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.

This post was originally published on July 9, 2006.

64 thoughts on “Why I’m Not a Scrapbooker

  1. Tracy says:

    I’m a scrapbook cheater. For my first child my mom got me a mini scrapbook with all the shapes pre-cut, the stickers picked out, and the words to write. All I had to do was tape everything in the book and add my pictures. I cheated even more with the second child- a got one of those amazing pre-made Hallmark scrapbooks! All I do is add the pictures! Crafty scrapbooks with little effort! : )

  2. Laura says:

    I am going through the same thing right now! I have been scrapbooking for 10 years and I am now officially done. It’s just too much with the 3 kids so involved in activities. Although, I’m having a hard time trying to figure out what to do with the “other” stuff. Report cards, dance recital programs, etc. What does one do with that stuff?

  3. Elizabeth at A Biblical Home says:

    I’m not a scrapbooker either. I really tried, because a lot of my friends would get together to scrapbook and I liked to hang out with them, but it just took too much time and money to complete entire albums–and I don’t even have kids yet.

  4. Tara says:

    I’m with you. I’m with you. I’m with you!!! I have even gotten more lazy with writing in a regular pen. I put the pictures all in the albums, then sit down with MS Word and type out a note about each picture. I then print them all out, cut them apart and slip the slip of paper in the little pocket provided for that purpose. WFMT! 😉

  5. Anna says:

    I aggree – who has the time. My mum stuck our birthday cards in a book each year, report cards etc went in the photo albumn with the photo’s. There was nothing fancy, and we still love it.
    I also wanted to say thanks for your old post about having 4 kids, I’m thinking about starting trying for my first, have every intention of having at least 3 and it’s great to hear it’s not a hassle. Everyone I read talks about how frazzled they are. My mother-in-law had 5 in 6 years, and another “suprise” 4 years later – ALL BOYS! They are all great friends, great guys, and she is an inspiration to me.

  6. Anna says:

    I aggree – who has the time. My mum stuck our birthday cards in a book each year, report cards etc went in the photo albumn with the photo’s. There was nothing fancy, and we still love it.
    I also wanted to say thanks for your old post about having 4 kids, I’m thinking about starting trying for my first, have every intention of having at least 3 and it’s great to hear it’s not a hassle. Everyone I read talks about how frazzled they are. My mother-in-law had 5 in 6 years, and another “suprise” 4 years later – ALL BOYS! They are all great friends, great guys, and she is an inspiration to me.

  7. lisa h. says:

    congratulations! i have never been a scrapper, but it could be my inability to be creative. Target has really cute photo albums as well…hold 200 pics, little place to write memory, just a few extra dollars than walmart.
    i realized that blogging for me, is my sort of scrapbooking, free and no messy cutting or glue.

  8. nicole says:

    No scrapbooking goes on in my house. When I have the free time to do something like that, it is not even close to what I want to do. My kids will grow up and realize that is just not the kind of mommy they had. Hopefully they won’t mind.

  9. lisa h. says:

    I keep all my kids awards, birth announcements, report cards, etc in a nice binder and I just buy sheet protectors and stick it in their “special book”, my mom did the same for me when I was little and I still have it – nice & simple!

  10. Laura says:

    Well you know how much I love this post! I feel exactly the same way and will post about it as well someday soon.

  11. edj says:

    Heck, I’m just impressed you can put photos in albums. Even that is beyond some of us non-crafty types.
    But I have a recommendation for a great read for you: Scrap Everything! It’s a fun novel about an unlikely friendship that develops around scrapbooking and life crises. It moves quickly but the characters are quite well-developed. And, for me, it’s much better to READ about people scrapbooking than to actually DO it 🙂

  12. owlhaven says:

    Sigh….I may need to be taking that step….either that or stop blogging. For me scrapbooking and writing cannot coexist. But I am still coming to terms with that unhappy fact.
    Mary, who has individual scrapbooks for every one of her children— all currently about 2 years behind.

  13. Katiebod says:

    I chuckled outloud at this post…I ventured into the Scrapbooking world with glue stick and archival pen in hand a few years ago and have a couple books to show for it. They’re cute. They’re whimsical. But, then, life hiot me and I realized I was doing it more for the craft and “art” of it rather than documentation. Now, I do digital scrapbooking which still allows me get sort of creative with colors/fonts… but takes 1/100th of the time and involves no cutting, glue…I’M FREE! I also occassionaly post them on my blog and they’re easy to share. Congrats on getting your pics organized. It’s a good feeling!

