I'm constantly looking for inspiration. Just like all of you. One huge source is magazines. You can see which ones are my favourites in the Amazon widget in the right sidebar. They are the ones I read on a regular basis. I also get loads of local Swedish mags and other foreign one's at work.
Jean e-mailed and asked where I store the magazines and if I save or discard them or wether my basement is full of them. Clare who is helping me find an issue of an Australian magazine which apparently featured some photos of mine might want to read this too. Thank you so much Clare, I'm only kidding :)
The only magazines I save forever are the Martha Stewart publications. I save those in two smallish top cabinets in our dining area. I'm never getting rid of those! Although I did take a huge step by tearing the Weddings ones. I've been married since 1990, and happily so, so I rearely looked through them. I decided to tear out all the "good things" and I now have a slim binder with loads of inspiration.
The other magazines I keep for a while, about six month to a year. There are two piles in the book case behind my favourite armchair. Once the piles reach the top I take the oldest one's and start tearing. I'm pretty ruthless. I don't keep much. From one magazine it may only be two or three pages, from another one perhaps as much as ten. I use a hole punch and then file them in a binder. I started this system in 1984 as I was an au pair in the US. I bought loads of magazines and wanted to bring them all back to Sweden. Realised I couldn't due to the luggage weight restrictions so I sat on the floor in my room and tore out the best bits. As I got back to Sweden I started my inspiration files. There are now four "regular" ones , one Christmas and the MSL Weddings I told you about.
Four files over 24 years isn't very much but it's probably all I can handle. If I had more I'd probably never ever get to the oldest bits, I hardly ever do with only four actually. Like Jean said in her e-mail I'm probably a phenomenal editor (in that particular respect). What I do every once in a while as I flip through the files is ask myself if I still think what I tore earlier is that interesting and worth keeping. If not I just tear it out and thin the files out that way. If they're getting very slim I rearrange them so there are basically three full ones and one being added to.
It's kind of fun to look through the one with the oldest tear outs. I'm not a a very sentimental person (which is probably why I so easily get rid of stuff) but this I'm keeping because it was one of those moments when I knew I wanted to work in the field of interior design (which I don't any more by the way). I remember just loving this room and I also loved the before and after photos of the wardrobe being organized. It's from Seventeen magazine... Don't read that any more...
Here are some of the more recent tear outs. I love american arcitecture, organizing (oh really, I hear you say), family life decor and Tricia Foley, all of which are in my files. Oh, and I never cut out little bits from a page, always the full page. It's much easier to keep everything filed in the same binder that way.
My files aslo include catalog tear outs. Mostly Pottery Barn, but more on that in a different post.
I'm not the only one in this family with magazines though. Martin keeps stacks in the boat room of his favourite sailing mags. His history mags are in the magazine files underneath my piles in the livingroom, third photo from the top. The history books are in that same book case. My piles are actually the odd ones out there.
Martin also keeps a whole lot of old comics. They are actually in the basement, Jean :). Some of Wille's are in there too and they're all in clear Ikea boxes. Easily accessible as Martin still likes to get a stack out once in a while.
I think I've covered it all now. The key is to keep what you love (that would be Martha for me) and edit the rest ruthlessly. You will never have time to look through boxes and boxes of clippings, but you will be able to sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with a binder full of your best tear outs. Good luck! I promise it's worth the effort.