After several days of intense spring cleaning, yesterday afternoon I decided that I needed to take a break and recharge my creative batteries a little. So I turned to my faithful inspiration: my design notebooks.
I have been ardently compiling the contents of these notebooks for several years now, thumbing through the pages of magazines and tearing out anything that struck me as beautiful or clever or tasty. As a result of my efforts, I now have half a dozen or so three-ring binders full of images and articles that I can turn to whenever I need a new gardening idea or a party menu or a design challenge. They have effectively become my own personal home library, selectively filled with things that personally appeal to me.
Design is by far my most favorite category, and I'm well on my way to my fourth notebook on just that topic alone. But I also have other categories, like "food and wine," "projects," and "life and health." Last but not least, I have one special notebook I labelled "brain cache" where I keep articles that stimulate my thoughts about the world and the economy (have I mentioned that I'm a nerd?), which often show up on this blog under "Smarty Pants."
My husband often makes fun of me for these notebooks, especially when he comes home to find me pouring over one of them, plotting my next design project or planning a week's worth of meals. He jests that it looks like I'm studying, which truthfully...I kind of am. I credit most of my design ideas, and many of my "bigger picture" thoughts, to the inspiration sparked by these pages.
So, here are four reasons why I think you, too, should start your own library:
1. In the vein of spring cleaning, they do radically reduce the magazine clutter in your home. Tear out what you like and recycle the rest.
2. In time, you begin to pick up on your individual tastes and preferences. Seeing my hand-picked selections from page to page, for instance, I realize that I often gravitate toward the same colors and styles in home design, and that I prefer a specific (healthy but not hard) type of menu. This is why I particularly recommend notebooks for people who are wanting to decorate their spaces but don't know where to start. I say start with your likes, and keep them in a binder!
3. They provide a good reference for creative inspiration and often spark new insight. I especially like picking up my "brain cache" binder and thumbing through it--often an idea that interested me months ago but was since forgotten takes on new meaning and dimension today.
4. Last but not least, they're cheap! Binders and plastic page inserts hardly compare to the price of a fancy coffee table book or "special issue" magazine. Save some dough and start clipping!
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