Pinterest: organize your inspiration

Written by editor Nicole Bennett of Gidget Goes Home.

Some pinners, it seems, have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.

By love/hate, I mean that they love all the good ideas, but they hate the pressure to DO ALL THE THINGS that they find on Pinterest, and they then find themselves pinning lots of ideas, but actually doing next to none.

I saw this phenomenon early on, and created From Pinterest to Real Life to combat this tendency, and to encourage us to not only pin, but to also create.

I’ve struggled a lot with discontent in my time, but the truth is, I don’t really experience the hate part of the relationship with Pinterest myself. My bloggy friend Anne, at Modern Mrs. Darcy, wrote about this awhile back, explaining that some of us are just more likely to experience social comparison than others. I find that I can get Pinterest to serve me quite well, rather than me bowing down to it as an alter of discontent.

Here’s why I love Pinterest, and how it’s helped me organize my creative endeavors more than ever before.

how I make Pinterest work for me

While I would love to sit and scroll through my feed of my fellow pinners’ inspiring finds, it’s just not how I normally spend my free time. Usually, I’m in the kitchen these days, or maybe doing some writing or blog reading, or occasionally with my nose in a book or working my way through my ridiculous stack of unread magazines quietly calling my name.

So while I do occasionally repin something that catches my eye, here’s how I don’t generally use Pinterest: to surf through endless ideas for hours on end. (I would like to do this, but alas, I have to make dinner.)

For years, I saved magazines by the stack, pages dog-eared to rip out later, waiting to be filed in my overstuffed and underused binder of crafty inspiration. A simple white three-ring binder full of divided sections and clear plastic pockets where I could insert my magazine clippings.

Tutorials, quick tips, inspiring styles, color palettes, you name it. Sound familiar? Yep, it was the analog precursor to Pinterest, or what I now think of as my digital inspiration binder. The amazing thing about this digital inspiration binder? It goes wherever I go (or wherever your computer is if you don’t use Pinterest’s mobile apps), unlike that binder that’s still collecting dust in a closet somewhere.

making Pinterest work for you

Three ways I make Pinterest work for me

1. I primarily use Pinterest to archive ideas I’ve found elsewhere, whether that’s via a blog in my reader, a link a friend posts, or as I’ve mentioned before, from a magazine (I now read magazines with my Pinterest app open for easy searching/pinning/archiving).

2. One way to avoid letting Pinterest overwhelm you, is to take a break from the social aspect of it, and just make it work for you. Find ideas that inspire you elsewhere, and then catalog them on your boards. Find things you actually want/need to make/do/create rather than just grabbing other people’s finds for a time to get a renewed sense of your own creative focus.

3. Pins aren’t static; tell them where to go. One of the things I love about Pinterest is that I can move pins around. So after I make or do something, I move it to my made and did board. Once I’ve made a dinner recipe a few times and deemed it worthy of becoming a regular, I move it to my favorites board for easy locating. I also comment on my own pins with recipe notes if I make an adjustment when I’m cooking. Just like Dave Ramsey suggests I tell my money where to go, I tell my pins where to go, so I can find and use them easier.

Do you feel overwhelmed by Pinterest? How do you make it work for you?