Today begins my THIRD year doing Project Life®. I don’t claim to be an expert (at all), but using this method of memory keeping has totally changed my life.
I now actually RECORD our stories, rather than tell myself I’ll get around to it. I now actually get photos printed, rather than just letting the files languish on my computer. I now actually take more everyday photos, rather than only getting out the camera at big events.
Before Project Life I had done ‘traditional scrapbooking’ for 10+ years, followed by 7 years of I-don’t-have-time-or-money-to-scrapbook. That’s 7 years of nothing recorded. From about when I got engaged until my birthday 2012. 7 years of who-knows-what-happened. I have half an album from my wedding, one from our honeymoon and one from our vacation the following summer. And that’s it.
Project Life changed that.
I’ve recorded most of 2012 and all of 2013, and I have a solid plan in place to tackle 2014 and beyond as well. I use Project Life for our everyday, weekly stories. And I use Blurb for our bigger (mostly travel) stories.
If you are ready to get started with finally recording those stories, here are my best tips….
How to get started with Project Life®:
Pick a day to start.
That can be today, or your birthday or Halloween or any day at all. Just pick one.
You also will want to decide if you are going to record your life in weekly chunks (what most do), or bi-weekly, monthly, or some other time increment.
I personally love doing weekly because it gives me a place to record little stories and tiny milestones that wouldn’t otherwise have a place (like when we got a manual lawnmower, for example).
Buy the pocket pages (and appropriate album).
This is really the heart of the Project Life method. Use the pocket pages to simplify your memory keeping. You can just use 3×4 journaling cards, 4×6 photos, slip them in and be done. Easiest scrapbook you will ever make.
I recommend choosing only ONE design style for you album (I use Design A). Just to simplify things – so you don’t have decide each week what design to use, and so you don’t have to think about what orientation your photos need to go in to “work” with that week. The fewer decisions you have to make every week the more likely you are to complete the spread.
Gather journaling cards.
This can mean buying one (or three or eight) Project Life Core Kits (or mini kits). Or just a box of 3×4 plain journaling cards (how I started). Or just cutting a bunch of plain/neutral paper to 3×4″ and 4×6″ sizes.
However you choose to do it, you are *far* more likely to continue your Project Life album when you have the needed supplies already ready.
Gather your photos.
I’ve found the easiest thing to do is decide what photos you are going to use in the layout and THEN get only those printed. That way you can be sure you’re not printing a 4×6 horizontal when you really wanted to use it as a 3×4 vertical photo. This also means that your work is almost done once you get the photos AND you’re not spending any more money than you need to.
Decide how you’re going to print your photos going forward (I order them online, which means I am always a couple weeks ‘behind’ putting my layouts together). Having as many decisions made ahead of time will help you make this a weekly habit and actually get these stories recorded.
Taking that first brave step is the hardest. Once you get the first week done, the second will be easier. The third will be easier still and before you know it you will have documented the last 6 months of your life and it will feel like you’ve always done it.
When I first started, I blocked off a few hours every Monday to edit/print photos and put together spreads. Until it becomes habit, try scheduling the time to work on your Project Life. Otherwise you will likely forget, fall behind, get discouraged and find yourself right back where you started.
If embellishing is your style, go for it. But just remember that you can be completely done with just words and stories. Just record the memories. Don’t feel pressured to do anything fancier than that.
Share your layouts! On your blog or Facebook or Instagram or in a forum or even just with your sister when she comes over. This is great for getting encouragement AND the accountability to keep going week after week.
You can also follow the blogs (or Instagrams or Facebooks or Pinterests) of your favorite Project Lifers! Like me! Or Ali or Elise or Megan or Cathy or the official creative team or anyone else you come across who has a style you love.
Get started today!
Remember: The only way to know what will work for you is by actually doing it. Your first few weeks will look different as you get to know your own style, methods and habits.
P.S. *Eventually* I might go back and do the lost years in Project Life format. But they may just stay “lost”