My Deep, Dark Secret

Like most people, I got my scrapbooking start in the real world with paper. And I went through a lot of paper. I made quite a few albums before I stumbled on digital scrapbooking. Having come quite far into this new version of the hobby, I've been harboring what I've considered a deep-dark secret: a somewhat extreme resentment of my paper albums.

My paper albums are pretty much the largest thing I own. Taken together as one thing, I am incapable of moving them myself, and also I'm at a loss of where to store them. They are currently sitting in the middle of an extra room. Just sitting there like giant, terrible lurkers, waiting to assault me with their hugeness every time I open the door.

2014-07-31 08.28.02
▲ What is that lurking with all the other cast-offs under a pile of blankets?

Not only are they huge and unmanageable, but frankly at this point in my scrapbooking journey they are quite childish. There is nothing enjoyable for me in looking at them. They are too big to sit on my lap comfortably and they are too ugly for me to want to find some other solution. Now they are simply a reminder of my deep-dark past as a paper user. A giant, lurking reminder.

▲ Even if you actually had muscles, you wouldn't be able to move that box.

I've slowly been working on scanning all the pages. In some cases, those pages are the only copies of photos I have, so they have some pretty important information. And as the scanning has slowly progressed, my attachment to them has been lifting. At first it was painful to admit that I had spent hours working on something I no longer wanted. And the guilt of that time made me keep holding on. But, as I've started to create digital copies, I've been feeling more free to finally remove them.

At first, I was considering just dumping them in the recycling, which despite any freeing progress I had made, always seemed to be dramatic and sad. But then it slowly occurred to me that I could remake them. My fingers have been itching to make some real, paper mini albums (a concept I was never aware of when I was doing paper), and here I have hundreds of photos just waiting to be used again.

In probably the most prophetic moment of my life so far, a long while back, a friend's mom, who was very familiar with my scrapbooking habit, told me that someday I'd be remake all my scrapbooks. I remember clearly thinking how wrong she was, and how I was making these to be enjoyed by myself forever and ever. Shows what you know as an eighteen year-old.

The more time I spend creating, the more I realize my true love is for the process of creation. And while the end product is important, it's not the only thing to be cherished. In fact, the terrible lurkers had lulled me into a paralyzed state where I was completely terrified to make anything new because of the implications of having to keep it forever and ever. But now I've realized the fun part is making it, then enjoying it as long as I want to, then finding something new to do with it. The fun is in the journey after all.

Am I alone in my (no longer) closet resentment of giant, paper albums? Do you hang on to everything you've created?

Recent Comments

Helen Darkfield
Helen Darkfield Wed, 01/27/2016 - 19:03

I started from the other side: first, i tried some digital scrapbooking, but inn the future i will make some nice real albums :)

Marie Hargis
Marie Hargis Fri, 08/15/2014 - 22:22

I will admit that I have only read Marisa's and Diana Somer's post but for me Diana hit it on the nail. I still love my paper albums and will keep they for future generations to enjoy. As I start to learn digital there is a freedom to do and redo until I am happy that comes easier with digital than traditional paper. I still love doing paper pages and probably always will but am having fun in the pursuit of digital items and playing with them. I know for myself it will take me longer to be happy with my digital pages than it did with paper one partial because of knowing that I can change it much easier so that is actually a double edge sword for me.
I do not have them but have access to some pages that my grandmother did and I love looking at those wonderful memories of family that I have never known. My grandfather died when my mom was only nineteen and seeing her with him is a treasure in my life.

Diana Somer
Diana Somer Sun, 08/10/2014 - 09:38

Like many I can relate to your post. I am still between paper and digital. I do some of both.
I too have old albums that I dislike and yet there are those pages I love. I was sad to read that you felt guilty about the waste. I have loved the time the I have spent on the creative process and the time I have shared with friends and family in either the process or enjoying the contents of the albums. Now my grandchildren, nieces and daughter-in-law are also enjoying these books. Makes me smile each and every time an album is opened. Lots of smiles, laughing and "remember when...", "is that you??"
I had good laugh as you talked about redoing books - done some of that too and had a good chuckle looking at that old layout "what was I thinking"?.
I am enjoying the digital world - flexibility, lighter, more options at a lower cost... but like the cookbook my grandma wrote her notes in, my paper albums will always be a treasure. They show where I started in keeping my memories recorded for my family and serve as a reminder of how important the people, not the design of each page is.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. it has reminded me why I do this enjoyable craft why I enjoy this site.
Have a great Sunday

Deanna Patterson
Deanna Patterson Fri, 08/08/2014 - 07:34

I love your post! It is so true. I have a stack that I don't know what to do with. My paper scrapping supplies are minimal compared to other paper scrapperholics, but what I do have just takes up space. I love the freedom of having my layouts on my laptop. One laptop with tens of thousands of files is so much easier to haul around than those 12x12 scrapbooks that gather dust no matter where I put them.

