March 9, 2009

How To File Inspiration

photo by Max_au

Folders, binders, corkboards…oh my! Everywhere you look there is a way to organize inspirational things from fabric swatches to paint samples to magazine pages. It is easy to be consumed by the mass of pretty files, streamlined notebooks and DIY bulletin boards available to buy or make.

Like any system for organization, storing your mounds of inspirational materials needs to be functional. The tricky party of all the great products out there is figuring out which one works for you. Here are two simple questions to help you decide on one or two methods.

  • How accessible do want your files to be?
  • What type of things do you typically file away? (e.g. lightweight items like tear sheets or bulkier pieces such as fabric)

After you’ve answered these questions, use this little guide to narrow down your storage options. It identifies some of the best tools for filing inspiration along with products to get you started. Some are super-organized, others cater to a more creative sensibility, but they all work to contain whatever inspires you.

from top center: 92:bind(empty notebook) by niseag03; refrigerator door by madelinetosh; file: scrapbooking inspiration by Dazed81; inspiration board March by Amy.Ng; inspiration board springtime living room by Maui_Designer; inspiration wire explored by vee*

three-ring binders Best for thinner items such as magazine pages or computer printouts, binders are great if you like maximum organization. Dividers and sheet protectors keep papers neat, while organizing them by project or interest. They work best if you only need to refer to files occasionally.
get it: Signature three-ring binder from Russel+Hazel

accordion files/file folders
Similar to notebooks, accordion files and folders allow you to organize by topics. They can handle thicker items such as ribbons and fabric, but the contents are less structured.get it: Semikolon expanding file from See Jane Work

bulletin boards Mainstays in offices and studios everywhere, bulletin boards allow you tack up just about anything you happen to find inspiring. Usually placed near workstations, they provide constant inspiration anytime you need it.
get it: Madison corkboard from Ballard Designs

refrigerators Think of a refrigerator as the BLANK of bulletin boards. You may not like a messy fridge door, but for some people looking at an inspiring photograph or graphic throughout the day keeps the creative juices flowing. The things you can stick on the fridge depends on the strength of the magnet, but consider enticing food shots or even paint sample for an upcoming home remodel.
get it:
funky flower magnets from What The Scrap

digital collages These are virtual inspiration boards, or mood boards, that let you pull together images from around the web to create possible looks for theme parties, room designs and special outfits. You have an abundance of resources to use as you create boards and all it takes is a few button clicks add or take away items.
get it:

How do you organize the things that inspire you?

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