SparkBook: Your Ideas Creatively Organized

I see great ideas all around me.  From magazines to websites and friends to a great graphics piece, I’m always finding something that I want to save and reference later–when I really need it.  Enter my creative organization for these ideas: My SparkBook.  A SparkBook is an organized collection of your ideas in a 3-ring binder that allows you to reference your ideas, recipes, tips and resources later. Here is how to set up one (or more) of your own:

Start with your ideas.

I get tons of ideas from magazines and I read about 6-10 magazines a month; when I’m reading through my magazines, I fold the bottom corner of any page that has creative ideas, unique outfit-building options, recipes I’d like to try,cleaning  tips I’ll use, organizing solutions or creative gift options.

magazine pages

Fold the corners for easy reference.

I want to save the ideas, but I don’t want to go on a treasure hunt to retrieve them.  This is why I fold the bottom corner of any pages with information of interest, when I’m finally ready to sort my SparkBook pages, I’m able just to look at the bottom corners of my magazine.  If it’s a page to save, I tear it out and get ready to file it.

magazine file

Keep everything in one place.

I sort through my magazine pages about once every quarter.  So until then, I save my magazine pages and other SparkBook supplies in my magazine tub.  After I’ve read my magazine and folded the corners for pages of interest  it goes into the tub until I’m ready to sort it.

Magazine Page Sorting

File pages according to your SparkBook categories.

I spend about an hour every 3 months organizing my SparkBook pages into the categories to file into my books.  I have 8 SparkBooks: Home, Kids, Cleaning, Travel, Gifts/Decorate, Recipes, Outfit Ideas and Graphic Design.  I separate each of my saved pages into these categories and file them into my SparkBooks.


Find a type of book that works for you.

My SparkBooks are 3-ring binders filled with clear sheet protectors.  It’s an inexpensive option that allows me great visuals and is easily changeable.

SparkBook tabs

Organize your book to keep you organized.

A book of useful ideas is great, but it’s much more useful if you can find what you’re looking for.  Each of my books is organized with post-it note tabs taped to the first page in each section.  I am able to quickly reference any item that I need immediately because I can find it, thanks to my tabs!

SparkBook page

Pictures are important.

For each of my books, I save the pictures with the text to help give me that visual reference that is so important to me.  Even if it’s an online recipe or a story with no picture, I’ll find a relevant option and save it with my information.  In a way, I’m really creating personal, categorized magazines for myself–the pictures and the mix make it fun, interesting and very useful.

SparkBook in closet

Keep your SparkBook where it makes sense.

I keep my Recipe SparkBook in the kitchen with my other cook books.  I keep my outfit ideas SparkBook in my closet and I keep my Graphic Design SparkBook at work.  I reference all of my books on a regular basis, and it’s helpful to have it right there where I need it and can use it regularly.

The SparkBook has helped me tremendously in getting and staying organized.  I know great ideas can come from anywhere, you just have to know how to find them. The nice thing about the SparkBook is that you’re able to tailor it to meet your needs.  Adjust the categories to suit you, change the supplies to what works best for you, organize the contents in a way that you’ll remember.  After all, it’s your SparkBook–it should spark your ideas again and again.

Supplies recommended for a SparkBook:

  • Three Ring Binders: I like the ones that have the clear sleeve in the front, usually called “view binders”
  • Labels or label maker
  • Clear sheet protectors
  • Permanent marker or Pen
  • Post-it notes for tabs/labels and tape to secure the post-it notes


  1. I’ve been wondering what I could do to keep all the various categories of ideas I have organized…I didn’t even think of SEPARATE organized binders! So simply brilliant.

  2. […] 3. Make a Meal Options List.  When we were first married, my husband Matt and I made a comprehensive list of the main dishes that we liked to eat on a regular basis.  The list has grown over the years as we’ve tried new recipes and discovered new favorites; the value of this list has increased exponentially.  We’re able to vary our meals by rotating options on the list each week.  I’d suggest making a list like this for yourself and posting it inside a kitchen cabinet for easy reference.  Our list is a simple Word document that is divided into categories and alphabetized.  Related recipes are stored in my recipe SparkBook. […]

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