Making Sense (and Order) Out of Pinterest

Everyday Adventures

Sometimes it just feels good to organize something!

Decluttering and organizing are right up there with a nice hot shower for busting through a creative block, but even when I’m not facing a challenge it’s just nice to sit back and see a nice, orderly space, you know? And since so much of my day (and yours, too, admit it) is spent online, it’s important to do some digital organization from time to time.

(Even though it’s a lot easier to ignore a digital mess–chances are we’re not going to trip over it!)

My current task is to get Pinterest under control. I was an early adopter but slow to actually put my account to good use. When I started planning a wedding, though, it became a really useful tool. Not only is it great for it’s intended purpose–keeping track of visual elements in a pretty package–it’s great for communicating. I created a board of engagement shots I liked and sent it to my photographer and we were able to work many of them in. Some didn’t work as well as others, but at least we gave them a try!

These days I mostly use Pinterest for keeping track of recipes. At first this was my least favorite thing–I own well over a hundred cookbooks and don’t even cook from a recipe half the time, so why do I need to pin other people’s recipes? Because there’s so many tasty things to try, of course! I’m not going to go into my menu planning method in this post (because I already covered it here) but instead of bookmarking the recipes I want to try in my browser, I’ve been saving them to my Foodie Goodness board. It’s a lot easier to click on them through the Pinterest app on my phone when I’m in the kitchen than to scroll through the Chrome bookmarks (which also could use some serious housekeeping). Of course now that I’ve started doing that, the FG board is getting a little out of hand.

What I really wish was that Pinterest had a folder option or that I could nest boards inside of other boards. This would make my profile much more streamlined if I could have a board for Food with boards inside it for different types of recipes. Same with the wedding boards that I no longer need but don’t want to delete, either, because a) they’re still getting repins on a regular basis and b) I might want to refer back to the for other reasons.

Now, you can move pins between boards, but combining all my wedding or food boards would just get me right back where I started. Instead, I just try to keep my boards in groups that make sense to me (and hopefully anyone else looking at them).

If you’re already pretty Pinterest-savvy, these next few tips you probably already know. But I’ve learned never take anything for granted or to assume that what I think is common knowledge really is, so here are some basics on how to deal with your Pins if they start to get wild and wooly.

Rearranging Pinterest Boards

Click, hold, and drag the board where you want it!

Click, hold, and drag the board where you want it!

The easiest thing to do is to move an entire board to where you want it. To do that (from your computer, at least, I haven’t tried this on a tablet and the mobile app brings up other options when you press and hold a board) you click and hold your mouse over the board you want to move and just drag it around the screen. As you can see, the other boards will shift around, making room when you get close to one side or another of a board and you just lift off the mouse button when it’s where you want it.

I like to group my boards into like little clumps–so my house boards all together, my food boards all together, wedding boards all together (and those are now down towards the bottom of my profile since I don’t need to access them very often). Again, folders or a nesting function would be my biggest Pinterest wish, but until then I’ll just work with it like this.

Moving Pins from Board to Board

There’s two ways to do this (three if you count repinning a pin you’ve already pinned onto a different board, and how many times am I going to use the word pin today? the word is losing all meaning!).


Hover over a pin, click on the pencil icon along the top of the pin to bring up the Edit screen.

To move a single pin between boards, you just need to open the “Edit this Pin” window for the pin. If you hover over the pin some icons will appear at the top of the image, one of which is a pencil (aka the universal symbol for edit). Click it and this screen opens. You can select a different board from the drop-down menu or you can create a new board on the fly by just typing it in (there’s a text field that will show up when you click on the down arrow on the menu).

You can also update the description, website url, and location of the pin on this screen. Handy if you need to fix a link or the description is something like IMG_1245.jpg instead of something useful.

Alternately, if you’re in a board with a lot of pins that need to mass-migrate to another board, use the Move Pins button (it’s up along the top, above the actual pins).

This lets you click on several pins to move at once, very useful if you're subdividing your content!

This lets you click on several pins to move at once, very useful if you’re subdividing your content!

Click on the check boxes on each image that you want to move, turning them red, and then click the now-red Move button up there on the top. This will open a window for you to select the destination board. You can also copy pins in bulk using this same screen, see the “Copy” button up there? Useful if you’re repinning some of your pins to a group board!