Sharon Walden
Sharon Walden Thu, 08/07/2014 - 15:36

Marisa, I loved your post! I think we are all guilty of "saving" in one way or another. I know I certainly am. I never paper scrapped although I always intended to. Fortunately, I never purchased any of the supplies so I don't have to worry about getting rid of those. I have done a lot of paper crafting, though, and I have a ton of fancy edge scissors that are neatly stored away in case I ever need them. LOL! Actually, my paper crafts are what led me to digital scrapbooking and eventually to designing. I make my layouts 12x12, but if I am going to print them I reduce them to 8x8 or 6x6. I find the smaller albums are easier to handle and don't take up a lot of room on a bookshelf. I also enjoy creating "shaped" albums digitally and then printing them out and adhering them to the corresponding shaped albums available at craft stores or old CDs/DVDs.

And Teresa Taylor, I understand how you must have felt losing your scrapbooks. I live upriver from New Orleans and Katrina was just so devastating to so many. You were so lucky to have been able to save so many of your photo negatives. I am glad that you have discovered digital! For me, too, it is the only way to preserve photos and scrapbook pages!

Teresa Taylor
Teresa Taylor Thu, 08/07/2014 - 14:31

I guess I had it easier although it was hard. I lost all of my traditional books when we flooded in Katrina. After that, I did a few paper pages, but just couldn't get the mojo back. Plus I had hundreds of negatives -- not to replace all of my pictures, but still hundreds and I was able to get them digitized. It would cost me a fortune to print all of those pictures, although I did many of them when I thought I would be able to do paper again. Since I turned to digital, that is all I do. And I love it. Being able to crop and then resize pictures as well as do all of the special effects you can do with digital, well, there is no other way to scrapbook!

Mersija (Mer-see-ya) Simon
Mersija (Mer-see-ya) Simon Thu, 08/07/2014 - 12:39

LOL,that pic of you cracks me up big time.
I also have albums,not as many as you do tho and that's because i stated paper scrapping much later then you did.I was in my early thirties and then i didn't really have has much time to focus on this beloved hobby,once my children grew and were into my scrapping booking items,i had to put it away,besides the children i had no room for my collection as i had a large amount of scrap booking items,which all went into my closet and that's where it stays for know.I don't do very many digital layouts,i just haven't found the time for this,actually i know that,if,i start digital scrap booking it will take over my life.
If you decide to keep your albums,you can always purchase bins that can fit under your beds,that can be an option.I can't imagine ever getting rid of my albums,this will be something my children and grand children will enjoy holding and looking at.
Make sure you really want to get rid of them Marisa,before you actually do it.

Tina Shaw
Tina Shaw Thu, 08/07/2014 - 12:34

LOL!!!!! Wait...LOL some more!, too. And right now, I have every intention on ditching the paper for digital as soon as I can recreate them! :) Wait...LOL A LOT MORE! :D

Carla Cooper
Carla Cooper Thu, 08/07/2014 - 09:15

You are NOT alone as evidenced by ALL of the comments!
I too have numerous paper albums that I'm trying to find something to "do with". I have scanned a number of them, but that is SO tedious. I find myself avoiding it. Do you have any great inspiration for a fast way to scan? Ah well... I'll keep at it until it's done. I too have been remaking some of the pages as I need to use them for other projects too. Now that's inspiration. Thanks for sharing what so many of us veteran scrappers have felt.

Sheryl Gibson
Sheryl Gibson Thu, 08/07/2014 - 09:12

Marissa - I feel your pain! I have over 50 huge paper scrapbooks that I LOVE, but HATE the space they consume. I have 2-3 bookshelves full. We do look at them occasionally, but I can't imagine where they will go when I downsize (which will be soon!) Thanks for sharing the deep dark secret so many of us are harboring! Any advice on scanning 12x12 pages? I only have a small scanner.

