On Organizing Inspiration

How do you keep track of your business inspiration and ideas?Hi there! I'm starting a brand new series of questions and reader requests here at A Beautiful Mess. I have an FAQ page, but some questions deserve a much more in-depth response! Today I'm jumping into the topic of organization. Each time I post about organization methods I get more and more questions, so here's a little more detail about how I keep track of it all… 

Inside my blog planning notebook
1. My Planning Notebook I carry a planning notebook pretty much everywhere. This book is a home for all my ideas for future blog posts. I recently shared some details behind my planning process. All of those ideas that were on my wall are now safely tucked away in this book on post-it notes. They're categorized by topic and as I use each idea I can pull it off the page and add it to the "done" page. 

2. Pinterest I love using my Pinterest boards as a way to keep track of inspiration and pretty things. It's highly addictive, but so much fun! I keep boards that are practical and some that are totally just-for-fun! 
Bloglovin3. Bloglovin' I use Bloglovin to keep track of all the blogs I follow. You can "like" posts as a way of archiving them. I do this when I don't have time to read a full article or when it's something I might consider featuring on my blog in the future! It's a great way to save your favorite blog content. 
4. A Sketchbook Last, but not least, I carry an old fashioned sketchbook with me everywhere I go. I also keep one beside my bed becauase late night ideas are sometimes the best! If you don't keep a sketchbook, I suggest going out to get one today!
I hope these answers have been helpful. I'll be back with more reader questions in the near future! XO. elsie 
  • Great tips. I’m new to pinterest and totally addicted. I go to bed at night thinking about re-decorating our house, cute outfits and recipes I want to try thanks to your blog and pinterest.

  • ohhh..that’s so sweet..your blog is my favourite blog ever..i learned so many things..Congratz for all you do, you make so many pretty things and of course you’re pretty .. the answers have been helpful. xoxox, Eva!

  • thanks for this post,im looking at taking my blog to the ‘next level’ and needed a way to get all my ideas on track.thank you!

  • This is great! Pinterest is amazing for these kinds of things. I am obsessed with Post-its and organization in general and you’ve just given me a whole new way to enjoy both. Thanks!


  • awww I’m like this at work with colourful post-its and little doodles. 🙂
    OH One thing, what nail varnish do you use? I loooove that pale blue colour, and i saw you had the 2 nail varnish bottles in the last photo, but i cant see what it says on it 🙁

    x x x

  • Thanks for the tips about organizing for blogs! I just started one and I am already so disorganized! This was really helpful….Thank you!

  • Once again I’ve learned something really cool and useful by reading your blog! I’m just starting my own blog and it feels like I have tons of ideas that I don’t want lost or forgotten about. Thank you for sharing your way of organizing! I’m definitely going to create a planning notebook.


  • This is such an awesome post! Good idea that your blog notebook is a binder so you can take out pages and move them around. It is so exciting to always get a glimpse into your planning world since you are such an incredibly creative person–but so super organized at the same time…perfect harmony to success.

  • I really loved this post, organizing is the toughest part for me in my every day life. thanks a lot and have a great weekend 🙂

  • You have such an amazing website!
    All those ideas, inspiring thoughts, beautiful pictures… I like it a lot!

  • Hmm that’s a bit wierd – I do all of those things myself! I also use Evernote to keep all my patterns, projects and to-do lists in one place. StumbleUpon is another good one for archiving sites, inspiration and projects.

    I bought my first Moleskine notebook this week to jot down ideas when they appear in my brain as I’m always forgetting good ideas that I’ve had.

    Love organisational posts!

  • Love the tips! I can personally vouch for the notebook and sketchbook– it’s great to be able to get ideas out of your head as soon as they appear! (Plus, helps keep idea overload at bay. ;))

  • ooh it’s a great idea to have a planning book – this explains why your blog is so cool.. when you can write down your ideas no matter the time or the place, you can make awesome posts.. Congrats for this post, too =)


  • Keeping a notebook of ideas has helped me feel so much more focused! I haven’t been using it as much lately, so now I’m feeling very inspired to start keeping more inspirations again~

  • Thanks for another inspiring post 🙂 I LOVE pinterest + keeping a sketchbook/journal too. These are my favorite kind of posts.

  • Nice, I have a very similar notebook system, actually. I carry a planner/diary around that has a built in notebook so I jot ideas down on the run. If I don’t write stuff down I totally forget about it!