Editing Pinterest Boards

Change the name, add a description, and (sometimes) edit the cover image.

Change the name, add a description, and (sometimes) edit the cover image.

Below each board (when you’re on your profile, not within a specific board) is an Edit button that opens a screen where you can change some of the particulars of the board, including making it secret or not. Foodie Goodness wasn’t really working for me anymore–it was overgrown and had a lot of different types of food content inside. So I decided to rename it “Recipes to Try” and move all the rest of the stuff into other boards. (This is an ongoing process, there were almost 200 pins in that board!)

A word about editing cover images. When I was shifting and creating new boards I found that the boards created on the fly didn’t have cover images assigned and, horror of horrors, the Cover > Change option wasn’t showing up in the edit field?!?! After refreshing the screen a couple of times a randomly assigned cover image was at least showing up on the new boards, but only some had the option to edit the cover image. Almost all my old boards had it, though, so it could be something you need to allow a little time for.

When the Cover > Change option is there, though, you can flip through the pins on the board and even adjust what part (of tall images) is seen in the thumbnail. Some uber-users even create specific board covers (you can upload images directly to Pinterest, you don’t have to pin them from another site) to really spiff up their profile. I’ve not felt the need just yet, but I can see the appeal.

Commenting on Your Own Pins

Remind me if I liked this?

Remind me if I liked this?

It sounds a little vain or weird, right, commenting on your own pins? But Pinterest is a social network in its own right, and likes and comments can become valuable parts of a pin. I like to use it to follow-up on a recipe I’ve tried, for instance, to say if I liked it or if I would change something about it, were I to make it again. These sorts of notes are not only helpful to me, but could spark a conversation or help someone else who finds the pin later.

I still have a lot of pins to go through, but when I’m done (for this round) accessing the pins that I need will be easier and some things that I’ve pinned and forgotten about might move up on the to-do list!

When’s the last time you spent some time organizing your pins?

Creating The List

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Into every wedding, a list must fall.

Most weddings, several lists come into play. If you have a wedding planner, he or she will have a list for you. If you’re planning it yourself, every bridal book and magazine and website has lists for you to follow.

The thing about those lists, is that it’s hard for 1 person to come up with a list that’s going to fit your wedding perfectly. So you’re either skipping over the things that don’t apply, or writing more stuff into the margins. And that’s no good.

Instead, I suggest you take your top 3 lists, from whatever source they came from, and create your own master list.

Sounds scary, and like a lot of work, but once this bad boy is put together you’re going to feel really good about what’s ahead.

Right now I’m a couple weeks out from our big, mostly-annual Halloween party. Now, considering how many times I’ve thrown this party, you might think everything gets done in my sleep by now.


In fact, each party I throw is always a little different because I tweak things here, add things there, ditch stuff that didn’t work, and so on. And even if it was a cookie-cutter operation, there are still things that need to get done each year and if I don’t have them written down, there’s a good chance I’m going to forget something until the last moment and have to scramble.

As a hostess, I prefer not to be scrambling when the guests arrive.

Granted, this is a party for 20 or so friends and family, not exactly the scope of a wedding, right?

Think about it this way: my parties include mailed invitations, a menu, decorations, seating, activities management, and even party favors. The difference between one of my usual parties and a wedding is only a matter of scale.

And there have been plenty of small, backyard weddings that took less than the planning and prep for my average Pumpkin Party or Fairy Fest.

Back when I was planning on becoming a professional event planner (end of high school, early college; pre-Culinary School, obviously), one of the best tips I ever learned was to do a mental walk-through of the event as a guest. In your head, your imaginary guest is going to do everything you’ve planned for them to do, and it’ll point out things you might have missed like making sure there’s a trash can nearby.

To build on that, for a wedding list, I’d say go through each part of the event–starting with the rehearsal dinner–and mentally attend it, asking yourself the big questions.

Who‘s in charge of it?
What do you see? hear? taste? feel? smell?
Where‘s it gonna be?
When is it?
How will be people know about it? get there?
Why is this important?

We’re incorporating the “reporter questions” with the 5 senses and filling in the blanks. Not all questions will be applicable to all settings, but it’s good to run through them in case something jogs your memory. As you think through those items, write down or type everything that comes to mind.

