Tweaks To My Albums

Thanks to everyone for the response to my last post on album organization. I like to share my experiences just in case it resonates with anyone experiencing a similar struggle.

It’s been five years since I turned all of my albums inside out and reorganized them into categories. I’ve been very happy with the system but in the last year, I started thinking about it all again. And not so much about chronology vs. category but more in terms of telling the broader overall story.

Thanks to Shimelle’s Cover to Cover class, I had a place to explore some different ideas. In addition to the album system she presents there are also ideas about flow and continuity that can be applied to any kind of system. These aren’t class secrets because Shimelle has introduced these ideas in public videos here and here. If you haven’t watched them, give them a look.

Tweaks, not another overhaul

I am not abandoning my categories. I love them and they work well for me. But as I went through this process, it surprised me to find issues with the flow and continuity of my pages. When I critically examined my albums I found missing pieces. I found places where the whole story wasn’t being told. It was clear to me that some changes needed to be made. (Note: some of these ideas came from Shimelle’s class and some are ideas that came about because of other things I have been doing.)

1. Adjusting the order in some of my categories.

Here’s a look at the Oh Brother section of one of my People albums where I keep layouts that include both of my nephews. On one page you will notice they are babies and on the facing page they are older.

Turn the page and they are older still and on the facing page they are younger again. If you turned the page again, you’d find another baby layout and next to it a layout from spring break a few months ago. These are all stand alone pages, but in this random order, it’s hard to follow how they are growing up.

I have come around to the idea that for specific People categories, a more complete story can be told if you see progression. So I will re-order a few categories. But not really in a strict chronological order. If I have three pages from 2003, having them grouped together (instead of spaced randomly throughout the section) is enough for me.

I’ll make this change to the Me albums, Michael’s section, Kyle’s section and this Oh Brother section. The other sections in my People albums will remain untouched and I will not change the order of my Places or Things categories except the Four Seasons section where I keep the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas (if I didn’t create a mini album) layouts. These layouts will all be put into more sequential order because I think that makes sense too.

2. Adding stories to existing layouts.

Here’s a layout (circa 2000 – when I knew nothing about design) where I have a variety of photos from high school dances. It’s an 8.5×11 2-page spread in between two 12×12 layouts. There is a story that goes along with this Cotton Day dance — why I was there, who I was with, and what we were getting out of to be there.

Even though this layout is old and there’s nothing particularly interesting about it, I’m not one to redo my layouts. It’s going to stay just like this but I will add a 4×6 flip protector with the story. It’s not a huge investment in time, but the page will be that much more meaningful when I add the context and the details. I’ll keep doing this for any other layouts that need stories too.

3. Adding stories and additional photos to existing layouts.

Here’s a 2-page layout I created with a ton of photos from our last Disney World vacation.

And another. But you see the problem…there’s no journaling. I still have a lot of photos from this adventure that I have not scrapbooked. It was always my intention to go back and create more layouts. But it’s three years later and I haven’t gotten around to it.

To make it easier, I think I will just add more photos and the journaling with 6×12 photo sleeves. I might also create a fold out page attached with washi tape directly on the existing page. (Shimelle shows an example of what I mean here and here.) I will continue to use a white background, the black, red and yellow cardstock on any additions for the sake of continuity.

4. Figure out what’s missing.

My European Adventures album is far from complete. I have several pages like this that just showcase pretty photos. Again, the story is missing but so are many other excursions. I went to Europe two years ago and I expect I’ll still be working on this album two years from now. To make sure I don’t duplicate anything I’ve already created, I’ve made some notes about what’s here and what’s missing. I’ll keep that together with the printed photos from this trip so that when I’m inspired to scrapbook them, I’ll know what still needs to be done.

It’s all a work in progress

Regardless of whether you organize in chronological order or by category, these ideas can be applied to all different types of albums.

It’s a good exercise to examine your album as a whole and ask yourself, have you said everything that needs to be said? Are you telling a complete story? Do your stories flow from one to the next? Do you have more photos that could be added as inserts?

You might be surprised by the answers. I thought I was doing a pretty good job documenting my story. Now I’ll be able to fill in the missing pieces and make my system that much better!

Thanks for stopping by today!


  1. Another great post Tammy & it really sums up what I got out of Shimelle’s class also. I enjoyed the content, particularly the idea of creating continuity and adding smaller pages to tell or complete a story.

  2. Awesome albums! I’m not good at adding journaling to my pages so I try to go back and add the details later.

  3. Totally agree about tweaking! BUT first I have to put my pages in albums! LOL! Baby steps ;0P

  4. Sounds like a pretty good plan you have in place! 🙂
    I have a feeling that once each album is “full” I am going to go back and tweak mine, too 🙂

  5. You and I are on a very similar journey with our albums, so I really appreciate your posts. I’ve re-arranged pages for better flow and am working on filling in the gaps. I’ve also made note of emerging themes in my scrapping, layouts that may someday be removed and put in their own album. Now, I will just enjoy scrapping and see how my albums continue to develop – it’s a fun process!

  6. I really need this, thanks for sharing! I think I know what I want to do for organizing and I just need to execute. Asking myself how the story is being told and if it is all being told is a great idea! Thanks for posting this!

  7. Great tips!!

    I LOVE your Disney pages!!

  8. We’re heading to Disney soon so first off, thank you for the inspiring pages. 🙂 Also, thank you for the ideas for looking at my albums and pages differently.

  9. I have really enjoyed your posts and think you have covered the topic brilliantly. I agree with a lot of what you say. Great job.

  10. I am a chronological scrapper, but there is definitely some tweaking going on in my albums 🙂 Looks like you have yours figured out and thinks look great!!

  11. It looks like you’re doing well with sorting those albums out. I need to organise mine too, but I need to buy a couple more albums first! x

  12. That’s a great idea to reorder some album pages. I just am so far behind, I just keep plugging along to at least get pages scrapped. Thanks for sharing.

  13. This was great, I may have to rethink how my albums are laid out as well! Love Penny

  14. I love all your layouts.
    Sometimes when I do pages when not at home, I just put them in an empty album for transporting….guess what they are still in there, lol.
    Looks like I can do with a bit of organizing in that department as well.

  15. I’ve enjoyed these two posts on album organization. I recently decided to start buying just 3 ring binders from now on, but I still need to do some rework of my post albums. Thanks for getting me thinking.

  16. your albums look perfect tammy!


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