tips if you have any ongoing projects like this:

Keep everything in one place

These 12×12 Iris cases are perfect to keep everything together. I have all of my photos and memorabilia and travel themed items in one spot. If you are working from a collection pack or a specific set of papers, keep them here too.

Divide the photos by page

I had a stack of about 300 photos (I wish I had taken a photo of that stack before I created the mini album and started on layouts!) and this is what is left. I went through and divided my photos up by the stories/pages I want to create. I am also planning some divided page protector inserts and listed them here. When I want to work on one of these pages, I’ll just grab the 2-3 photos I need.

Make kits

I am not using a coordinated set of products for this album, so when I come across products that I think will work well with a set of photos, I’ll put them together. Sometimes I’ll find a sketch right away and plan out the page too. This goes in my stack of page kits so on the weekend when I’m in a crafty mood, I can pull one of these kits and get to work.

Give yourself a break. Scrapbooking a long project is notΒ a race. You don’t have to power through it. I work on my layouts when the photos inspire me. After a few Europe layouts, I’m ready to move on to some nephew layouts. I just put the case away and everything is together when I want to work on it again later.

Do you have any tips for keeping up with a long project?

Thanks for stopping by today!


  1. You are so dedicated and organized in how you go about doing this. Such wonderful memories and gorgeous pages.

    • Thank you! πŸ™‚

  2. Tammy I had to laugh because these are ask the same things I do when working on a big project, or vacation album, minus taking a break! Ha! I get impatient and and want to push through and finish, just to check it off my list, then I end up not being happy with the completed project. I need to take special note of your last tip!! πŸ™‚

    • Always a good reminder! Don’t get me wrong – it’s good to actually complete a project too! But always better to just enjoy the process and it takes as long as it takes. πŸ™‚

  3. Great tips, Tammy!
    I keep all the stuff from my projects in freebie canvas Archiver’s bags I have collected from various shopping trips. Right now I have one for school albums and one for my mother-in-law’s Ireland album. Which I am STILL working on!
    But I think that last tip is so important. It’s ok to take a break so you don’t get burned out.

    I think your mini is fabulous. Love the journaling on post cards.
    And I also love how you are doing pages for each city.
    But really love the special layouts that go a little deeper into the trip πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! I have found that it takes less time to get going when you keep everything together. And I’m all about making it easier and faster. πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks so much for sharing these tips! I do something similar with Disney trips and stuff. I love to tell the little stories, so I need to be better about writing those sown along the way.

    • It’s crazy how quickly we can forget things. Along the way you think, “I’ll always remember that!” and then when it comes time to document you think, “Now what was that all about again???” I need to write it down too!

  5. I’m really enjoying your thought process here. I haven’t scrapbooked a trip that long yet (all of my stuff is patiently waiting in boxes). I agree with giving yourself the time to really think about how you want to approach it.

    Before I scrolled down, I totally guessed “she is going to add more layouts with specific things in addition to the cities!” I like that approach!

    • Yes! πŸ™‚ I had been creating a page here and a page there not really knowing what I was going to do in the end. I am not a “scrapbook every photo” kind of scrapbooker so it took me a long time to wrap my brain around the idea of scrapbooking 300 photos from one event. I really like taking 2-3 photos at a time and focusing there rather than 10 photos at once. Though I do love the 2-pagers in this album. But still, it may take me 3 more years to get it done, but at least I am enjoying the process!

  6. What a wonderful vacation and a terrific way to preserve the memories. Great tips too. You’re going to have an amazing album.

    • Aw, thanks! πŸ™‚

  7. this is so fantastic! this will be an album you will have and cherish forever!! awesome tips!

  8. WOW, Tammy! These pages are amazing (and so is that trip = on my bucket list)!! LOVE all the tips and will use them for ME! LOL! Great post – thanks!

  9. oh wow! you are so organized – these are great tips AND great pages!!!

  10. This is such a timely blog post for me! I’ve been slowly collecting supplies and thinking A LOT about how I want to scrap a vacation we took a few years ago. It was a major event and I want to do it justice when I scrapbook it. I have been keeping all of my supplies and photos separate from the rest of my stash, but beyond that, have not decided what format I want to do it in. Mini books? Big album? What size? There are so many choices!

