Why I’m Not a Scrapbooker

At least half of you are probably gasping in horror right now–I can hear you wailing from every corner in Blog Land.  Just bear with me.  I used to scrapbook–in fact, I loved it.  Scrappers can be a little, shall we say, militant in their passion.  I was a Scrapbook Evangelist–I thought everyone should be doing it, and I told them so.  But then a funny thing happened:

My third child.

The third child, for me, was the deal-breaker in which things such as personal hygiene and hobbies involving adhesives became a thing of the past.  I gradually fell farther and farther behind in my scrapbooking, even with my pages becoming simpler and simpler.

I had photos stuffed in every nook and cranny in my house.  I was forgetting which child was in which pictures (Dryer babies all look alike).  The months whizzed by, the pictures accumulated, and the scrapbooking supplies moved deeper into the recesses of the closet.  The turning point came a year ago, when I realized I was purposely taking fewer pictures so that I wouldn’t add to my growing stash of pictures.


After some deep breathing, I realized that if I turned in my photo cropper, I would still be a good mom.  If my children’s photos were not decorated with fourteen thousand dealy-whoopers and doo-dads, the very hounds of hell would NOT drag me away.   

And so I purged.  I gave it all away, and I bought these little jobbies instead:


They’re photo-safe (of course…I’m not that reckless!) photo albums for 9.99 at Wal Mart, and the photos slip right in the side.  There is a place to write (In a regular pen!  Oh, the freedom!) a memo about the date, the event, which child it is, etc.  Regular photo albums.  I emerged from my scrapbook bunker amazed to see they even made these anymore. 

And I LOVE it.  The pressure is off.  I was able to catch up on every single photo in my house by devoting a couple of days to the task (working off and on, mostly off).  Best of all, I know that my photos are all in one place, and labeled.  My kids LOVE to sit down and flip through the photos, and you know what?  They don’t miss the fancy stuff at all.

So, my dear scrapbookers, please know that I LOVE to look at your work.  I think it’s a fantastic hobby, and I may even rejoin your ranks someday when the kids are older.  But for now, my photos are safe.  My memories are documented.  And my kitchen floor is free from zillions of little hole-punched stars and clovers.

45 thoughts on “Why I’m Not a Scrapbooker

  1. Dawn says:

    My mom is a scrapbooker and a Creative Memories consultant. But me, I am one of those stuffers. Pictures Stuffed everywhere! My mom is always telling me I need to scrapbook, but with 3 busy boys I don’t have the time!

  2. Amy says:

    Oh girl. I have so much CM it’s sickening. With my third I have given up and I do photo books from Shutterfly. Have you seen these? Upload, add captions and borders, and that’s it. Easy.

  3. Wendy says:

    I feel the same way. I have photo albums and they are nicely labeled. I do little scrap books for our vacations, but that is it. I keep journals for each of my kids and it is hard enough to keep up w/that.

  4. Sarah says:

    Oh, the freedom I feel reading this! I am a once-a-year scrapbooker–that’s all I can handle. I love to take pictures of my kids, but I do the same thing you do–I stick them in albums and put them around the house, where they are actually allowed to touch them! (gasp!!) I think maybe there should be a club for people like us–because true scrapbookers are a little horrified by this 🙂

  5. Nikkie says:

    I’ve always wanted to scrap book, thought about it, even went and looked at supplies. Then I realized that I barely had the cash to get the pictures I loved printed/developed, so I decided to scrap the idea until things turned around! I do have albums, but they’re all empty!!!

  6. Shannon in Arizona says:

    That is TO funny….After my first, my son Bubbee, we started attending a new church. Seemed EVERYONE was scrapbooking…so of course I tried it too. It was okay had more time seemed alittle to much for me sitting that long and a bit costly at times too. But, I continued trying. Then a friend of mine started selling it…hosting parties so I went. Women came in with suitcase looking things on wheels! That was when I noticed it was serious buisness. Then the admin at our church told me she has a whole room dedicated to it…and now our church has stamping and scrapbooking that meets weekly….WOW Well, I didn’t get photo books…I bought photo boxes with sleeves and Mmmmm they are still wrapped in the closet and the pictures are on the floor in a bag…..(sigh) I would pay someone to make me a pretty book….my heart is in the right place, but my head is not….LOL
    Great post!

  7. Mama Darlin says:

    I ended up using most of my scrapbook supplies for homeschool! HEHEH And my photos are still shoved here and there or on CD. I think I am a scrapbookers nightmare! LOL

  8. jessica says:

    I spent the weekend at my cousin’s lakehouse scrapbooking… I am so far behind I am a bit crazy. I understand why you gave it up…

  9. boomama says:

    I’m so not a scrapbooker. I so admire people who are – and I wish I had the patience for it – but I just keep all our pictures on the computer (with back-ups, of course) use my blog as a written scrapbook, and call it a day. And I’m so tempted to say “It works for me” right now, but I think some sort of written blog code says that I must save those words for Wednesdays and Wednesdays alone. 🙂

  10. HeatherW says:

    It’s so weird! I’ve been working on getting all my photos updated in albums this last week. And I’m with you. I use similar albums from WM. With three kids, it’s such a chore to even keep up with getting all the photos developed, picked up, and inserted. I can’t imagine trying to decorate on top of all that! My policy is, as long as I keep negatives/backups archived, I can always do that later. Right now, there’s no option!

