Photos / Memorabilia / Albums / Scrapbooks

Do you have a box, bag, drawer or something full of photos? Do you have some intentions about putting them in a scrapbook, labeling them, or doing something with them. The best way to get this done is to start NOW with your current and future photos.

It is easy, once you know how.

Decide how you want to store your photos.  There are several scrapbook formats you can use, or you can just buy acid free notebooks and stick your photos in directly (with acid free glue).

I like the idea of getting a simple 30x30 cm scrapbook with colourful pages, and glueing the photos in there. Don't be precious - cut them up, stick them in, scrawl on the details underneath, and keep going. A book like this will make you smile in 10 years’ time, unlike a stack of photos you never got around to doing anything with because of grandiose plans that didn't get done.

Assemble the following supplies or order the Less is More Memorabilia Starter kit here

  • Two marker pens – buy ‘photo safe markers’ akaacid free’ or with (AP) in a circle.  You will be writing on the back of photos and on album pages.   Sharpie fine tip markers are photo safe. Get a dark one which will show up on light paper and silver or gold ones which will show well on dark paper.
  • Concertina file
  • Photo album – with acid free paper pages
  • Glue – once again acid free
  • A thick Sharpie marker


First get a piece of paper and make a note of where all the photos you have are.   Are there some in your holiday file, some under the bed, and some on the fridge door?  Ticking off this list as you sort the photos will make sure you don't miss any.

Label the tabs of your concertina folder year by year. Leave two blank tabs at the front and two at the back.   Put the list of where your photos are stored in the front – you will be able to check off each one as you bring all the photos together.  Put your photo safe pen, glue and a pair of scissors in the 2nd tabl

Folder tabs: You will probably find that you need year by year tabs for the last 10 or so years, and 5 yearly gaps before that – e.g. 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2000-2004, 1995-1999 and 1990-1994...

Take a photo and QUICKLY write a sentence on the back of about the event, a rough date, and who is in the photo.  Don't get bogged down.  ?June? 1998 Is more use in 10 years’ time than a blank space where you planned to go and look up which month that baby-shower was but didn’t get around to it.

When I am uncertain, I just put??s around the uncertain part of the information – that is instead of Mary Smith, Joe Black and Robin Brown?  I use ?Mary? Smith, Joe ?Black? and Robin Brown 201?2?, to show which parts of the info I am sure about, and which are guesses.

Then tuck the photo into the correct year slot in the concertina folder.

Repeat. It will probably take several sessions for you to go through this task.

Once you have all the memorabilia sorted by year…

Starting with the year before you started using a digital camera*, put the photos and memorabilia into an album. Don't be a perfectionist, don’t obsess, don't get side tracked, just put the photos (and invitations, tickets and anything else you have saved) in rough chronological order, weed out the ones that don’t help tell the story of your life at that time, then stick them in the album with the photo safe glue.

  • I say start with the last year before you did digital photography because there won’t be any question about needing to print out photos.


As you do each page (not at the end or you will have forgotten) write the names, date and brief sentence about the event underneath.  This part will be fun now that you have the photos in order, and a strategy for dealing with them.

Assess how well your album went. Do you feel you have the right size and book format?  Is the book you chose too big or too small (remember you will want to keep it on a shelf - overside books are a pain to store.  If you like it, buy two more, one for this year and one for 'before'.


Now, a year at a time starting with THIS year or LAST year, go through your computer and chose photos to send to the photo shop to be printed. It is much cheaper, greener and likely to last if you print them at a photo shop than at home.

I strongly suggest only doing it a year at a time, otherwise you will just end up with MORE photos hanging around.

Write on the back of each photo as before (just in case you get side-tracked before doing the album).

Now add those printed digital photos to the other items you had have for that year in rough chronological order, and start gluing.

Repeat until you have dealt with the photo backlog. My goal is to do 2 albums every year – this year’s album, and 1 ‘catch-up year’.  As I get further back in time I’m finding I can put several years’ worth of photos in one album, since I didn’t have so many photos before kids and digital photography.




Put a note in your diary every 3 months to have a “print photos” and then a “put everything in the album” session.  It is a fun family task if you get the kids involved with the albums.