Rita Lai
Rita Lai Thu, 08/07/2014 - 08:30

Marissa, I too can relate. I have my paper scrapbooks, but I look at them and see myself progressing through my stages in scrapbooking. And yes, there are definitely pages that I would like to do over. So thanks for the great idea. I think I will. Now I just have to find the time. But what do I do with all the things I have accumulated for paper scrapbooking - yes, I have like so many others hoarded many supplies in the hopes that I will use this for this perfect page for this occasion etc. that of course I never did. lol so many ideas so little time. One day... Thanks ladies, you are all an inspiration.

Susan Curtis
Susan Curtis Tue, 08/05/2014 - 22:13

Marisa...I can relate to how you're feeling about those heavy, cumbersome 'real' paper albums of yours. I started as a paper scrapbook person, but just within the last few years I've swung over to the digital realm. I really enjoy it and so do the people I make digital books for. However, I must admit that I still get my older scrapbooks out and look through them and enjoy the different type of dimension that they offer. In all honesty, I have an unfinished paper album for a six-week Hawaii/Australia/New Zealand trip that we took for our fortieth wedding anniversary (and that was in 2008!) Plus, I have a heritage album about my father-in-law and his early years that I'm still saying I'm going to complete. I used to be into all genre of crafting, but one morning I woke up and decided most of it was not for me anymore. Things like paint, glue, glitter, wood, etc. I donated to our local children's museum that has a craft area. However, scrapbooking, both paper and digital, has remained with me and I'm not sure I'll ever get tired of the paper ones...but, who knows, maybe someday. Love your site, your stories and your kits.

Meg Bertapelle
Meg Bertapelle Tue, 08/05/2014 - 12:13

oh Marisa, I just love you - what a brilliant idea to scan them, and then make something you will love with the photos/stories you've rediscovered!!! I can totally relate to what you're talking about for sure - I haven't really ever paper-scrapped, but I am a knitter, and there are definitely finished projects I have agonized over what to do with them when I don't love them (ever, or anymore). GREAT idea :) and good luck!

Donna Bell
Donna Bell Tue, 08/05/2014 - 06:43

A mental or emotional solution that you may offer yourself is thinking of your hard-to-manage albums in much the same way as old clothing or shoes. They served their time and your attention while you were making them and for perhaps years after. Now you have new ones making it easier to let go of the old. A fine meal is only truly enjoyed when it is prepared, consumed and cleaned up. It is the memory that is important. Keep the most treasured for your mini albums, they will become even more cherished than before. Just my thoughts. Anything we leave behind becomes a problem for those who come after, who no doubt have enough of their own!! LOL

Lizzy Janes
Lizzy Janes Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:41

Thanks so much for the idea to remake my paper scrapbooks! I am still an avid paper crafter, but not at all a scrap booker any longer, but it sounds wonderful to update some of my old pages. The photos of my children as babies and toddlers are precious, but the pages could sure use some modernization.

Annu Salman
Annu Salman Mon, 08/04/2014 - 04:49

oh Marisa do people who hang out together go thru the same mental situations as well :)
I never tried hybrid scrapping, always didgital scrapping, but for some time now I have been thinking about redoing some of the old pages I did, I mean I was happy and still am because I never used any of the designer stuff, I made all me papers and elements even back then, but I had absoulutly no idea of the resolutions! yes some of them are 500x600 pixels, pixels! it would be no use printing them! but I dont know weather I'll be deleting them, but then again maybe I would! :)

Jess Townsend
Jess Townsend Sun, 08/03/2014 - 01:02

I used to hang onto everything, but now I scan it in

Amara Van Lente
Amara Van Lente Sat, 08/02/2014 - 19:50

I am in the process of redesigning all of my paper scrapbooks. It is such a long process. I don't know how I am going to finish my whole life. LOL

Dawn Evans
Dawn Evans Sat, 08/02/2014 - 12:30

Daniela I also have all my son's artwork etc from playschool onwards!!!!! Yep - some major boxes and ... shhhhh ... he's 24!!!!!!!!!!!! I have started photographing each piece - so much quicker than scanning when the original is hardly high def LOL - and even when I have a digital "copy" I find it hard to bring myself to part with all those happy hours :) I'm a hoarder!!%%&*$ As for craft - I make cards not scrapbooks which I tend to give away or sell for charity anyway but i have Boxes and boxes of "materials" (plus a substantial section of hard drive) and I do photograph almost every card as I finish it. I'm beyond hope.

