I have roughly the same situation. I used to scrap way before now, you know when you colored photos with crayons, used stencils and construction paper. Then I quit and started throwing all my photos in boxes.
Remember that scrapping is for relaxation and fun. I like keeping my photos in order then grabbing a few and completing the pages one by one. I haven't ever tried placing the photos then going back to them later. And most of the time my two page layouts have the same background color but not the whole book. I am one who grabs the paper that I am in the mood for that very moment.
The last "little project" in my major project was our vacation last year. I did 5 books, one for each child that went with us. I never really copied any pages but they were simular just differnt colors and titles. And I took my time eventually I will get through all my photos but for now it is one page at a time!