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How To Organise Your Inspiration

I don’t think there are many people out there who haven’t kept at least one photograph, newspaper clipping or postcard because they found the colour, design and style of it so appealing. If you’re interested in fashion or style at any level, you’re more than likely to have a huge bundle of magazine cuttings, newspaper supplements, and images saved from the web. But once you’ve built up a collection of these visual treasures, what’s the best way to organise them? Here are some of my thoughts on how to make the most of your collected ephemera!

Scrapbook
The first go-to solution for neatly assembling any collection of images is, of course, to stick them all into a book. This is a quick and easy method which can also provide a timeline of your tastes and interests – say, if you created one fashion book every year and shelved them on your bookcase for future reference. Nubby Twiglet is the queen of scrapbooking, and has been filling a giant sketchbook with themed fashion collages for over ten years! You can see them all in her Fashion Notebook set on Flickr.
Pros: Easy to do; can be a a creative act in itself; you can make notes on the pages
Cons: Once it’s stuck, it’s stuck! Doesn’t allow for a change of heart and can be messy…

Folder
If you like to chop and change and reorder your inspiration, then an A4 folder with printed sheets might be best. You can cheaply print off a wealth of information that you’ve scoured on the ‘net, and if you have anything ripped from a magazine, simply tack it onto a sheet of card. A neatly assembled folder always looks and feels very smart and allows you to control the layout – perfect for perfectionists like myself! You could also use coloured file dividers to define different sections: style, beauty, decor, food, et cetera!
Pros: Quick and cheap; neat; very flexible and changes can easily be made
Cons: Won’t fit anything larger than A4 size and there’s a possibility of getting paper cuts!

Cork board
Whilst it’s fun to stick images into a book or arrange printouts in a folder, once those things have been completed, you won’t see the result of your efforts unless you flick through the book regularly. If you’d like a daily hit of visual inspiration, the best way to display your clippings is on a cork board. You can buy these boards in a range of sizes at most stationery shops – don’t forget pins, too! This is my favourite way of organising my images, as I’m a fickle little thing and my tastes change from week to week!
Pros: Looks good on display; can be edited instantly; low cost
Cons: No record of what you liked and when – unless you take photographs?

Digitally
Of course, it’s a modern world we live in, so why not keep all of your inspiration stored on your computer? This is a super low-cost method which only requires an Internet connection and an account at somewhere like Google Docs (shown above) or Flickr. Actually, you don’t even need to use the Internet – why not simply store images on your hard drive? You can change the filenames to reflect the subject, colour, topic, et cetera, and very easily arrange these by date or by alphabetical order. It makes searching for something a whole lot easier!
Pros: Low cost and environmentally friendly; quick to do; easy to search months worth of files
Cons: Data can become corrupted or lost over time; not tactile in the same way a book is

How do you organise your inspiration?

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