It really helps to go through your pages and plan them ahead. Sometimes I use sticky notes on my actual album pages to write notes to remind me what order, theme, idea I'm using from a publication, etc. Then I put the stack of photos I'll be choosing from in a zip-lock baggy with those photo album pages. I stack them just like they would be organized in the album, and then I place them in a photo box that's designed for photo album pages. Everything's ready to go when I finally get a chance to settle down and start scrapping. Also, it's so important to journal your album pages. You might use a combination of the photojournaling suggestions, or stick to one, depending on your personality, available time, etc. Digital cameras, the internet and computer have all revolutionized scrapbooking. Now everything can be done by the click of a button. This makes journaling a breeze!
I used this information from Melinda Dye to get started back in 1995:
1. Collect all of your photos and memorabilia into one spot. Look in old photo albums, drawers, hope chests, baby and wedding books and relative's homes.
2. Put photos in chronological order and/or events: Weddings, baby books, high school years, special trips and growing-up phases. Sort your photos by putting them in stacks that resemble years, then sort into months, seasons, events or outings. Use envelopes from the developer, rubber bands and Ziploc bags to keep photos and memorabilia in order. Slip in the memorabilia (cards, brochures, ticket stubs, etc.) where it belongs, or it will be forgotten.
3. Next, collect cropping tools (templates, trimmer, scissors, pen, etc.) into one place. Crop all of the photos for several pages or for one time period, but keep them in order (this may seem risky but this is the key to doing it fast). Lay out the photos by month or event. Next, see if you want to do something special with them and how many pages you want to devote to the theme.
4. Collect supplies and tools into one spot (I set up a card table in my living room where the kids play; they can see me, but don't need my full attention). Sometimes it is helpful to put tools in a basket or large bowl for easy access. You can separate colored paper in an accordion file folder and stickers can be divided by themes in Ziplock bags. The key to getting lots done quickly is having easy access to photos and supplies.
5. Take every free minute during the day to work. Get up early and stay up late when there are fewer interruptions. At the end of the work period, re-organize the work space and drape your table with a sheet to protect your photos. Another time-saver option: Complete every aspect of the page before moving to the next page (I write all captions, dates, names, etc., before I do stickers).
6. Just like exercise, we have to set time aside to work on our albums. Schedule album time into your monthly calendar. Attend workshops, schedule one full Saturday a month, work a few hours every Sunday afternoon or set up a work party with friends. Set a goal to complete cute, simple and fast pages that have great memories preserved and enjoy your completed albums!
Don't forget--working on your photo album is not a matter of time, it's a matter of commitment!
("Do It and Stick to It, Be Organized And Do Fast Pages," by Melinda Dye, Creative Memories)