  14. Karla~Looking Towards Heaven says:

    my OCD kicks in too much when I try to scrapbook… (That is why I enjoy digital scrapping. I can change it whenever and however I want to!)
    But my photos are all still in a box or on the computer.
    ps — lovin’ the new look!!!

  15. Cori says:

    People think I should scrapbook, in fact they buy me scrapbooks and my husband has even bought me scrapbook supplies (romantic I know) and I have to admit I like the idea of scrapbooking and have even bought the supplies myself but I just don’t want the guilt that scrapbooking carries. So it all sits in a box in the basement. You have liberated me, I think I’ll give it all away.

  16. Becky says:

    I have HUGE intentions to do more scrapping someday, but I work full-time, and there are so many other things that I want to do with my free time (quilting, Lost, baking, Facebook, blogging, etc…) that I just haven’t had the motivation. I only have one kid, so it’s doable, but I am a social scrapbooker, and when there is no one around to crop with, I’m less interested.
    Anyhow, it’s good to read about a reformed scrapbooker. It’s good to know that you can move beyond scrapbooking without any guilt.
    psst. Don’t tell my husband. He might start to help me purge my scrapbooking stuff before I’m really ready.

  17. Homeschool Mama says:

    Thank you from releasing my from the guilt that I really should make beautiful scrapbooks. I just don’t have the patience! I have piles of stuff in case I want to scrap, but, I don’t.
    I can’t barely keep up with the kids and school, so this is just not going to happen. I will be in Walmart looking for photos albums like thos Friday when I grocery shop!
    Oh! I LOVE the new look too. My oldest said she loves the colors. So, it’s a hit here.

  18. jenica says:

    i am RIGHT there with you! the third has so been the deal breaker for me. so do you know how the addidition of a fourth baby will mix things up?

  19. Jordan says:

    Amen on the scrapbooking. (Of course, my problem is getting the pictures developed. We have thousands of digital pictures and we haven’t had any printed in over a year.) When did you redesign? It looks awesome!

  20. Stacey says:

    I love it! When I found out I was pregnant this time with our third child I said “But I’m not even caught up on my scrapbook for #2 yet!” It can be very hard to keep up with it!

  21. jessie says:

    I was obsessed with it when my first was a baby, but I realize now that I put atleast $400 into my 90 page book. Thats way too much of both. Now I do digital photography and Im going to have my second sons (and my first now that hes older) pictures printed in professionally bound books, and that will be the end of that mess.

  22. Shalee says:

    Never been a scrapbooker, but really anyone who knows me shouldn’t be too surprised… Not a crafty bone in my body.
    And I love your new look, Shannon. Just beautiful for summer!

  23. mcewen says:

    You said it! Know your limits. I may not have the fancy smancy stuff, but all card boards boxes work for a temporary fix. Glad your floor is clear – that somehow [strangely] always seems to uncloud the mind!

  24. Birdie says:

    Hi, my name is Birdie and I’m a scrapbooker… 😉 However, I must also confess that I have been a complete failure when it comes to being militant about that particular hobby. I tend to have the same relaxed attitude about scrapbooking that I have about blogging and everything else!

  25. Sarah Pinnix says:

    I can’t believe you’ve defected from the SBing ranks!! I recently had my third daughter, and am feeling guilty for not providing her with a bedazzled, stickered, swirly-lettered memoir of her baby years!
    I have pretty much decided that after her baby album, I’ll put it to rest for a while. Thanks for lifting some of the guilt!

  26. Marni says:

    Do you remember the old cheapo photo albums they used to sell, with a semi-sticky page and a clear sheet over it, that would eventually turn the pictures yellow (or at least I think they did). Well, I had several of them I knew I needed to get photos out of but had a hard time throwing the albums away. I ended up using them to store drawings the kids made that I wanted to keep. Yeah, I guess the drawings will turn yellow too, but if I didn’t have somewhere to put them quick-n-easy, they’d either get stashed and spilled on or piled in a remote box or thrown away.