Poodle Dabbert
Poodle Dabbert Sat, 08/02/2014 - 06:42

My deep dark secret..... I bought so much paper scrpbook stuff... I had to move it all to a friends garage.. Shelves, boxes, and more boxes...machines, tools-punches-stamps-stickers and more. She has it all in her garage.
We were supposed to get friends together and make books..which I told everyone I would donate all the stuff they needed because I had an OCD problem in collecting all you'd ever need for a scrapbook. Including the books and paper protectors.
Now, if that's not bad's the kicker. I NEVER MADE A SCRAPBOOK and I couldn't get anyone to come over and scrap with me. Now most of us have grown kids. I've got a grandson, but his Mom is Bhuddist and doesn't believe in taking pictures! OMG... but I love digital scrap! I still have loads of pictures that I should do something with...from trips all over the world. Now, I just collect all the PNGs and JPEGs and have everything filed neatly in a 128GB flash. It's almost full. The strangest thing is... it makes me happy just to have the stuff organized. To each it's own. Thanks for all the wonderful items I receive here.

Nadia Slegers
Nadia Slegers Sat, 08/02/2014 - 01:39

@Judy: you could scan the cards, then you could use them digital, alter them etc.

I never have scrapped in paper. But I did make a album when I was 12 or something with make-up tutorials and fashion things of that time. I still have that one. For scrapbooking: I like to play op my PC better, it's faster and I like the process better then the results. It's like Marisa said, it's the journey that counts. Brave to go and clean your albums, I think I could not do that.

J.ajabad Abad
J.ajabad Abad Sat, 08/02/2014 - 00:02

Well, I'm a bit of a pack rat so much of the time I do keep everything I make. I still paper scrapbook, occasionally. I seem to gravitate toward pretty (vintage) paper. So I've started scanning my papers so I can use them digital or in paper products. The "ghosts" in my creative closet have a tendency to be "to finish projects" especially my art journal and tag journal. I keep my pieces as a reflection aid and learning device. Sometimes I still get cold feet when I begin a creative endeavor but it's about the journey as much as it is about the funished project. And sometimes that journey sprouts a fork in the road. Or a deadend. When the deadend happens I attempt to "recycle it" and paint over it. Lol!

Susan Cantin
Susan Cantin Fri, 08/01/2014 - 16:38

No, you are not alone although the books I kept were much simpler and in actual scrapbooks and they have been since dismantled to a point. But wait ... what is that lurking on the shelves of my she-cave???? First learning quilts that I can't bear to part with and they take up a lot of room on the shelves....No, you are not alone as far as having ghosts from times gone by ... I just wish I had the bravery to do what you are doing and letting go :)

Tiffany Sylvester
Tiffany Sylvester Fri, 08/01/2014 - 15:55

That's part of the reason I switched to digital scrapbooking. Those huge binders for the paper scrapbooking weigh a TON. Every time we move I have to remember to only put one
per box otherwise no one will be able to pick the box up. I have been slowly scanning them in the be redone as well :)

Lisa Sorensen
Lisa Sorensen Fri, 08/01/2014 - 10:35

You are definitely not alone. I too have many of my original albums and have been thinking about re-doing them. Not only are they old, but it is so funny to look at them and see how I did them with only the tools I had back then. Now I have so many more things digitally and my wonderful Silhouette cutting machine, that it is about time they need to be redone. My daughter In Law laughs and tells me that they are your history, and fun to look at the old way of scrapbooking, but to me they just look like they were done by a very young and challenged me. So I will be doing new ones, updating them and making them much more fun to look at. Definitely time to clean up.

Daniela Bonesso
Daniela Bonesso Fri, 08/01/2014 - 07:30

This is my first comment ever, yay!
I enjoyed your blog post so much, the second photo is really funny and you have a great sense of humour.
I first came into contact with Scrapbooking on the historic side of it, Victorian scrapbooks are gorgeous and fascinated me. Imagine my surprise when I did a search for scrapbook on Pinterest :)
I am having the same problem with paper but regarding my kids artworks, I bought some big filing boxes and I am going through the arduous process of sorting garbage from keepers, and then hopefully I am going to scan them and print some nice albums, but it's been overwhelming.
But I totally agree with you, the creative process is so enjoyable and amazing, cheers!

