Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Simplifying Scrapbooking

I never intended to scrapbook. When my son was born, my mother-in-law had a beautiful scrapbook made for us with pictures from when my husband and I were dating, our wedding, my pregnancy, the birth and the first precious days at home. She also gave me extra pages, stickers, and supplies to continue the scrapbook, so I could make pages for his first holidays, etc. OK, I thought, I’ll document those precious firsts, finish the scrapbook and be done.

Then Christmas rolled around and I got a new scrapbook album as a gift. Hmm. Well, the other one is getting full, and it would be fun to make a few more pages. Now, two years later, I’m an actual scrapbooker. I don’t do it a lot, but I do make pages for birthdays, holidays, the still-happening “firsts” like our recent trip to the zoo, and the like. But how can I pursue this notoriously clutter-filled hobby while still striving toward a simpler and greener lifestyle?

Is it even possible to be a Green Scrapbooker? I think it might be. In the beginning, I bought “value packs” of scrapbooking supplies. Not anymore. I simplified my system to one 4-inch box that perfectly holds paper, stickers, scissors, and glue. I keep a large envelope in there to hold pictures or mementos for pages I’m working on. I also have a large envelope that is sized to hold the 12×12 page I’m working on with its stickers and photos, so I have my current project easily at hand. I don’t buy stickers or paper until I’m ready to work on a specific project, then I plan ahead and buy what I need.

Of course, I do still have a small stockpile of supplies, but I make sure to keep it to what will fit in the box, and I don’t buy more just because it’s on sale or it’s cute. All of my photos are digital, so I don’t print pictures until I’m ready to work on the page, then I plan the page ahead of time so I can print only what I need. My goal is simply to put together cute albums with the minimum of waste and supplies.

I use the scrap paper to within an inch of its life, then recycle the stuff I can’t use. Extra stickers and papers have been going to friends for their use. A while back, I even eBay’ed the rest of the value pack stuff I knew I wouldn’t use. When I do need to buy materials, I look for recycled options.

I know the greenest option would be not to scrapbook at all, but there are ways to do it while minimizing waste and consumption. My son loves looking at his scrapbooks, so I’ll continue adding to them as I have time. I’m always looking for new ways to streamline and “green up” everyday projects so we can enjoy ourselves while still living planet friendly.

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