As a teacher, I have had my students work with "lap books" for several years. Essentially, a lap book is a file folder with several interactive flaps and pockets. So when I required my "real estate" for my project life spreads, I transferred some of those techniques. Here are a few examples:
1) Day in the Life Spreads
Instead of creating a collage insert, I place my photos onto "flip-ups". A flip-up is a 3 x 6 piece of cardstock folded in half and inserted into a pocket or adhered to another insert.
2) Accordion pieces in a pocket:
Take a 6 x 12 piece of cardstock and fold at 4 inch intervals.
3) Using mini folders just for their design:
These mini folders from Authentique were so delightful so I used them up in my mini Project Life.