Memory preservation for the rest of us: the quickie scrapbook

photo by bl0ndeeo2, Flickr Creative Commons

I am not a scrapbooking type of person.  Sure, I enjoy crafty things, but generally don’t have the patience and/or time to dedicate to any kind of craft that’s really involved.  I also feel that the whole scrapbooking INDUSTRY (can you believe it’s an actual industry?  That seems a little weird to me) is a bit much – overpriced paper and funky scissors and stickers that are a little too reminiscent of the grade-school art projects we brought home from school and forced our parents to hang on their refrigerators.

Anyway – I’m not big on the whole scrapbooking thing.  But I do recognize the importance of preserving memories for yourself and your loved ones down the road.  Some of the most precious things I have from my deceased grandmothers and mother are journals, appointment books, calendars and letters they have left behind.  Seeing their thoughts expressed through their actual handwriting brings me closer to them again, and helps me to remember.  I’ve realized, particularly with my mother, that it’s the everyday things that I remember most fondly – the kind of perfume she used to wear, the kind of jeans she always bought, the way she wrote her name, the funny phrases she used to use.  It’s these things that make my memory of her more complete, something past the posed Christmas card or graduation photos.

So recently, I took the advice of Ali Edwards and made a “Week in the Life” scrapbook.  Basically, Ali encourages us to document the everyday, the normal, the small details that make up our life.  And to keep it from becoming overwhelming – just doing it for one week each year.  Cool, huh?  Even I could handle that.  Check out more information, as well as awesome links to others’ “Week in the Life” scrapbooks (most of which are way cooler than mine) at this site.

I decided to document the first week in May, because it was when I celebrated two milestones – my first wedding anniversary with my husband, and my first half marathon.  I kept scraps of paper, lists, mementos from that week, and carried my camera around to capture the everyday moments around our house (pictures of my husband playing endless games of some-game-or-another on the computer, our dog lounging on the couch after dinner, the book I’m currently reading, etc.).  I wrote notes on what I did each day, including the boring stuff (like work meetings, getting a speeding ticket) and some of the more exciting things (finishing the half marathon, celebrating our anniversary with my husband).  I also wrote a note of the things that were stressing me that week, in an attempt to show my future self how most of the stuff that stresses me out really doesn’t matter one year (or likely even one month) after the fact.  I even printed out a screen shot of my Facebook page!  It’s my thought that in 10 or 15 years my not-yet-existent children will look at it as an archaic example of the technology of our day.  At the end of the week, I made a trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a small’ish scrapbook with clear plastic sleeves protecting all the pages, along with enough extra pages so this scrapbook would allow me to continue documenting just one week a year for the next few years.

Putting it together took about 30 minutes – DONE!  The perfect little craft project for me, and a record for future generations of the small details that make up a life in the year 2010.

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1 Comment

Filed under Projects

One response to “Memory preservation for the rest of us: the quickie scrapbook

  1. What a terrific idea! It’s true, the everyday moments are what we miss most. I like the fact it’s like a mini time capsule.

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