  11. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    Oh I get the gasps, too, when people hear I don’t scrapbook either! I have a few friends that are “die hards” and they took me to some Scrapbook nights. About 3 hours and $40 later I had THREE pages done! I am thinking, how in the world will I ever finish with two kids (plus one on the way at that time!) So, all my pictures are on a family website and in neat little folders on my computer. Somedays I’ll occasionaly upload them onto Walgreens.com and pick them up in an hour if I am in the mood. Then they usually stay in a pile somewhere… until I eventually get the motivation to put them in a nice Walmart photo album like yours!

  12. momrn2 says:

    This could have worked for a Wed. works for me… because it is definately a GREAT idea for capturing memories without time, panic, and expense! Good for you!

  13. Kathleen Marie says:

    I can TOTALLY relate. It seemed that after my third child the house fell apart, I fell apart, the organization that I thought I had was completely non-existant. I was also TIRED. By the time I started getting it all together again, my youngest was five and I was pregnant with number 4.
    I did discover that I really, really enjoyed my children, I loved being a Mom and playing and spending time with them became a lot more important than a spotless house.
    Thanks for making me feel a bit normal.

  14. HolyMama! says:

    i need to do that so bad! not that i ever scrapped. ha! i can’t even use scissors well. but that would mean getting the photos off the digital camera and computer, and onto paper first… right? hmm.

  15. Gina C. says:

    I just finished my boys “play/performance” albums this weekend. I’ve got hundreds of photos yet to be cropped (I have yet to scrapbook my 4ths baby album), but I do what I can and I don’t develop my digital photos until I’m ready to put them in an album.
    But I know what you mean. It can be stressful when the photos pile up and freeing when you give it up! I’m not there yet.
    I may look into digital scrapbooking though. I heard it’s easy and quick.

  16. Addie says:

    “If my children’s photos were not decorated with fourteen thousand dealy-whoopers and doo-dads, the very hounds of hell would NOT drag me away.” – Hee, hee, hee! I identify so much with this post!

  17. Katrina says:

    I am so with you! It’s enough of an accomplishment for me to take pictures, upload them, *actually get them developed*, and put them in photo albums. I’m still behind, even with this simplified method of recording my kids’ lives!

  18. Ellen says:

    oh, WHEW! I am so glad to read all these comments from people who don’t scrapbook! I thought I was the last non-scrapbooker in the world!!!!! So glad to hear I’m not. LOL Each child DOES have a separate Ziploc bag, with their pictures, or pictures of value to that particular child, in it, in my cedar chest. For right now, it’s the best I can do! hehe I may very well look into those photo albums at WalMart though, and “organize” a bit further! LOL

  19. Natalie says:

    I set out to scrap the first year of each of my children’s lives. It took me 28 months to finish the first kid’s book. The second kid’s book is half done, and she’s 4 now. And the third kid? Are you crazy?! The Wal-Mart jobber is working just fine, thank you.

  20. Jennifer says:

    I am SO with you. I bought gorgeous scrapbooks for my triplets while I was pregnant, once they arrived I went to shoeboxes for each of my babies and now I have a blog and a REALLY organized digital library. When they head off to school, I am going to pull something together!

  21. Julie says:

    Okay, I’m an avid scrapbooker (with only two children, 12 and 4) and I’ve been scrapbooking for almost 3 years. It’s pretty much the only hobby I have, and I try to partake in it at least once per week.
    I’m not a “militant” scrapbooker (at least I don’t think I am! LOL), but after losing my grandmother to Alzheimers, I STRONGLY believe everyone should record their memories for future generations. If it’s part of an attractive scrapbook layout, great. If it’s written on a sheet of loose leaf paper and tucked behind the photos in the cardboard box, that’s great too. Just PLEASE don’t leave your kids with a mass of photos and no explanation about where they were taken, who was in the photo with them, what happened that day, etc. You can’t take for granted that you will always remember.
    I’ve included a link to a blog entry I wrote a while back about scrapbooking; if you’re interested, just click on my name to read more about why and how I do it.

  22. aggiejenn says:

    I only have one child so far and my goal with scrapbooking is just to do the first year, then normal photo albums like yours after that. Good idea!

  23. Kristin says:

    Thank you. I don’t think I have more than one friend who doesn’t scrapbook and sometimes we get left out, but you know what? I don’t have the clutter, the constant pressure to be doing something and my pictures are safe in on the computer and disks in the fire safe file. My son and I enjoy looking at them on the computer but I am sure kids aren’t going to feel left out if they don’t have scrapbooks of there lives.

