Photo courtesy See Jane Work.
One of my favorite ways to spend a slow afternoon is poring through some of the multitude of magazines that seem to gather around my house. I currently subscribe to... hmmm, let me count... Glamour, Lucky, Arizona Highways, Writer's Digest, W, House Beautiful and Photo Pro, and pick up many others in airports around the country during my travels. Favorites include Coastal Living, Yoga Journal, Better Homes and Gardens and Vanity Fair (mostly for the portraits). I also have a nice size backlog of copies of The New Yorker from when I subscribed a few years back, and Mac World, which Apple automatically subscribes you to whenever you buy a new computer (and we've bought more than our share over the last five years).
You can imagine the stack that piles up after a couple of months. That simply won't do when you're living in a little house like we do, with a husband who despises clutter. But tossing them out, when they contain so much good stuff, isn't an option to me.
Enter the inspiration binder. I tear out anything that grabs me or that I want to emulate: paintings, drawings, portraits, fashion photography - any great artwork or things that I think I could make into great artwork. Anything that gets me going. Anything I think will get my creative juices flowing on days when I need a little, well, inspiration. All these pages are places in plastic sleeves and hung in the pretty binder, which sits neatly on my office shelve (right next to the binders that hold my tax receipts).
Inspiration can't be had from a plain old boring binder. Use the prettiest ones you can find (mine are from Greenroom and can be bought at Target). They should be a please to handle, a pleasure to use, and a pleasure to see on your shelf. If you have a hard time finding something that you love, decorate your own with old wallpapers scraps, fabric, etc. Make the first page something you love to look at over and over again - mine is part of an old article on Courtney Love, showing snippets of her diary and this fantastic snapshot of Kurt Cobain holding a kitten up to a toddler Frances Bean in her playpen.
After I've torn out the pages I want to save, then and only then do the magazines head to the recycling bin. You could also call up you local elementary school or after school center and see if they could use them for art projects. (Just make sure the subject matter is age-appropriate. 7-year-olds don't need to be reading Cosmo's latest article on Your Best Orgasm Now. But it's a good article, you should read it.)