  11. Great tips! Sometimes I will do a mini book, but I still want to scrap my travel photos in a 12×12 size. So I do like you, and take my time, scrap as many as I want, and decide how to store everything later.

  12. Great tips.
    I have friends that have taken a lot longer then 2 yrs to make their trip albums.
    Love what you have done with yours so far πŸ™‚

  13. I have a similar system for our cruise album. All the photos are in a storage binder, grouped by page or story or location. I have a Project File with a few papers & word stickers that I’m using, but each page will be different and I’m scrapping as inspired. I’m going to a four day crop next month & think I’ll put together some page kits for this album ahead of time.

  14. Quite an impressive project, love the design of your mini! How did you like Europe? What places did you loved most (i’m from Paris ;)?
    Thanks for the tips, i’m leaving for a new continent for 4 months in only 2 days, so talk about thousands of pictures!

  15. This is a great idea. I have our first cruise album that has not been finished yet so I will need to take it in smaller bits. I will need to restart this project!!
    Once in a life time trips should take longer to scrap πŸ™‚

  16. I recently took my first cruise, and took largely the same approach to scrapping it.

    One tip I’ll share – I’d debated on how I wanted to chronicle the event. I do annual albums (which get completed eventually – I don’t scrap chronologically, necessarily), and I wanted to represent the cruise in that album, but knew I couldn’t possibly fit all the details in a single 2-pager. So I did an ‘overview’ page of my absolute favorite photos and memories for my annual album.

    Then, my “cruise book” contained a chronological (mostly) telling of each day, excursion, etc. I used Excel to type up a plan for double-pages and single pages so I’d know where everything would fall into place. I kept that all organized by actually planning out every LO I wanted to do in the page protector and stored it in the (D-ring) album itself (sketch, photos, notes about placement, fonts I wanted to use, etc). A few things shifted around, but it was a good way to reserve paper for a specific planned layout. Then I had an accordion folder with a smaller section on the front where I kept extra paper, scraps and embellishments that I wanted to use but didn’t have specifically planned.

    This worked great for me. I carried these “corralled” items around to my various crops for a few months until I got it all done (It was a colorful, diverse book, so I didn’t get bored,) I’m about to fire up the same system to document my SF trip. All of those goodies are still in the Iris boxes, for now.

    • Kyla,

      This is a great response to this article and one I am going to implement. My family recently took a 12 day cruise (with time in London first) and I had over 2,700 photos between me and my father, plus around 200 my kids took. I am down to 675 photos for now and plan to do a Shutterfly album with almost all those, with minimal info and then do a paper album with hopefully around 200 or so photos and include all the memorabelia, details, etc. in there. I have my memorabelia sorted in 8 1/2×11 page protectors in a folder and a paper case with all the ‘stuff’i collected on the trip. Now I think I’ll decide on my album and put the stuff, sorted by place in the actual album. this will keep it together and help me keep the items I’ve got to use on a certain page together.

      when i do albums like this (all one theme), i usually do it with coordinating stuff (love Basic Grey or Echo Park for this) but I haven’t seen anything to really jump out at me so maybe I’ll follow all you ladies and use what I like…

  17. Love your thought process, because it’s the one I use too – up until the place where you finish your overview pages. When I reach that point, I stop scrapping and put the rest of the photos (and some memorabilia and journaling) in divided page protectors between the overview pages.

    Why? two reasons.
    1. People are interested in seeing my photos from a recent trip – later on, not so much.
    2. The next trip is coming up real soon. If I took 2 years to scrap a trip, I’d have 6 more waiting in the wings – that would get confusing FAST.

  18. It’s de-ja-voux for me! It’s been 3 yrs. since our Italy trip…now working on Venice! I find I enjoy the scrapping more when I take my time. Looking at the photos and creating LOs brings back so many great memories! Thanks for reminding me of that.

    • I feel the same way! That’s why I’m really in no hurry to finish this album. πŸ™‚ Love the flood of memories I get each time I pull out a new group of photos and work on a page. It was such an amazing trip and I won’t be going back any time soon so I have to live through the memories. Thanks for commenting!



  1. Noteworthy | 8.29.2012 - [...] Tammy at Your Memory Connection has been working on scrapbooking her trip to Europe for two years! She shares…

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