Thursday, October 30, 2008


The Decorating Binders.

6 years in the making, they are quite the treasure trove of fun projects, dream purchases made reality at a thrift store instead of an online checkout, future dream finds to be had, colors, textures, organization, display and entertaining inspiration, and all things that encapsulate lovely, useful, or home to me.If you want to create one, you'll be happy to know it takes absolutely minimal skill. Go get a binder from a thrift store for .50, and some of those plastic page sleeve thingys. Tabs are helpful but optional.

As you look through magazines from now on, if you see something you like, just tear it out. RIP. It feels good. Then group them in piles and shove the piles in labeled plastic sleeves.

I've been ripping apart my Pottery Barns for years and years, and when I go back through my pages for fun, I still find new inspiration, and I'm encouraged at all the neat finds that have come my way- things I wanted long ago that stayed with me, and eventually made their way into my home- almost always via clearance or a thrift store or a garage sale.

There's power in knowing what you love but not ever just going after it retail-style. Wait on it, and seriously, you'll be amazed at what you can find.

You don't even have to know why you like it- just tear it out. Whether it's a paint color, a mood or lighting, a shelf display, a useful and smart way to organize a closet- anything.

This is really useful if you want to get a start on decorating your home and you don't know where to begin. After a while, you'll notice a pattern- you may be attracted to warm tones, modern or primitive decor, beachy stuff, cool colors, wild colors, muted or saturated colors, you may be into tons of eye candy or you may be a minimalist.

You'll know in time what is really you, what's really your family.

Then you have somewhere to begin. As you choose paint colors or other things for your home, a particular room, whatever, you'll have a little guiding light.

I might "like" a lot of things, but what's me over the long term? Does it fit in with the overall vision I have for the room and my home? If yes, then I consider it. If not, I almost never say yes- unless it truly is extraordinary. In that case, as Nate Berkus would tell you- you'll find a place for it. And I always do.

If you spend some time dreaming and envisioning what you want your home to be, it will go a long way to simplify decorating. You will know what you're after and be led astray to "The Mistake" purchase much less often. Basically never. As long as you keep your vision in mind.
When you combine your ideas, you're much more likely to actually use them. There is something about tearing it out that seals the inspiration in your head. You aren't committing, and you may not even use the idea for years or never, but it's there in a safe place.

Get a good pen and circle and write all over the pages- it will help you remember what you loved and your ideas for it, how you could make it yours or do it yourself.

This is my separate binder for paint colors- I keep every swatch from the colors I've chosen in my house for future reference, plus I like to keep all my many swatch books too- they are handy in the future, not just for walls, but for putting together a color palette for anything.

It's nice to have lots of colors to reference, and the books place complementary and coordinating colors right there for you, so you can keep your colors looking right- when you're choosing stuff for a shelf, or an accent pillow, anything. I also keep RIPS from my magazine finds too- of wall colors I love and overall room palettes I may want to emulate someday.

These are some notes and color cards I made for when I was making a master plan for our current home. It's already fun to look back. I know it will be neat to see later, too.
I have a separate folder for current projects- notes, pictures, RIPS, drawings and general ideas about projects I want to do in the next couple of months. Most of the binder is for "someday" and reference- and this folder is for the "really right now" stuff. Of course I have a separate folder for Christmas right now too, and that's all dancing sugar-plum-ideas in my head these days.
This is a whole separate folder for my big next project- the Master Bedroom and Master Bath, which are going to finally get some attention in the New Year. **Shameless, Needless, Plug To My Hubs Who Already Knows This: All I want for Christmas is to paint and decorate the love shack!**
That's my collection of ideas and color samples. I've already found a few things at my favorite thrift store that are really going to rock this room. But of course I'm not breaking them out until I'm allowed. Ahem.
Here are some of the categories I have, to get you started: Entertaining and Table Settings, Dining Room, Kitchen, Office, Home School Room, Kids' Rooms, Organizing the Home, Bathrooms, Outside, Photo and Photo Display Ideas, Christmas, Other Holidays and Seasonal, Paint Colors, and General Decorating- that's my biggest one- all the little neat ideas I see for displays, anything. You can, by the way, bind anything. Whatever you're enthusiastic about. It's not just for swatches anymore.


anne said...

How did we ever find each other? It kills me how much we are alike...and that we bonded so amazingly in two peas in a pod.
I've been RIPPING for years too, but all mine have been shamelessly shoved into a folder...not so organized like yourself. have inspired me...I know I have a binder and sleeves around here so I'm going to do it! Thanks Megan!

Lisa said...

you may be the most organized person I know. ever.

I tried the pumpkin with the spices last night...I think I failed. I bought a pie pumpkin & it was next to impossible to cut holes into. Hubby suggested getting the drill out...and he's worried about it burning the house down. So very un-Megan of me!

Anne Elizabeth said...

You remind me of my mom:) That is a compliment! I love all the ideas you post and I am in love with the bedroom pictured in the last picture! I will be re-doing the bedroom upstairs after the renovation is complete and this binder idea will help me a lot:)

A Crafty Mom said...

Fabulous idea - as usual, Megan! I'm on top of a lot of things in my life, decorating has sadly not been one of them. We have a very small home and I'm making it a resolution to decorate and organize every room a bit better. This is a great idea b/c I don't have anything on hand to look at . . . so from now on I'll start ripping out things as I see them, and collecting them. It really is a good idea for a starting point. My tastes have changed so much over the years, it's hard to even know what my style is . . . and how to make it fit in my home with my own family.

Thanks for posting this - very timely and inspiring for me!!