  27. Sally says:

    I am what you might call “craft-impaired” so scrapbooking was never for me. In fact, I am also very disorganized and I still don’t even have my second child’s photo album finished and she is 12 years old!!
    Talk about being behind!!

  28. Deanna says:

    great new look by the way, though I loved the colorful cutesy old one too 🙂
    I am still a devoted scrapbooker…at heart. But its funny, my downfall too has been my third child! I was fine up until he came into our lives! I haven’t scrapbooked but ONCE since he was born 2 and a half years ago!!!
    I too have piles and piles of pictures and have even said, “oh I won’t take pictures right now, I don’t have time to scrapbook them.”
    But I still can’t give it up as you have. I know it could mean freedom, I just can’t give up the notion that my kids need these memories documented for future generations 🙂
    Glad you have come to a good place, maybe I will get there someday too.

  29. melody says:

    Thank you for giving me permission not to scrap, although I want to, it just doesn’t happen. I’m going to Walmart!
    But I’m going to try a little digital scrapbook play. Maybe, if I get around to it. 🙂

  30. Jenn says:

    AMEN!!! I, too, use to be scrapper, but now my supplies are for the occasional card or birthday activity. I think I gave up after child #4 and all my kids look alike, too! Oh, the freedom from guilt I have now!!!

  31. J. Fergie says:

    I totally needed to read this!! right at this moment i have a spankin’ new scrapbook and the required doodads sitting on a shelf in my office at home. and an overflowing box of photos and other memorabilia for “when i have some time to scrapbook.” it’s hard to admit, but i really need to come to the grips with the fact that i ain’t scrapbooking anytime soon. better to just slap those babies in an album and free myself!

  32. julie says:

    You are way up on me. Mine are just all thrown into a very pretty box. The very pretty box makes me feel better than just throwing them into a plain cardboard one. lol.

  33. MamaToo says:

    nice new digs here!
    Scrapbooking intimidates me completely. The creative little comments. The cutouts. The stickers. The papers. The tools! It seems like I’d either have to do it completley, or fail miserably, so I’ve never tried. I’m a traditional album girl, too. Thanks for outing yourself. 🙂

  34. Faerylandmom says:

    I am a scrapbooker, but decided that my ultimate goal is to ONLY keep up on my kids’ books, and my “Romance” book for now. Until the day arrives that my kids actually leave me leisure time, I will probably just make sure I stay on top of organization, which I’m good at.
    You know what? I’m HAPPY you realized that scrapbooking isn’t necessary, and it really does have to be something you can reasonably expect of yourself. Digital scrapbooks and photo-safe sleeve albums SHOULD have more acceptance than they do at the moment. Grats on figuring this out!
    By the way…love the new layout.

  35. Melissa says:

    I’m a scrapbook cheater too- only I do it by being in a page exchange group. We have 10 people and we all make 10 of the same page (takes a lot of the pressure off because you only come up with 1 idea and then duplicate it) we all get together and everyone exchanges. So, you have 10 cute pages with 1/8 of the effort and all you do is add pictures. This has saved my scrapbooks (I’m still a year behind but I’m hoping to catch up this summer!:)

  36. DebiH says:

    I also ended up being overwhelmed after I had my son. It’s hard to have scrapping supplies out and to keep your train of thought from one session to another. I turned to digital scrapping and I’m much happier and more productive. It’s all on my laptop now and I get the layouts printed out for the albums. Works a lot better for me.

  37. Christine says:

    I remember when you first posted this. My 3rd was 6 months old and I had just done the same thing. I went out and bought similar albums and am now pretty much caught up with my pictures, though someday I hope to return to scrapping simply for the creative value!

  38. Carrie says:

    I think this is great! I scrapbook now, and I make all my own cards. I got into it a few years ago, and I love it, but honestly if I get behind and have to send someone a NOT HOMEMADE thank you card, I feel SO guilty! So I’m proud of you for giving up scrapbooking, really! I can’t imagine making all my own cards when I have kids- #1 is on the way- so you may be my inspiration! 🙂

  39. Taunya says:

    Oh boy I can so relate…but don’t know if I can go there. I have to at least get my 3rd ones baby album done. I’m only about 4 1/2 years behind.
    I did do our Disney trip because CM came up with an album where all I had to do was put pictures in and journal a box in the middle. Took me one week and my kids love it. I may just have to give up scrappin.

