How to create a family timeline notebook for photo sorting.

Creating a family timeline will simplify the process of sorting, labeling and storing your family photos. You can use a family timeline when organizing both digital and printed photos.

My goal this year is to get all of the photos in my storage closet organized and labeled. These photos go back to before my boys were born, they’re 21 and 22 now – YIKES.

Since my memory isn’t what it used to be, I’m creating a new family timeline to help simplify the process. I’m using a notebook to do this, but there are other tools you can use – index cards, or an Excel spreadsheet. I like the notebook idea because it’s fun, colorful and a little crafty – hopefully at some point it will be a family heirloom too!

Supplies I used:
100-page spiral notebook with a hardcover – this one was from
Tab Punch & clear tab stickers – one of my favorite tools
Bright cardstock
Label Maker

Step 1 – How many years will you include in your family time line notebook?

I based this on the number of pages in my notebook, 100 pages. I figured 3 pages per year. That’s 33 years, which seems like a lot, but I started with the year my oldest son was born, and he’s 23 now, so two-thirds of the book will be filled after I do my big photo sort this week.

I used my WeR Tab Punch to punch tabs for each year.

WeR Tab Punch to punch tabs for Family Timeline.

Step 2 – Label your tabs

I’m not a big fan of my own printing, so I used a label maker to print out the years. In order to save label tape and speed up the process, I printed the years out on one long strip and then cut them apart.

WeR Tab Punch and Label maker Totally-Tiffany

Step 3 – Add tabs to your notebook

When I first started adding tabs I was trying to keep them evenly spaced and neat. It didn’t work out as I had envisioned it, so I staggered them randomly, and that was more fun.

I didn’t think about putting the tabs on the top of the pages until I was about half way through. However, I ended up liking the tabs on the top.

I’ve added embellishments to the front cover and will write on them later, after I’ve had a lettering lesson from Kelly Creates.

Organize photos with a family time, Totally-Tiffany

Step 4 – Start filling in your timeline

I’m using my timeline almost like a “smash” book. I think I’ll add photos, stickers, and other embellishments to it as I add notes about our family history.

I’m jumping in with this year, while everything is fresh in my memory. I like the randomness of being able to add things as I come across them when I’m sorting photos and mementos.

Family Timeline Notebook helps to organize photos, Totally-Tiffany.

As I mentioned before, there are many ways to create a family timeline. Things that are as simple as a searchable word doc on your computer or a literal timeline on your wall, can serve the same purpose as this notebook style timeline. The image below is the first family timeline I created. It was very basic, but still conveyed the information I needed at the time.

A family time line will help when you're sorting photos.

Photo sorting and organizing can be overwhelming, especially if you have years and years worth of photos to get through. Simplify the process and make it a bit more fun, by creating a family timeline.

Thanks for stopping by today,

Happy Crafting,

12 Responses to How to create a family timeline notebook for photo sorting.

  1. Love this! I was out shopping for my journal book but i noticed the pages are like loose leaf paper (mobile paper)…really thin. Is yours lined paper and thin normal paper or is it thicker ??


  2. I LOVE this idea! You are so creative! I will use a Happy Planner so that I can move sheets around or add more if I need to. I am so excited aboyt starting this project and the benefit will be getting my photos organized. My Dad is almost 92 (in March) & I will be going through his old photos too with him to get all his memories down in this book. I can’t wait!!❤️❤️ Thanks Tiffany!!!!

  3. You inspire me to do this for our family’s timeline. I am making a new one 🙂
    I used to have a notebook like this before when I was working and traveling (less the stickers). That is an awesome idea…to put extra memorabilia in there!
    I also had notebooks for when I got pregnant with my youngest, and I put the dates of all her ‘firsts’ to remind me when I scrapbook pages for her album.
    Those notebooks are treasures I keep to this day.

  4. I love this! I had a basic timeline years ago, but this would allow me to have more detail. I’m looking at 40+ years just for my children.

  5. I love this idea and have purchased the notebook and label punch. My problem is trying to decide how far back I want to go. Thanks for the idea. The Timeline is something I struggled with during my first time thru the Challenge. This idea works for my brain!!!

  6. I love this, bought my tab punch and you mentioned clear stickers?? Where do you find these?? How else could you stick the tabs to the pages? Bought a normal journal but why don’t they make smash books anymore?? I loved those!!
    Txs for the idea

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