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How to Create Inspiration Files

Updated on October 23, 2012

The Internet is full of inspiration. You only have to log into Pinterest to see pages upon pages of inspiration. Everything from food ideas, to travel destinations, design and photography.

But, what about if you don't have access to a computer?

What if you're tired of looking at a computer screen all day for work and don't feel like doing the same thing when you get home?

You want something physical to look through. You want to let your fingers do the walking...but not all over the keyboard.

Creating an inspirational file is not only easy, but it's also a lot of fun. It's a way to unwind and let those creative juices flow, and to create something for you, for your family, or as a gift for a friend.

Choose funky files, or plain files that you can write on
Choose funky files, or plain files that you can write on | Source

What You Need to Create Your Inspiration File

  • Time. Don't limit yourself to half an hour. Book yourself a Saturday afternoon or an evening during the week. This is a fun project and you shouldn't need to worry about time if you can help it.
  • Space. You can use the dining table, the kitchen counter top, your bed, or even the living room floor for this.
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers (if you want to write in captions, etc.)
  • White A4 pieces of paper or cardboard
  • Loose plastic sleeves - punched
  • A4 lever arch files
  • File dividers
  • Magazines

Choose Your File Topics

You can decide to put all your clippings into one file with many dividers, or you can separate different topics among your files. It's up to you how many you'd like to use.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Food - recipes, cooking tips, etc.
  2. Travel - dream destinations, holiday ideas, favourite spots, etc.
  3. Body - workout routines, natural medicine advice, meditating types, etc.
  4. Gardening - types of vegetables, flowers and herbs; tips on gardening
  5. TV - weekly listings, movies, series, celebrities, etc.
  6. Your City - favourite spots to hang out, to eat at, to visit, etc.
  7. Feel Good - quotes, inspiring images, reading books, art, etc.
  8. A New Language - worksheets and translations
  9. How To - a file on making new things. You can add your inspiration files!
  10. Romance - date memorabilia, poems, pictures, etc.

Find images that inspire you
Find images that inspire you | Source
Don't forget to fill in your contents page
Don't forget to fill in your contents page | Source

Laying it Out

When working on this project - and depending on how many files you're going to be filling, it's best to try and keep things as organized as possible.

Keep the area where you're working clean. If there are fruit bowls on the counter - put them aside. If you're going to use your bed, take off the pillows and blankets if you need to and put them on the floor while you're busy.

Also, make sure that you have a plastic bag close by so that you don't have dozens of crumpled pieces of paper lying around when you're busy cutting out your images.

  • Put your files to one side - you will only be filling these when you're completely finished
  • Start cutting out the images from your magazines and lay them into piles for each file

Once you've finished cutting out the images, lay out what you're going to be using in front of you. These will be:

  • Stationery - glue, scissors, markers, etc.
  • White paper or cardboard
  • Plastic sleeves
  • Magazine image piles
  • File dividers


Arrange your inspiration pages in each file
Arrange your inspiration pages in each file | Source

Putting it all Together

Now for the fun part - putting it all together!

You can get as crazy or as creative as you want to here, it all depends on what you want from your files.

Using your glue, stick down the images on the pieces of white paper or cardboard. If your images are a full A4 page from the magazine, simply slide these into the plastic sleeves.

Lay out your images in straight lines or mix them up diagonally, add borders and captions - or leave the pages simple and clean.

Do whatever feels or looks the best to you!

When you're finished adding all your images to your sheets of paper, and filled the plastic sleeves with these, organize the filled sleeves into the order that you'd like them to be in the files.

Lastly, slot them into your file dividers and add a table of contents to the front page of each file.

And there you go, your inspiration files are finished!

A couple of hours of fun and creativity, and beautiful (and useful) files that will keep you, your family or your friend entertained and inspired for many, many days - weeks - months, and even years!

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Melanie, loved this and used to do this back in the day, but for some reason (most likely computer related) stopped. Great step by step here though for those who would want to try. Thanks for sharing and have of course voted up and shared all over too!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      An oldie but a goody, Mel! This was once quite common back in the day; the computer seems to have sent it to the relic pile, and I think that's too bad. I like having something to hold while I'm reading. Great step by step instructions.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      A practice that has stood the test of time. Also a fantastic tip for great organizational skills.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Don't worry Janine, I'm the same. I forgot how much fun it was to get crafty. The computer and the Internet are so convenient that we forget about the rest. Glad you enjoyed, thanks for sharing! :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Bill, I'm with you there. I'm not a fan of Kindle, I like having a book in my hand to read and pages to turn. That's never going to change. I missed doing crafts - we forget too quickly what with having the luxury of technology at our fingertips. Thanks for checking in - glad you enjoyed it :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you so much shiningirisheyes! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Mel, even though I have a computer, I do have a "book of wonders" where I post some unusual events, photos, etc. from my reading. This is really great idea and your detailed instructions are excellent. Voted up.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Dianna, that sounds intriguing! A "book of wonders"...I like that idea! I used to have a scrapbook that I filled with pictures when I wanted to go into Fashion Design. I still have it. It's great to have a book or file to fill with creative clippings. Much more fun than browsing Pinterest I think. Thanks for your comment, and your vote :)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      This is a great idea. I can't tell you how many magazines I have saved up with the intention of only taking the stuff out that I wanted. This is a great way to clip those articles for the future!

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Stacy! Appreciate you sharing this hub, thank you!! :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Mel, what a brilliant idea - really brings some colour and ideas to your otherwise boring files - I love this! And you get to use your read magazines for something useful as well as just recycling :o)

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 4 years ago from Cardiff

      I do this with recipes and cooking all the time, I have a smas book for fashion and home inspiration, which is similar

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Jools99 - Exactly! I have some many magazines lying around that I don't want to chuck away because the articles were so good - and now I can just file them and keep them even longer, and throw away the magazines once I have everything. Glad you liked this, thank you! :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      daisydayz - It's great to hear of how many people make use of files like this! I love the idea of a fashion and home inspiration file - very cool. Thanks for reading! :)

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 4 years ago from Northern California

      I voted it up and will share this hub. I actually made an inspirational picture a number of years ago. It was a poster picture of my desires/wishes and most of them came true within a couple of years! Thanks so much.

    • Brittanie2216 profile image

      Brittanie Pervier 4 years ago from Seattle WA

      Love this idea I cant wait to get started and actually make one of these for myself.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Starstream - that sounds like an awesome idea! I'm glad most of your desires or wishes came true! Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Brittanie2216 - They are a lot of fun to make. In today's age when almost everything is technology based and on the computer, it's nice to have something physical to touch and flip through to get inspired. Thanks for reading! :)

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