Organization 101: The Family Archiver

You have no doubt seen that television commercial for…hummm…I think it’s for a photo printer…the kid is cannonballing into a sparkling blue swimming pool caught mid-air and saying, “Mom, when are you going to get me out of this camera?”  Know the one? 

Well, what have you done to get your kids out  of your camera and into your life? 

Don’t get me wrong.  I know not everyone has the skills,  interest, or time  in laying out a scrapbook to perfection.  You don’t have to.  Let the folks at those Internet photo places do the work for you.

A couple of years ago I was super-resistant to the idea of having a computer-generated keepsake.  “I can do it myself!” I asserted not much differently than a two-year-old. 

And I did — at least in some ways.  I started with trips to Archivers and then to Michaels and Hobby Lobby and ended up spending gobs of money on trinkets and embellishments and pens.  Then I would lay it all out to spend even more–time, now–assesmbling and cutting and what-not, only to have a $500 scrapbook (or so it seemed).  

I stepped down after the last book “cost” me so much.  Then all of those little stickers and pages went unused altogether as I got even busier with parenting two small girls.  I started buying photo books from Target and slipping the 4×6 prints I printed at Walgreens and jotting down a quick caption, “Kate and Kelly, pumpkin patch 2008.”  It was less expensive..and yes, less cute, too. 

Photo books from Shutterfly 

Then I discovered the wonders of Shutterfly ( and I love them!  There are other Internet photo places, too ( and  I have made countless photo books for our family…Birthday books, Preschool Graduation, Family Vacation, and holiday-themed books.  I pick my very favorite photos that represent the event and have Shutterfly assemble them in a photo book in their “Simple Path” program.  Bing!  I have a professionally bound “book” complete with captions that will last a lifetime…and hopefully more. 

How much does all of this cost?  Less than a trip to Archivers.  And I would almost wager less than a $14.99 photo book from Target and the price of prints from Walgreens.  On average, the book costs about $20.00.  More if you add extra pages, more if you get a larger size or a padded cover, etc.  Then add in shipping…

If you become a member of these on-line photo labs (usually free), you often get discounts sent your way via email.  That can save you up to 30%.  Of course, there are always special promotions on shipping…like spend $30 and get free shipping.  So it always pays to order some prints or a photo mug for an upcoming celebration. 

Anyway, it’s worked for me. I also like the way the books take up less bulk than a typical photo album or scrapbook. 

And really, in the long run…I want my kids to be able to look back at these books and know their mom did everything she could to “get them out of the camera and into our lives.” 

The family archiver continues next week with more hints and tips.

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