Journaling – By Alison K. MacDonald
Tips and Tricks: Gathering and Safeguarding your Journaling ideas
I’m a Mom to 4 kiddos, sometimes guilty of the “That’s so cute, I’ll NEVER forget what he said about such and such” train of thought… only to forget it a few hours later when I go to tell my husband! When I go to scrapbook that fun kiddo page, the story remains… LOST. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Never get caught this way again.
Here’s the easy strategy I use to maintain a “Journaling Box” chock full of tidbits and snippets of our life as a family of six.
First, I bought a small plastic recipe box that included a set of alphabetized cardboard dividers. The box is made to hold 3×5″ index cards. These can be found at office supply stores, but are far less costly at dept. stores. Mine is super-basic and came from the Dollar Store. It has a flip-up lid that snaps shut. And-you guessed it, I also picked up a couple of packages of the lined 3×5″ cards.
* Once home, I printed and added a label to the front of my box. It said “Journaling.” (Seems simple, but that little label made it official!)
* I then used a white adhesive label snipped in half to cover each divider tab’s ABC lettering.
*Next, I thought about the people and things I scrapped about and jotted a list.
*Using my list, I wrote one category on the new label of each divider.
*I left 3 of my labeled dividers blank for later category additions.
A few notes about my system:
*Keeping my categories broad made filing the ideas and retrieving them easier for me. Here’s an example: Rather that filing a pet story under a dog’s name, I simply filed it under the “Pet” category. (With 4 pets, this makes sense.)
Here are the actual categories I have listed on the dividers in my Journaling Box:
Reflections (ie: ‘Welcome to Holland’ essay re: parenting a child who has special needs)
Flowers and Garden
Graphics (ie: clipart, small sketched ideas)
Dairy Queen Cakes (Because the process each kid goes thru to choose their b’day cake design is a sign of their age & current trends)
3 spare/blank dividers
How to use your Journaling Box:
As funny things happen or you have a thought or tidbit to save for later use, jot it down quickly on an index card.
Use abbreviations you’re used to: this makes it faster. I’m a nurse so I use tons of abbreviations that make sense to me!
Also note any ideas for certain photos you think would be appropriate to accompany this journaling.
ALWAYS add a DATE to what you have written.
Then, file the card under the most representative category.
If it definitely does NOT fit into any existing category, you can make a new one using the 3 blank dividers you have at the ready.
If I am in a real hurry, I sometimes slip the new journaling idea card into the FRONT of my recipe box and file it later. (I try not to make a habit of this.)
Do what makes sense to YOU. Your categories and the way you file things will be TOTALLY different from mine. That’s OK. Be sure your Journaling Box categories fit YOUR life and the people/things YOU scrap about.
Once I use an idea from my journaling cards on a layout, I place a red checkmark next to the idea and slip the card into the “Done!” category found at the back of my recipe box. This step is necessary for me because it provides a satisfying visual recognition of the ideas I have journaled.
If your recipe box becomes very full, you may want to start a new one. I have done this by dividing the topics and placing half in one box and half in another. It’s much easier to leaf through the journaling idea cards this way!
I keep a few lined index cards in my purse and on my desk in the kitchen, & a small stack of them right next to my journaling box in my office/scrap room. I have also been known to use bits of scrap paper, the backs of envelopes and yes, those old faithful sticky notes to write my little journaling tidbits on. I file them that way, too, because there’s no time for recopying. Not everything is on an index card, by any means: it doesn’t have to be beautiful to be filed!
The main goal is to safeguard the moments that mean something to you or to those you care about. If you find a funny tidbit written on a gum wrapper in your Journaling Box, and it contributes to a page that sparks memories for those you love, then the system worked. Bravo!!
Keep it up!
~ Alison K. MacDonald
(May 27, 2008)