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     Put The Fun Back Into Scrapbooking

It can happen to the best of SCRAPBOOKERS. It can happen to the best-intentioned want-to-be-scrappers, too. It can strike while staring at a blank scrapbook page, paralyzed about what to do next. It can set in when youíre standing in the aisles of your local scrapbook store, surrounded by choices, options, and embellishments galore. It can hit when you pick up your 100th pack of un-scrapbooked photos from the developer. Suddenly, where once you had an enjoyable hobby you love, now you have DREAD.

I call it scrapbook OVERWHELM and youíll know youíre a victim when scrapbooking isnít fun anymore (or youíre intimidated by the idea of starting to scrapbook to begin with.) Scrapbook overwhelm strikes when "too much" leads to less: less fun and less scrapbooking getting done. When overwhelm strikes, you have a few choices.
  • load up on even more scrapbook supplies and HOPE inspiration and clarity will suddenly strike when you get your new goodies home

  • SELL your scrapbook supplies on eBay and pretend this adventure in scrapbooking was just a dream with a not so happy ending

  • or take a step back, regain your perspective and put the FUN back into scrapbooking
Want option 3? Read on! Just ahead are simple strategies to help you overcome overwhelm and put the fun back into scrapbooking!

Scrapbook overwhelm is typically a symptom of too much STUFF getting in the way of what you want. It can be too much photo backlog, too much product, too many ideas, too many incomplete pages or projects, lofty expectations about what is possible to accomplish in the time you have available for scrapbooking, or too much perfectionism. To overcome overwhelm, start by figuring out WHERE you have "too much" going on with your scrapbooking.

Why did you start scrapbooking in the first place? Sometimes, with the lure of all the amazing and beautiful products, itís easy to get lost on our pathway to scrapbook happiness. If you get back to the basics about WHY you wanted to engage in this hobby to begin with, everything falls back into place. Maybe you wanted to get your photos organized into albums so you could enjoy sharing them with family and friends. Perhaps you wanted to create a special scrapbook to document your travels. Or maybe you just wanted a creative outlet or an excuse to spend more time with friends. Get back to the BASICS by clearly defining your reasons for scrapbooking and why itís an important aspect of your life.

Armed with new knowledge from taking stock and re-clarifying your goals, now itís time to pare down. FILTER out anything thatís standing between you and your goals. Let go of your sources of overwhelm. Let go of excess ideas. Pare down to only your favorite and most important products. COMPLETE your half-finished pages, even if it means giving yourself permission to do it less than perfectly. Need more ideas? Read on.

Do you have ideas about what scrapbooking is or what it SHOULD be? Does it mean putting every single photo into scrapbooks in chronological order? Does it mean spending eight hours on a page, shuffling around photos, products and embellishments until everything is just perfect? Does it mean having to remember every exact detail about who, what, when, where and why so you can include this in your journaling? Scrapbooking can be about all of those things, if that makes you happy. But if living up to these expectations is getting in the way of your fun -- let go of them! Scrapbooking can be WHATEVER you want it to be. Want to slide your photos into a photo album, add an embellishment or two and record the date? Great! Thatís a scrapbook! Want to create a notebook to jot down quotes your kidsí say and maybe add a photo here and there? Fantastic! Call it a scrapbook and be happy!

Carve out small bursts of time to do SORTING. For example, commit to spending 30 minutes per evening, three days a week on sorting photos. Or decide to sort through one box a week, working in one hour time blocks. Decide on a schedule you can commit to -- and then keep at it! As you sort, keep in mind your scrapbooking GOALS. Pull out the photos you truly love and want to put in scrapbooks and find a permanent home for the rest. To keep up your momentum, once you have a group of photos together that would make a nice mini-album or page, take a break and create your page or album! Youíll feel energized and ready to tackle the rest of your backlog.

Consider scrapbooking only your very favorite photos! Thereís no rule that says if you start scrapbooking you must scrapbook ALL of your photos. If youíre overwhelmed with your current plan, consider focusing on just your very favorite photos -- those that tug at your heartstrings when you see them or help you recall a special time in your life. Scrapbooking does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. Itís perfectly acceptable to scrapbook only your most important photos and keep the rest STORED safely in photo boxes or traditional photo albums.

Sometimes the mere size of a 12 x 12 scrapbook page can be overwhelming. Thereís simply a lot of SPACE to fill and so many options for pulling it all together. (If youíre a shuffler, you know what I mean.) Give some of the other sizes a try and make a MINI-ALBUM on a single topic or theme. Youíll let go of the overwhelm caused by the mere size of a 12 x 12 scrapbook plus get a burst of excitement from accomplishing a complete project!

Sound contradictory? Well, Iím talking about big in terms of IMPORTANCE. What are your most important memories? Focus on scrapbooking MEMORIES instead of focusing on photos. Create an album recounting your most precious childhood memories. Make a page about your Momís chocolate chip cookies. Create a photo journal about the day-to-day happenings in your home -- those things that make life rich.

Every page doesnít have to have a day, month, and year on it to be a scrapbook. Capture the ESSENCE of the photo or memory. What makes the photo special to you? What makes this memory or day stand out from all the rest?

Scrapbook kits take the DESIGN dilemmas out of the scrapbook process. If design and product selection are a source of overwhelm for you, a kit could be just your ticket to a life free of scrapbook overwhelm.

Scrapbooking, like life, is a JOURNEY. Youíll run into road bumps and times when your approach to scrapbooking isnít working for you and you need to take a detour. Youíll also find times when youíre cruising down the road and everything is smooth sailing. When you find yourself in those glory days -- take stock of whatís working. When you find solutions that work for you, keep doing them. If you find a layout you love, use it in many albums or layouts. Find a manufacturer you love -- load up! Likewise, when you find something isnít working for you, step back and make a CHANGE -- before overwhelm strikes again.

When you focus on your goals and pare down to the most ESSENTIAL elements -- scrapbooking is an amazing journey -- a way to cherish your past and connect to your present in a way like no other. Remember to have fun on the journey and youíll be FREE from overwhelm in no time!


Aby Garvey is a professional organizer and the owner of simplify 101, inc. Her mission is to help you create time and space for what matters most in your home, business, and life. She is also the creator of "The Happy Scrapper" scrapbook organizing system, which is available directly through www.OnlineOrganizing.com. Visit her web site at simplify101.com.

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