As any interior designer knows, organization is the most challenging part of a design project. While working with budget restrictions, opinionated clients, or never-ending deadlines can be stressful, to say the least, there’s nothing worse than being disorganized.
Disorganization robs you of your efficiency by stealing time away from your day. If only you remembered the name of that fabric manufacturer or could find that one inspiration picture that you saw and fell in love with last month… Many designers spend hours each week looking for one saved product or another. When you’re stuck retracing your steps, you’re not moving forward. Let’s face it: Disorganization leads to a drop in productivity.
You need a systematic way of cataloging your resources so that when the time comes, you can immediately find what you’re looking for.
Not only will organization lead to a better use of your time, it will also enhance your relationship with your clients. When you’re organized, you show your clients that they can trust you to get the job done professionally, on time, and with no surprises.
If you’re struggling to organize your digital design space, you’re not alone and you’re also in luck. The tips in this post will help you to finally get organized. Let’s get started.
1. Have a Central Place for Storing Your Design Ideas
How do you currently save your design ideas?
If you’re like a lot of interior designers, you probably alternate between browser bookmarks, handwritten notes, clipped magazine images, saved photos on your computer, a collection of Instagram faves, and several Pinterest boards. The problem with having so many different places to house your inspiration is that trying to find it again can be a big time suck. Also, cobbling together inspiration from various sources makes for an inelegant presentation.
To improve productivity, it’s crucial that you work from a central digital design library. Otherwise, you’ll lose a lot of time (and steam) in hopping from one app to another.
Our favorite solution (and of course, we’re partial) is to use Gather to literally gather all of your design ideas into one easy-to-access digital catalog.
With Gather, you can find furniture pieces and accessories from any website and then add them directly to your individual interior design projects using a Chrome plugin. (You can also use Gather as a search tool to find the perfect product.) Once you’ve added the products to your account, you can then organize them even further. Add products to a client’s project and assign them to specific room types (i.e., living room, den, master bathroom).
2. Start By Organizing What You Already Have
Organizing your digital design space begins with sorting what you’ve already collected and saved elsewhere. To be honest, organizing and inventorying your current resources will probably be the toughest task on the agenda, but it’s necessary.
Working with Gather is as simple as clicking a button. However, when you initially set up your account, it’s crucial that you take the time to save any current resources to your Gather account. Otherwise, you’ll continue to flip from Gather to your other disparate resources — and that defeats the purpose of having an all-in-one space.
To start, grab all of your design resources from the far recesses of the web and your hard drive. Scour through each file and remove redundancies. Take your time to update any outdated information which can slow you down when it’s time to source for a client project.
3. Add the Details
After you’ve added products to Gather, it’s time to write in the details. We recommend that you insert details for every product that you save or upload to Gather. Adding keywords and other important product-specific details (such as color, shape, manufacturer, etc.) will make it easier for you to find these curated products through search. You can also add your personal notes to your saved images, too.
4. Curate Your Top Inspiration Sources
Inspiration comes in many forms. From trade magazines and industry blogs to television show sets and movie destinations, you may find inspiration anywhere you look. However, for the sake of productivity, it’s best to limit where and when you look. In other words, create a list of 20 or less must-see inspiration resources to check regularly. Then, assign a time each day when you’ll peruse these resources.
Make hunting for inspiration a part of your daily schedule instead of a spontaneous activity. This will automatically translate into a more organized approach to design.
5. Schedule Your Day
One of the most important things you can do to organize your digital design space is to organize your day in a way that makes sense.
Most interior designers will benefit from doing similar tasks together. For example, you may perform all business-keeping tasks in the morning and schedule all client meetings in the afternoon. However, if the thought of scheduling every second of your day makes you itch, loosen your collar. You don’t have to be too strict with yourself, but for the sake of organization, consider setting aside time each day to do the following:
Find Inspiration – Search through your top inspiration sources on a daily or weekly basis to discover fresh ideas.
Save Your Inspiration – Add exciting pieces or images to your Gather design library right through Chrome.
Organize Your Files Every Day – When you’re in a rush, you may save images to your “general” library. However, disorganization happens when you allow those loose images to stay in the equivalent of a digital junk folder instead of taking a few minutes every day to send them to the right spot. Taking five minutes today can save you hours of image hunting in the future.
6. Share the Load
Earlier in this post, we discussed the need to organize your current digital resources into one space. However, if the idea of cataloging all of your design resources seems daunting, we get it. Organizing your digital space can require a lot of time and effort, especially if you have several years’ worth of design materials to file away.Organizing your digital space can require a lot of time and effort. This can help: Click To Tweet
If you’re fortunate enough to work with a design assistant, why not share the work with him or her? Your assistant can store all of the items that you’ve curated over the years, while you continue to build up the library with fresher, newer products.
For those of you without a permanent design assistant, consider hiring a virtual assistant temporarily to get you started. Once you have all of your products and inspiration in one place, you’ll be able to work easier and faster.
Would you like to start organizing your digital design space now? Sign up for your free 30-day trial of Gather now.