  • I always have a notebook with me too, with postits to separate the pages. I also make the pictures of what I’ll review on my blog in a file. That file is split in 2 folders “to do” and “done” – fairly easy.

  • I love this!! Especially your organising notebook with post-its, such a great idea! I will have to try pinterest now too

  • Thank you for sharing this!!! I always wonder how you keep such a massive blog together on top of your business and personal life! I’m a SAHM and have big dreams of creating something stylish like this someday with more of a homemaking/parenting emphasis. I started out a notebook similar to yours this year, but it’s been an epic fail trying to keep up on my blog. After looking at your photos here, I think I might be able to jump back in without getting so overwhelmed! I can’t wait to take your blogging e-course! This place is my favorite!

  • Elsie, I spent some time on your blog last night reading through all of the creative things you’ve posted and was thinking the same thing!!! Please keep posting your answers to reader questions, apparently we all have the same ones! You’re an inspiration! xo

  • I am completely obsessed with pinterest. It’s such an amazing resource when you’re in need of inspiration. I’m also trying to get into the habit of keeping a notebook, but I’m one of those people who hates to ruin a pretty notebook by actually writing in it! Must get better as it is really useful for organising my blog- I just need to remember to look at it when I’m writing my entries!

  • I already do the sketchbook and Pinterest stuff, but I definitely need to create a planning notebook/calendar to keep track of all my ideas. And word to keeping a sketchbook by the bed, I always find myself leaping out at odd hours to scribble something madly down before it leaps out of my head.

  • I really love this post, miss! I’m constantly striving to be more organized, as I can quickly become overwhelmed and giddy when new ideas and inspiration hit me. I’ve started writing down blogging ideas, as I often forget them mid-week!

    I carry a journal with me as well – it’s so, so helpful!

  • Oh thank you for posting this! I’m not a fantastic organizer so new tips are always welcome!



  • This post was seriously awesome. I am a new blogger and was just struggling with figuring out how to organize everything. The blog notebook you carry everywhere is a fantastic idea. Thanks for all your help!

  • I just liked you in bloglovin’ 😉 Very good ideas, didn’t know anything about pinterest!

  • I keep a sketchbook by my bed too! My best ideas come to me as soon as I close my eyes. It means turning the light back on, which isn’t fun- but it’s worth it:)

    Before, I used to try to remember- I even would trace the words out with my finger as a tactile memory trick, but when I woke up I never remembered and it drove me crazy!

  • I had no idea Bloglovin’ could do that – thanks for the tip! You’ve put me to shame with your organisational tips!! Bon Dimanche 🙂

    Emma xx

  • That was such a useful and inspirational post Elsie. So many people think you can either be super-organised or creative but that the two are mutually-exclusive. But I have both, so do you, and from these comments it looks like many others do too! I’ve been thinking about purchasing your blog lovin e-course and this post has just convinced me!

  • Fab inspiration. A few years ago i keep my diary like a little note book, keeping inspirational tidbits inside. I love looking back on it. Thanks for the thoughts. Off to start a new notebook…


  • oh please Elsie show us a DIY of your planning book, it´s so beautifull colorfull and inspired, a big hug for you Elsie you made my day all most every time a take a look on your blog 🙂

  • I love the idea of keeping a sketchbook. God knows it has saved my life several times, being an architecture student and all. Inspiring post!

  • I’ve thought many times about pinterest, after read this post, I will log in for sure…so fun! thanks!:)

  • Ahh soo handy! Thanks! I already have a moleskine notebook and i write much in my mobile phone 🙂 I have Pinterest but I use WeHeartit more I have to say haha!
    Ps. I really love your blog!

  • Thanks so much of sharing! Oh boy would I love to see more of that planning notebook – I love how organized you are! It’s awesome and so inspiring!!

    My BLog: http://brightontheday.com

    Twitter: @Brightonkeller

    You can find BrightonTheDay on Facebook & Bloglovin as well!

  • I have a question Elsie… how do you carry all of this stuff with you? Backpack? Large purse? Just curious as I like to carry lots of things with me and I’m constantly looking for ‘the perfect backpack purse’. If you have any ideas or recommendations I’d love to hear them. 🙂

    As always, thanks for being such an inspiration! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for sharing this!
    I have just started a blog recently, and have used some of the methods you mentioned, but it would definitely be nice to keep all of my ideas more organized this way!
    Your blog, store, and projects are such an inspiration. I look forward to your posts every day!

