{Intentional living} realistic memory-keeping

I’m old-school with photos while (I hope) still embracing the technology. I Instagram as much as the next person but I also print photos for real albums.

I print holiday (vacation) photos but I also do individual albums for each baby child, one album of them together and a Project Life album. And when the mood takes me, I print albums of my favourite photos (my weird photos, as I call them), almost a coffee-table photo book.

People have asked why I don’t do photobooks rather than albums and my answer is very simple – I’ve done 4 photo books over the last few years and they actually take me longer to do, are more expensive, and you can fit in fewer photos (usually). More important than that, the designing part makes me super crazy. Seriously, life is to short (for ME) to do photobooks.

I often get comments when I talk about MY memory-keeping process, like…

  • How do you find the time?
  • I wish I was as organised as you are.
  • I wish I could do the same!
  • My Project Life is so behind. One day when _________, I’ll have the time to do it again.


There are two thoughts I have on this topic.

1. Is it really a priority for you?

I don’t mean that in a bad way but is it really a priority for you? Be honest. Or do you wish you were that person who did these things?

My friend, Laura, the Organising Junkie, has often said over the years how she accepted the fact that she’s not a scrapbooker. She wanted to be, but it didn’t work with her personality so she got rid of the scrapbooking stuff and is happier for it.

If memory-keeping really is a priority… really truly honestly… beyond Instagram, then you will make the time for it.

And if it’s not, then own it. Accept that your priorities are work, kids’ day-to-day, relaxation in other forms, and please don’t feel guilty.

which brings me to my second thought.

2. How much time do you realistically have?

You’re right when you say you don’t have time…. if you’re got other priorities in your life at this point.

The reason I have (and make) time for my photo albums and such is that I don’t watch TV or DVDs. In fact, Dion teased me when we went to see Philomena the other weekend. He said, “wow, we’re on a roll. This is the second movie this year and it’s only May”. That’s true.

When a season of The Amazing Race is on TV, it actually still shocks me that an hour a week can throw off my rhythm.

Most people are not as extreme as I am and so most of you do watch TV, DVDs and so on. I probably spend about 5 hours a month on my photos – taking, deleting, organising, printing and putting in albums. So if you only have two hours a month, then recognise that what you can realistically do is going to look a lot different from someone who spends more time on it than you do.

I’ve linked to Pink Ronnie here before. She’s an AMAZING memory-keeper. You will be inspired!

Warning – don’t go reading if you already feel overwhelmed and this IS a priority for you.

I started feeling a bit of envy once and then I stopped myself, because the truth is I don’t want to do as much as she does otherwise I would have done it. I certainly have the time management capabilities.


Back to some examples of being realistic:

  1. I knew that a weekly Project Life was unrealistic for me so I do a monthly album. 6 – 8 photos and it’s done. The whole thing takes me about 30 minutes every month, and most of that time is the choosing of photos. I’m also a very “simplistic” Project Lifer. A friend takes about 4 hours a week doing the most beautiful spreads. That wouldn’t work for me.
  2. I don’t stress too much about choosing an equal number of photos of each twin for their individual albums. Realistically, on any given day, one is more co-operative than the other so obviously that child will have more photos 🙂 But I do cap it at max 8 photos per month. Most times I only print 4 per child per month unless we went on a holiday, or they had a birthday/ Christmas. Sometimes Kendra will have 4 photos and Connor will have 2, and that’s just fine.
  3. If you have a lot of children and not much free time, maybe the best option is to just get one photo a week or month.

Remember, it’s all about what works for you.

That’s being realistic.

Please tell me how realistic you’re currently being about your time constraints.

If you’ve gone through a mindset change, I’d love to hear more.

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  1. I totally agree about finding what works for YOU and YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW. In 2011 I completed a project 365 (one photo a day) and, even though I cheated sometimes, I’d say it was 98% “real” P365. The next year I stopped in May and I switched to a Project Life-type project. I completed my book in March 2013. Last year I quit the strick P365 in fall, and I’m still working on the last weeks. Hopefully I’ll get my book done before half of 2014 is gone. And so far this year I’ve only completed a couple PL pages and I plan to catch up whenever I feel like it.

    All that babbling to say that I don’t feel guilty about “cheating”. There’s no memory-keeping-police that will put me in jail if I do! I’m perfectly happy with recording my thoughts in my diary app, taking pix with my phone and my “big camera”, posting stuff on social networks, messaging apps and texts… All that will be my scrapbook even if I don’t create a “real” photobook for the year!
    Chloe recently posted..Silver Fever freebie – part 3

    • Marcia Francois says

      YES to everything. Don’t ever feel guilty. Be realistic about what works for you and let the rest go 🙂


  1. stockings

    Intentional living realistic memory-keeping

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