With the beginning of the new year comes big decisions for Project Lifers – whether to continue documenting everyday life in Project Life for another year, using what method, in what size binder, or in what format. This year I noticed a lot of people online making big changes, just as I was also thinking about making a big change.
I’ve printed photos and stories from our everyday life for the last 2 years. I call it Project Life even though I don’t use official Becky Higgins PL branded products. But I have been following along in the spirit of the project, just in a more compact format that worked better for me. I did PL weekly and usually represented each day with a photo and/or a story, often with a little weekly overview card to cover what was missed in the photographs. I didn’t use pretty “filler” cards because I devoted my entire spreads to photos and stories, and (eventually) I found it easier to make my own simple templates to print a photo with space for a little typed story below it, abandoning embellishment. I worked on this project every Monday afternoon, almost without fail, for 2 years, and I now have 4 fat little binders full of memories, plus a 5th one full of Christmas.
And that’s awesome! But am I going to do that forever? I love the idea of documenting the everyday, but I don’t know that I need that much detail of every year. I like doing special projects like the 30 Days of Thankful and the Week in the Life projects I did last year. I like the December Daily project that I didn’t have time to complete in 2014. And I’m excited to do a couple of new projects this year, both run by Ali Edwards – One Little Word, and the Story Kit subscription – I signed up for digital products, but the real value in this product is the mini workshop each month. (links to all of these projects below)
I had considered doing PL again this year in a 9×12″ format, a new size that has been promised but which no one actually has stock for yet… It’s compatible with 4×6″ standard photo sizes which makes it very appealing, but the binder still sounded a bit too big. Letter size (8.5×11) isn’t as easily compatible with photo sizes, but I bought a binder and liked that I could print things on regular paper or cardstock without trimming, and that I could make the same little cards that I’ve been making, just slightly smaller, and have a whole week on one side of a page, a fortnight per spread. I also have some templates for layouts. And since I print at home I can print and trim photos any size I want.
One Little Word is designed to be housed in an 8.5×11 binder so I was starting to think that maybe I could combine PL and OLW into one binder. Then I wondered whether I could put everything into one binder, all the various projects I might do this year.
So I think I’ve decided what I’m going to do. I’m going to ditch the weekly documenting. I will print photos out to add to pockets as I feel like it – when I have a photo or a story that I want to include. I won’t stress about how many pockets I’m taking up per week, but I think it will be less than 9 (i.e. one side of a page). I can print out a little title card at the beginning of each month and/or make a little journal card with a month in review (if I feel the need, depending on whether I tell a lot of stories or just put in random photos). I like the discipline of working on this weekly, but I think I will be able to let that go. I’m OK with not “keeping up” with PL this year. I’m OK with not really doing it at all.
What I want to do is the other stuff:
- occasional “currently” pages – a quick little list of what we’re watching, listening to, eating, working on, loving, and so on. I always have trouble narrowing this down to one thing for each category, but I can imagine doing a page where I have a card for each category and list a few things or tell a short story
- book covers and movie posters with or without short reviews
- a few story-based layouts each month prompted by Ali’s kit
- maybe finally telling some of the older stories that I’ve been thinking about catching up on (specifically the university stories, although I’ll probably put those in a different binder)
- a Day in the Life and a Week in the Life project (maybe once each, maybe a couple of times) during the year to catch the details of the routine/everyday life aspects of our life
- a themed layout here and there showing some aspect of how we live – I’m not sure what topics I might want to do, but maybe something showing each room of our house, or what’s going on in the garden, what I’m wearing (for Project 333), or something about work/the business.
- instagram photo projects, like the August Break one I did last year.
- One Little Word pages (I’ve already done the January pages)
- 30 Days of Thankful
- and December Daily in some form.
I’m pretty sure a binder full of all that will be just as good if not better than another year of the PL. I think I can keep up with that and I think it will all fit into one album. It’s pretty flexible so I can add things in and leave them out as the year progresses and I see what works. The good thing is that I’m used to taking some time every Monday afternoon (or thereabouts) so I am in the habit of doing something – I’m just changing up what that something is. Any memory keeping is good memory keeping. FutureJo isn’t going to complain that I didn’t document Jan 4th 2015, she’s just going to be happy to remember which books I was reading when the year began.
(I also have a new planner which has space for me to document what I’m doing each day. I have online memory keeping venues like Facebook, Instagram, and this blog. Each has its own particular focus and its own strengths and weaknesses. I also make a photo book at the end of each year which helps me tell the story of the year (for myself and my family). I’m probably documenting my life more now than I ever have. I have a strong need to print out my favorite photos and include them with my day to day doings, but I think I have a plan for including photos into my planner in a small way too – more on that later if it works.)
I’m making vague plans to schedule my days a little bit better – giving myself specific times for reading, walking, and crafting. I might even manage to blog more steadily! You never know…
Thanks for stopping by,
PS. If you’re interested in other approaches, check out these other bloggers’ thoughts on PL 2015: From Life Out Loud, Kelsey’s now outdated plan with links to several other bloggers, and her new plan. Cathy Zielske’s plan. Leslie Ann Harvey’s complicated simple plan and how it’s actually going. There are many more, but these influenced me the most.
PPS. I just got a sweet letter from my dear friend Emily and she’s decided to start making books of her family’s lovely life and I’m so happy for her. She’s like me, excited to record EVERYTHING! Good luck Em!
I always love seeing other peoples plans for documenting life. There really is something to fit each person’s style! Congrats on this new format and I hope you love it!