  24. GiBee says:

    I used to be a scrapbookaholic…in fact, I was a CM consultant for a few years. Now, I have a whole lot of junk, and no time to scrapbook… Sigh! Mounds and mounds of pictures and memories of in a corner … by themselves. Lonely. Oh well! I have a baby now, and he’s more important. I re-started scrapbooking, and it starts with a digital camera. I only develop what I want, trash the rest. And I try to take close-ups so I don’t have to crop. Just slap ’em in!

  25. Multitasking Mama says:

    Of Paper and Purpose

    Each morning, I stumble out to the den, grab a diet soda (or coffee if I really feel like Ive been run over by a train), turn on the computer to check my email, and then I read the blogs that Ive bookmarked. Its a pleasant way to w…

  26. StephanieG says:

    Shannon…what a great idea…I totally tracked back on this blog, but not sure if I did it right…heh…you can check out my blog for my response though 🙂 THANKS AGAIN!!!

  27. Malissa says:

    well I’m a scrapper and can’t say I’m sorry about it;) I absolutely love it. I do what I like when I like and it’s not any sort of stress at all.
    The only thing I’m doing is disciplining myself to quit spending money on supplies til I make a dent in what I have.
    I too am in the preserve the memories/stories anyway you can. Blogs are great!
    I never realized though how much is lost until I started scrapbooking. Photos of wedding with only a date. No how they met? anythign about their marriage, no stories. And it’s pretty sad.
    Even on a piece of paper somehow get the stories down.

  28. Laura says:

    me too, Me Too, ME TOO!
    I love to scrapbook, I really really do… and I’ve probably finished my son’s first year (he’s now almost 5!) – and I just bought a book for my daugher (she’ll be 2 – though I’ve yet to move her two pretty pink pages out of their safe haven in my son’s book).
    I have a box, huge box, of papers, stickers, stamps, pens, glue – the works – and I found myself buying more & more stuff that was just too cute to pass up, but then I realized I wasn’t using any of it – who has the time??? My hubby began working lots of overtime when we decided for me to quit my night job & be a FT SAHM (at the beginning of my 2nd and last pregnancy) and I couldn’t escape as easily to do my own thing.
    So, I keep the photos on a shelf, high up in our closet, the scrapbooking supplies tucked safely away in a box under our bed, I develop my film when we have the money (once a month or so, I do 2-3 rolls of film)… and when the kidlets start school (4 more years for our daughter, if we don’t homeschool) and I’ve got the house as clean as it can possibly be with two kids in school, then I’ll pull out my stuff and get to work again. I’ll need something to get my mind of those long lonely days, after having two little ones under foot for so long.
    I’m sure I’ll scrap & cry & wish for time to rewind, so I can enjoy all those days that I took photos of…

  29. Supermom says:

    With my first, I was on top of the scrapbooks. With my second, only slightly behind. My third did me in. I haven’t scrapbooked since she was born 19 months ago.
    I haven’t given everything away yet. I’m still holding out hope. One day, I will do it again. I’ll need bi-focals, but I WILL do it again.

  30. Christine says:

    I…think…I’m…gonna…cry. I believe you may have just delivered me from scrapguilt hell. It will be a while before I can part with the small scrapbook shop in my closet, but hey, I only have two kids and one is still 10 months old. So I probably still have a couple of years of scrapguilt to get to the level you are, but this is definitely a start. You rock.

  31. Joy says:

    I, too, am a former scrapbooker. It was taking me like 2 hours to get 2 pages done, and I had 3 kids and was still working on my wedding album. I decided I needed help!! I have since been set free from the guilt of being a non-scarpbooker, but I do enjoy putting the pics in albums like you. Thanks for “coming out of the closet” 🙂 Hundreds, if not thousands of women thank you.

  32. Michele says:

    Shannon, you want to know true freedom and joy? Digital pictures! I did not truly live in freedom until I got my digital camera and now I look at my pictures more often because they are on my hard drive.

  33. Jamie says:

    Never one to have scrapbooked (my one attempt left me feeling like those who do scrap book are sweet but crazy ladies, LOL), I found that my older photoalbum books never stood up to the test of time (though, my baby photos are still neatly bound within my mother’s photobooks, so I think it had more to do with quality?). I discovered beautiful “shoebox” type containers (sold at Joanne’s, for example). I love, love, love them. I chose a different design for each child, and the kids loved to pull out there boxes. The only thing I had to do (yet didn’t) was to write details on the back of the photo. I’m so lazy.

  34. Bev says:

    With 41 comments already you dont need mine, but I was so encouraged by this that I’m printing it out, making a special trip to Walmart for these albums. I’m afraid if I die, unexpectedly of course, the kids will see the shape the photos are in and just toss them all. This is doable. Thanks!

  35. Robin says:

    I loved scrapping, but the amount of money I started spending on it would have ensured my kids future trips to college. So I have used those little albums as well. I get the fun ones for the girls pics and they love to just sit and look through them!

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