Do You Pinterest?

Pinterest
Image Credit N Engineer

“No, I prefer Quarterest. I don’t gallonterest because they charge.” – my witty fourteen-year-old.

I could browse through Pinterest for hours, and have. It’s a great place to waste time, to find oodles of inspiration. As a mom and writer, I love Pinterest. And now that I can keep some boards secret, I love it even more. In addition to being the keeper of the family schedule, I also coordinate our teacher gifts, Halloween costumes, and meals. As a writer, I could use a little inspiration to get me back on task, while keeping track of all the ideas that gradually coalesce into a writing project.

I am by no means a Pinterest pro. But other than the usual Food, Fashion, and Fun Boards, here are a few ideas on how to use Pinterest to organize our crazy lives:

1. Halloween
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Halloween. As a writer, I consider it my holiday. It is a day that celebrates and rewards creativity, which means that I spend an inordinate amount of time coming up with costume ideas. And, of course, this could happen any time of year. Which means I spend much time scouring the internet for ideas and need one central place to store these ideas. Hence, Pinterest. My Halloween Board has decorating ideas, activities for the school’s pumpkin party, and costume/makeup ideas. Ideas for quick costumes and more elaborate costumes. So when the kid changes his mind on October 30th, I don’t need to panic. And I don’t need to scour the internet for an hour before running out to the store before staying up late to assemble the new costume.

2. Time Travel
Of course, there’s got to be a place to store fashion favorites. I created a board called ‘The Bees Knees’ for a Gatsby themed party I was attending. Before heading out to the local department store to find an outfit, I needed to familiarize myself with the different styles of the era and put together the few pictures from each of the many sites I searched online. Then I could head to the store confidently to find a suitable replica. Alternatively, this sort of board works if you are writing a story or hosting a party set in a particular era. Or if your kids have ’80’s day’ at school and need ideas on what to get from your closet.

3. Teacher Gifts
Every year before winter break and the end of the school year, my kids give a gift to each teacher. We go with consumable gifts (because a teacher can only store so many mugs, right?). I’ve gifted mini loaves of zucchini bread and banana bread, cookies, mixed nuts, snack mixes, hot cocoa, and lemonade mix (the last few in mason jars). While certain treats are repeatable, I enjoy coming up with something new each time, and Pinterest helps me come up with ideas. I search early and store the ideas for when it’s needed.

4. Party Planning
I have kids. They have birthdays. These birthdays are celebrated in party form, with a theme (that usually gets used on the invitation and the cake, and little else). But when my youngest son had a Sharknado party, Pinterest led me to serve shark gummy candy, goldfish, and Bugles. A couple of themed decorations and plates, along with a grocery store beach-themed cake topped with a Sharknado figurine, and the party was set. Keeping track of these ideas is easy with Pinterest. The board can then be emptied out to prepare for the next party. Keep it private if you prefer.

5. Travel
Heading on vacation? Consolidate packing tips, checklists, sights you don’t want to miss, activities to occupy your kids on the flight or long drive, and maybe a few pics of your destination to stare at for a few minutes to remind you why the hassle of planning a trip is worth it.

6. Book Boards
I published a book a few years ago, called The Indian Girl’s Definitive Guide to Staying Single, which discusses various issues about Indian culture. The book itself isn’t illustrated, but in this day and age, that’s really not a problem. I have two boards related to it (which I suppose it would have helped to mention in my book). One offers images that further illustrate what I talk about, and the other is a sort of visual dictionary.

I also have a novel in progress, and I’ve created a secret board to store inspiration. I’ve got pictures of my all-star cast for the movie version (because of course that’ll happen), images of settings, and ideas for the cover image for my book. Some writers put together binders, cutting out pictures of characters from magazine ads. I achieve the same purpose with my Pinterest private board.

7. Home Ideas
Of course, your house isn’t perfect. Of course, there’s always the need for some life hack, organizational idea, or that perfect product that would make things so much better. Sometimes, just looking back at this board is enough. It’s enough to have a wish list, and maybe, if your spouse gets the hint, one of these items gets gifted to you for Valentine’s Day (what better than a Death Star Cookie Jar to say I love you, right?) or your birthday.

8. Gift Registry
Another great use for a secret board. Start compiling gift ideas for Christmas or birthdays. Pick up the hints that the kids are dropping, just as you pick up the dirty socks they leave in the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but December gets pretty stressful trying to come up with that perfect gift for each family member. Why not stash your ideas in one place (instead of hoarding a stack of magazines and catalogs that clutter up your coffee table when the holiday cards come streaming in to compete for counter space?). Revisit the list around birthdays and other gift-giving times, and you’ll never be short of ideas. Yes, simply going to the local bookstore or toy store works, but as always, going in with a plan makes the actual shopping much more efficient. And if you’re inclined to do your shopping virtually, having your list ready prevents that zombie-like state that creeps in after browsing online for too long.

9. Soccer
I created one board for Soccer. My boys all play, and so I have one board where I keep motivational quotes, links to some instructional videos (they seem to like those when they can’t be outside playing), checklists (so they can keep their bags packed and I don’t have turn back home halfway to practice because they forgot their cleats at home), and links to sites where I can replenish their clothing (socks, shorts, clothing). The + button on the bottom right corner of the screen allows me to create new pins if searching the main Pinterest site doesn’t yield the results I want. Alternatively, I can install the Pinterest Browser Button.

10. Restaurants
When we decide to go out as a family, choosing where to go is no small feat. We usually end up at the same spots simply because we can’t remember all the places we’ve driven by and said, ‘oh, we should try that place out sometime.’ But a quick check on Pinterest could help remind us (haven’t remembered to use this yet, but here’s hoping)

These are by no means the only ways to utilize Pinterest to help you stay on top of all the multiple facets of life we’re supposed to stay on top of, but, hopefully, they’ll help spawn some ideas to help. Do share how you use Pinterest to improve your life.

Nivi Engineer is a novelist and playwright in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a mom of three boys, and escapes the never-ending sports calendar through reading. This month, she's learning that the capital of Tajikistan is Dushanbe. And now, so will you.