Valeria parsons
Valeria parsons Thu, 07/31/2014 - 22:15

No way hanging on to everything you do!!!!
That´s carrying a very heavy weight on the shoulders.
Coming from the fine arts, and painting very big pictures 2meters x 2, I throw away hips of stuff every now and then. It´s painful but liberating at the same time.
What you chuck away, lives room for new thing to come!!
What really feels fantastic, as Marisa says, is to find the right purpose to recycle thing.
Just a few weeks ago, I cut out a big oil painted canvas into small pisses, and they will be incorporated into my mini albums, mini books, and art journals.
By the way, everything is “MINI” never understood those oversize scrapbooking dimensions.
Glad to hear from Marisa as an experienced scrapbooker, that big size is uncomfortable.
----- And I agree 100%: ENJOY THE JOURNY of creating!!

Robyn Denton
Robyn Denton Thu, 07/31/2014 - 21:42

Well, I've never done paper scrapbooking, so I don't have your exact problem, Marisa. I used to do cardmaking, though, and I have a MASSIVE stash of products that I may never use again, but I don't want to throw them out just in case I ever feel the need to get stuck into the scissors and glue again! Of course, a lot of it is just too pretty to throw out or even donate to charity, so that's another organizing nightmare that awaits me! Currently, I rent a storage shed for all the stuff I can't fit at home (but it's not just craft stuff, there's a lot of other things in there, too!)

Oh, dear..............

Sharon Adkisson
Sharon Adkisson Thu, 07/31/2014 - 19:36

Yes, I do hang on to all my old albums, paper scrapping and pre-scrapping albums. I have had some photos scanned, some slides printed, some videos digitized, but I don't want to let go of any of them! My daughter and grandchildren look through them from time to time, and I do too.

Brandi White
Brandi White Thu, 07/31/2014 - 18:24

I have recently been re-doing my "senior book" from my final year of high school. It was in a HUGE wooden book my dad made for me, and I love the book itself, but the pages inside were childish and poorly made. I'm slowing scanning in bits and pieces and I'll have a book printed at some point that will take up considerably less space. :)

Beth Bayer
Beth Bayer Thu, 07/31/2014 - 18:14

I too have physical scrapbook albums that I feel take up too much space in my house, but, EVERY time my grown children come over, they grab them and look through them. There are trips that my husband and I have taken without the kids that they enjoy seeing pix of, but most of all it is the pictures of themselves and/or their children/spouse that they look for. It says a lot that we (the collective we) have treasured them enough to make elaborate pages of them (the pixs & people) and spent our private spare time to do it. Consider giving the albums to your sister-in-law or Mother. Do you have nieces or nephews that would enjoy them? One man's (or chick's) trash is another one's treasure. xoxox Beth

Tiffany Johnstone
Tiffany Johnstone Thu, 07/31/2014 - 17:46

You go girl!
I've had the same thoughts about my paper books.
My only hope is that someday my children will enjoy looking at my childish antics.
(long after they're old enough to be influenced by them :) )
I have all sorts of supplies for mini-scrapbooks, my latest craze has been collecting all of the smash book accessories that I'll never use. I tell myself I'll give them to the kids when they're old enough so they can start their own scrapbooks.

My biggest deterrent to mini books is that I feel like I don't have enough important things to say to make them impactful. When you're limited on size and space, you have to make sure you documenting the most important stuff, you know?

Judy Daino
Judy Daino Thu, 07/31/2014 - 15:22

I have to admit that I've never done paper scrapping so I can't say that I've been tempted to throw any albums away. That being said, when my mom passed away in 2012, I found a HUGE scrapbook she had with some photos but mainly old greeting cards in there. Needless to say, this book was probably put together in the late 40s, early 50s. The greeting cards are kind of weird looking but I don't want to throw them out. I didn't even know she had this book. I was thinking I could create a new scrapbook of some sort to preserve the cards. It is now 2 years later and I still haven't thought about what to do with them and still do not want to part with them. Maybe you or someone who responds here might have some ideas on what I might be able to do.

I think creating mini albums is a fabulous idea for you and then you can store them on a shelf out in the open for you and all to see. Not sure mini albums would work for me but I know you have all sorts of ideas floating around in your head so you may have a light bulb moment for me too.