  40. Tricia says:

    Me too!!!
    I just can’t spend the money on stickers or paper. Just take me to the fabric store and I am in heaven.
    To each his own…

  41. Karen says:

    But you are, you are a scrapbooker!! You are a cyberscrapbooker! I love to write and have started a blog – one with NO bells and whistles ’cause I can’t figure out the html thing – but I’m really struggling. There isn’t enough time to scrapbook, blog AND raise my family. So, one – or all three – are constantly in arrears. But everytime I look at a good, creative blog like yours, I always think, “WOW! This looks like a scrapbook… on my computer screen.”

  42. Lindsey says:

    I used to live in the same town (I recognized the weather forecast in one of your previous posts!) and have some of those same albums (except in dark blue) and I absolutely LOVE them (especially the material and the classic look)! I wish I was more of scrapbooker but I’m definitely a shutterbug so these albums are great for me too. 🙂

  43. Jenny says:

    Wow! Great new look.
    I must say I feel a little better about my stash of scrapbooking stuff that I haven’t done a thing with in at least 2 years. 🙂

  44. Jenn B. @ Who has time to scrapbook?!? says:

    I think I’ll have to follow your lead… Baby #3 was my dealbreaker too! I’m 3 years behind and living amongst boxes of scrapbooking materials. Good for you for finding a method that works for you and for having finished albums to enjoy!

  45. Barbara H. says:

    When I first heard of scrapbooking, I thought, “I can’t even get my pictures into albums, much less decorate around them!” I have only done one scrapbook and I love it and would like to do more….maybe some day. But for now I have years of pictures I just need to somehow get into an easily-viewable mode.

  46. Phyllis Sather says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading all your comments.
    I too switched to digital a couple of years ago. It finally freed me from feeling like I needed to use every photo I took. At the end of the year I take all the photos and put them on a VCD that will play on the TV. We enjoy watching them as a slide show.
    It was also handy for putting together slide shows for graduation parties. They were a big hit at our open houses.
    Phyllis Sather

  47. Lisa says:

    By the time I got to child #4 I couldn’t even keep up with the baby book. One day she is going to ask me, “When did I sit up/crawl/get my first tooth/etc.?”. My answer will be, “Ummmm…the average age…not late, not early…except for sleeping thru the night, which you elected not to do until well after your first birthday. And that is why I was too tired to write anything down, little missy!”
    My goal is to sort my photos into photo boxes and then one day they can make their own scrapbooks/photo albums.

  48. Jaime says:

    I’m impressed that you have hard copies of the photos! We’ve got them all saved in the hard drives, waiting to be put into Shutterfly to make that pretty little scrapbook. Someday it will get done. . .

  49. brietta says:

    I did the same thing– only I switched with #2! #1 child has a pretty cool looking photo album, but I figured the other kids would rather see photos of themselves even minus the fancy layouts rather than not see photos at all. 🙂 I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one!!!

  50. Anne says:

    Whew. I’m so glad you just let me off the hook! I’d love to scrapbook, but not with so many kids..there would be too many photos left out!

  51. Shane says:

    Oh the pressure to scrapbook! While I enjoy it immensely, there’s just no time. That’s why I decided to just do the first year of each of my boy’s lives. It’s full of do-dads and gizmos….chronically the moment they were born right up until the day they turned 1 year old. A lot happens in those 12 short months you know. Then, that’s it. The regular photo albums are good enough.

  52. Teresa says:

    I have 4 kids ages 1 1/2 to 6. I’ve been scrapbooking for 11 years. I’ll never stop. I enjoy scrapping because it’s simple and the kids LOVE their books. I only do it once or twice a month and that’s good with me. I wouldn’t say anyone is caught up, but I try to have their books at least mostly caught up for the birthday parties which is when I set them out to display so others can see just how much they’ve grown. If anyone is really giving stuff away- SEND it MY WAY. I’ll put it all to good use. I host monthly crops at my house too. Whatever I don’t use I give to other women.

  53. Paula says:

    I too quit scrapbooking and took up digital scrapbooking. It takes a whole lot less time. Especially now with premade layouts (ploppers which you just plop pictures into) and templates (which are like sketches you an just plop papers and pictures into). My layouts look MUCH better because there are so many FREE kits out there that I do not have to spend tons of money on everything to make it look nice.

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