    My blog is http://www.carolineincity.com

  • I love seeing how others organise themselves – I try to keep as much as possible online/on my computer, but I still have to carry about a notebook to scribble blog stuff in!

  • Hi! Great tips! i’ve already started on your tip for a notebook. I was looking at your Pinterest and I had also heard about it from other blogs and it looks super fun/inspiring. But it says that there is a waiting list? Do you know if there is anyway to get through that faster? haha because I really want to get started!!

  • Thanks for sharing that Bloglovin site again. I had remembered you talking about that a while back, but I couldn’t remember what it was called. I was recently looking for a good blog reader and I almost emailed you!

  • Hi Elsie!!! I sometimes wonder if you really get to read all of this comments?! Either way, I continue to comment away.

    Great ideas for organizing all of your ideas. I love pinterest as well and am now following you as “sarah jane.”

    happy sunday!

  • Your little binder with post-its is a great idea! I’ve recently started writing ideas down for everything i do online and it’s paying off. I’ve also finally gotten ideas ahead of time because of this. Thanks for sharing and for all your inspiration!

  • Like Kelly, I’m also using Evernote to organize ideas and posts I like. One cool thing about evernote is how you can tag items (so you can group things together in a way that makes sense to you) and you can add your own comments to the items. I use google reader to read my blogs (you can also “star” or “like” posts, but the stars weren’t enough organization for me.

    I’m also loving Pinterest as both a way to collect pretty pictures of things I like and how to share these with my followers.

  • This is great! I have always been a notebook person, but ever since taking your blog ecourse I have been ALL about notebooks and planning!

  • WOW THis post is brilliant i also use pinterest and bloglovin to keep my inspirations in one place, but need to get a sketchbook asap!

  • Very ver good post! I love the file you have for all your ideas. I use a wee moleskin book for ideas and lists of stores/sites of note!

  • I want to see more of your notebook! I love all the ideas you’ve put forth, I find I get too caught up in Pinterest, and waste a lot of time! @[email protected];; I really love organizing in a “tactile” way, like in front of me, in a book! But I want to know what kind of tabs you use, how you separate your book and how detailed you get in your notes to what you’d like to do!

  • Is your planning notebook actually a notebook or a 3-ring binder? I love the idea of having rings and dividers so just curious!

  • That’s such a great idea, I really LOVE your blog ideas book – its fab to see how other people organise their posts. I’m feeling inspired!

    I wish I could keep track of my ideas with my own blog book but I fear my handbag will burst if I add anything else to it!!

    Katie x

  • I am totally new to blogging and I came across your site and I have fallen in lust with it… It has EVERYTHING a girl needs to know!

  • your blog folder looks amazing! I like the idea of using post-it notes so you can shift them.
    looks like this is going to be another great series on your blog. 🙂

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  • I just discovered your blog and keep browsing through in in EVERY free minute (or I make free minutes)!!! It’s great, I loooove it!

    I love your ideas and your photos and ESPECIALLY your wedding, it looked AWESOME! (I don’t like traditional, old-fashioned weddings) You seem so happy.

    Why I comment here and not on an current post (i hope you still read these): do you have a system how you fill up your journals? Or do you start writing about something and turn to the next toppic and write sometthing about the first topic on page 20 again? Do you refer inside your journal?

    And about your blog: do you have something like a tag- or labelcloud? I browsed through like 250 pages and now I can’t find some of the posts in between (I made a lot of bookmarks though and hope to use the inspiration you gave me – although it’s a bit oberwhelming).

    Great blog, I can’t believe, I never stumpled across it (I discovered it thanks to Naomi).

  • Great post ! 🙂
    By the way, i need an advice : I have a lot of pictures and magazines in my bedroom that i find beautiful, and i don’t wanna throw them away, but i don’t have any idea concerning what i could do with them, how i could use them. They are too much to do a patchwork on my wall, so i was thinking about putting them in a folder, but i don’t know how to organize them, and i may not look at my folder very often if it’s always close so it would be kinda useless… Please, help me, i’m in a middle of an organization problem here !

  • That is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this one.

    A must read post!

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