Divine Bird

I believe in a high-fiber diet…like wool, alpaca, cashmere…

Curating My Own Life


It would be so easy, I thought. Just buy a new photo album, move the pics from my old one onto new pages, and done. Easy peasy!

Oh my GOSH. How do scrapbookers do this more than once??

This adventure started with a beat-up, bursting-at-the-seams photo album that had been a gift at my high school graduation. My mom had put it together for me and it included the usual round of photos of myself through the years, my family, and special memories. Back then, in 1993, scrapbooking as we know it wasn’t really a “thing” yet; mostly teenagers and jet setters made them. The rest of us made do with cellophane pages and photo corners, or simply threw pics into plastic sleeves and called it a day.

The album in question had been a lovely gift at the time, but 22 years and dozens of moves have taken their toll. The sticky pages had turned brown under the cellophane and the binding broke somewhere along the way. Not only that, but I wanted to add to it–my marriage, the cool things I’ve done since graduation, and the photos I inherited from relatives who have since passed. I figured I’d just start a new album with bigger pages, pretty backgrounds, and better archival materials.

So tonight I completely gutted the old album. I kept the photos pretty much in order (thank goodness I did THAT, at least) and it seems my mom had been good about labeling them so I can keep track of the years. Then I integrated the photos I’d inherited, plus all the photos of my own that had languished in a box for years. And that’s where I started to get overwhelmed.

I mean, it’s just one box, so it shouldn’t be so hard, right? But where do I start? Where do I stop? Lives don’t have definitive chapters; things overlap. People overlap. Do I just include things from my childhood? Should it just be pics taken during my school years, and then start a new album for what came after? But then that means there wouldn’t be any pictures of my husband, or my college friends. And if I decide it’s just going to be family pics, that includes my husband, right? And if I want to include my sister’s college graduation–an event that occurred just a few years ago–should that go in this one, or a different one?

Choosing the guest list for my wedding was easier than this.

How do you do it, scrapbooker people? I honestly want to know. I’m not trying for a “theme” and I’m not embellishing beyond a few notes in the margins. I just want to figure out a way to organize this pile of photos that is much bigger than it appears.

Tell me what you think.

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