Friday, January 13, 2012

Getting Organized with Pinterest

It's a snowy day here in Ohio, so no trip to the new house this morning. And since Niels accidentally took our son's coat to work with him in his car, the boy and I are staying inside doing our projects. D is three and loves to do his projects, whether coloring, playing with letters, baking with me or anything that else that we can come up with together.

We get a lot of ideas from Pinterest, not only for things for the two of us to do together, but also for cooking, organizing, and of course, getting ideas for the new house. If you aren't familiar with Pinterest yet, think of it as a online filing cabinet or cork board to file or "pin" all the wonderful things you find on your favorite blogs and websites so you can find them again easily. In other words, is a collection of images on topics of interest to you with clickable links to the original source. Depending on how the original pinner described a pin, it can also include the price or other information.

Before Pinterest, if I saw something I liked on Houzz or Garden Web or any other site, I would download the picture to a folder on my computer. I might name the file to give a little detail, but I could never find the original photo again, or remember where an item was for sale, or find the original link or post. The brilliance of Pinterest is that you can put a little bookmark on the top of your browser so you can easily save any image you'd like, and Pinterest automatically remembers where you found it.

So, for example, if you were looking at ceiling fans online, you'd do your regular search. In this case, I'm at If you find a fan you like and want to save it, you just click on the bookmarklet. It's a little  goofy with Chrome, but on Firefox and Explorer, the bookmarklet has the Pinterest logo.

Once you click on it, a pop up will come up that looks like this.

There's a gray box that comes up over each image if you hover over it that says, "Pin this." When you click on the gray box, another pop up comes up, like this:

This is where you use the drop down menu to determine which board you want the image to be saved in. I have board for each room of our house, for "culinary creations," for each person, etc. In this example, since we haven't made all of our lighting decisions (but really need to!), I have all the lights we're considering in one folder. After we make a purchase, I "repin" a duplicate copy into the corresponding room folder.

Under the drop down menu, you can describe the pin. In case of items we may purchase, I like to include the official name of the item, the price and where it can be found (even though the link will take me to the site. This way I can know without the additional click). Anytime you use a dollar sign, Pinterest will put a banner over the item with the amount so you can see it right away. Sometimes, if I'm on my game, I also include model numbers and the purpose for which I'm considering an item--which room it might go in, for example. 

You can share your pins on Facebook, if you want, but most people don't because Pinterest is highly addictive and that would be annoying to have a steady stream of pins on your friends' facebook feeds...especially if they aren't on Pinterest.  So you click the red Pin It button and it's saved.

You'll then get a fading pop up that confirms your pin to your specified board.

If you go to that board, you can see all of the images you have pins on that board at a glance. You used to be able to scroll through each image with your arrow key, but they did away with that for some reason on the last upgrade. Not a fan of that change. However, you can still click on any image from the gallery and see it enlarged.

Pinterest has been a great help as we've waded through all the selection decisions in building the house. Since I am at home all day with our son, I have more freedom to browse and research. Before Pinterest, I would send Niels a bunch of emails, or print of a lot of pages for him to go through when he came home. Now, we just look through the gallery together and can immediately spot trends to get a better idea of what we want. 

Pinterest is also a great resource if you're just getting started and don't know what site to search. Keeping with the ceiling fan theme, I can use the search function at the top of the main page and type in "Ceiling fan." A new gallery will come up with images that have been tagged with "ceiling fan" or use those terms in the description. 

From there, I can look at any image that catches my eye, and can access the original source. Other pinners can like and make comments, which can be helpful as you are making decisions as well.

Each pinner has a home page with all their boards. You can arrange these in any order you want. 

I've had several people ask me how to use Pinterest, and how I use it to organize our build (and home). It helped to think of the various categories for which I draw ideas. I have many, MANY boards (58) and the moment, but these are the ones that relate to building our dream house:
  • Room by Room
    • kitchen
    • pantry
    • dinette
    • great room
    • mudroom
    • foyer
    • office
    • in-law suite
    • master bedroom and bath
    • D's room (our toddler son)
    • guest room
    • bathrooms
    • laundry room
    • command center
    • exercise room
    • basement
    • landscaping ideas
  • Selections
    • fireplace
    • lighting
    • paint
    • flooring 
    • counters
    • universal design
  • General
    • dream house. This was the original board for house things, that quickly got more precisely defined.  It still holds ideas and images that relate to the whole house, things that haven't re-ordered, and really cool ideas that we aren't doing but are fun to drool over
    • home decor ideas. This is generally things that would be bought, not made.
    • going green. Do it yourself cleaners and ideas to reduce, reuse and recycle
    • projects, tips and organization. This board needs to be divided as well. Currently, it includes DIY projects for the home, simple solutions, unique uses for ordinary things and ideas for a clean and decluttered life.
    • Uppercase Living. I'm a big fan of word art, so I created a place to put my ideas.
    • Big Bad Lowes Buy
    • Big Bad Ikea Trip

One of the reasons for Pinterest's popular is the ease and flexibility of use. In addition to looking at items on your board, you can also go back and look at everything you pinned in one gallery. Just in case, hypothetically speaking, you forgot where you pinned something, but you just KNOW that you did.

In you have a blog, it's kind of fun to see what things other people pin by doing a search of your blog name:

But I think the most popular way to use Pinterest is to just browse. Since you can follow friends you know (like Facebook newsfeeds) and people you don't, but who interest you (like Twitter), and see what they are pinning. You can follow specific boards or every board, so you can customize what you want to see. 

Pinterest is technically still in Beta, but it's easy to get an invite if you know someone who's on it (like me). There are still a few bugs, but it is an absolute godsend for keeping ideas organized for your house, planning meals, planning a wedding, dreaming up a wardrobe, or hairstyle, or travel, finding learning and play ideas for your kids, finding inspiration for your workouts, your goals, your life. In this down economy, Pinterest is a fantastic place to learn to do it yourself, make it yourself, or reuse it for something else. It's brilliant. I've pulled up my boards when talking to our GC and subs, when talking to vendors and store clerks, when explaining to friends and family what I'm looking for/hoping for/planning for. It's a brain injured girl's best friend. (Other than her hubby and son, of course!)

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