Thinking about our rehearsal dinner, my answers would look something like this

*bride & groom
*People–family and out of town guests, music–supplied by site, food–small group, off the menu?
*restaurant (make reservations)
*November 1, time tba, depending on venue schedule
*Guest list for the rehearsal, send out with invitations, arrange shuttle or carpool for guests in from out of town
*So that we can relax with our friends before the frenzy of the next morning.

So, from thinking this through, I know that I need to add the following to my Event Master List

  • Create rehearsal dinner enclosure for select guests, include with invitations
  • Get count for rehearsal dinner
  • Firm up rehearsal time with ceremony site
  • Make reservation at La Fiesta
  • Ask about fee for resort shuttle for guests staying on property
  • Alternately figure out how many people will need transport and how many cars will be available
  • Ask about limited menu vs a la carte at the restaurant
  • Decide if we’re presenting any gifts at rehearsal dinner
  • Make/purchase gifts (optional)
  • Decide on payment method (credit/debit/cash, etc.) for dinner
  • Make sure to have cash on hand for tips

Because my goal is to relax at the dinner, I’m not going to worry about decorations (the restaurant we’re planning on reserving has lots of natural decor anyway, it’s not a blank slate by any means).

Then you just keep going through your event, working with whatever rough (or specific) timeline you’ve got.

When I get to the walk down the aisle, I’ll “see” the decorations that I want, so they go on the list as something to make, along with the flowers (or whatever) in my hand, and so on and so forth.

Once you’ve got the Master List compiled, then you get to play jigsaw puzzle with it (because different things get done at different times), arrange things in the order that makes sense to you, and it’ll start to look like one of those lists you see in the magazines. And speaking of those lists, use them as a template as far as distance from the event staging, transfer over the things from those lists that apply to you along with your own mental walk-through list, and what you’ll end up with is an Event Master List that is perfect for your event, and not cookie-cutter to the average wedding, etc.

If you make your list in a spreadsheet program, you can color code your text and fields to make it easy to glance at. Or, if you prefer lots of mini-lists, feel free to make sub-lists (like a Packing List, a DIY Project list, a Payments to Make list, etc.) from your master list so you avoid overwhelming yourself with 1 big list.

And if you absolutely hate lists, find a friend willing to channel their inner Monica and send up a flare.

Step AWAY From the Planner!

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Stack of wedding planning binder, sketchbook and magazines
Trust me, it’s okay.

Sometimes we need a break, even from the joy and happy happy fun times that wedding planning can be. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and, sometimes, life just takes over and you’ve gotta hit that pause button.

I have yet to get any closer to choosing a location–the linchpin of my planning, I think–and I’ve still got to put the finishing touches on the menu suggestions for one place to finish their quote to us. Silly me, I though I’d have that done 2 weeks ago!

Even though I’d hoped to get some work done on various projects this weekend, all I was capable of doing was the mindless task of cleaning up my home office. Good news: I can see the floor AND my desk! That hasn’t happened in quite some time, I can assure you.

Something about the monotony of putting things back into their place is comforting. The exertion of moving boxes and sweeping floors almost enough to clear your mind of whatever’s taking up too much space.


One wedding thing I managed, though, was to condense two wedding binders into one and file away some business cards and postcards that had begun to pile up. It was a small thing, and I still have the bag from the TAWP show to go through and file, but it’s something that made a noticeable difference in the remaining clutter.

I almost feel like I can dive back in, again.


Pretty Book and Flower Icon


What do you do when you need a break from planning?

Girl vs. Closet

64 Arts

Nearing the end of our Art of Dressing arc, here’s the conclusion to my personal mission to decrease my fashion holdings.


Do you know how many pieces of clothing I had between my closet, dresser and in the laundry?


Three hundred and six garments. And that’s not counting things like undies, bras or pairs of socks.


Now, my goal was to get rid of 1/3 or 33% of my clothes. That meant over 100 items out of the closet and dresser drawers.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of my day, here.

Divide and Conquer

The sorted truth of my closet

The "sorted" truth of my closet

The best tactic seemed to be to, first, take everything out of the closet and dresser and sort them into some obvious categories:

  • Frequently worn tops
  • Frequently worn bottoms
  • Almost never worn anything
  • Items with potential fit problems

After the closet, alone, it was looking about 50/50 between the frequently-worn and the problem children. Once I emptied the dresser, though, things shifted a bit. It appears I’d been holding on to more casual-wear clothes and t-shirts than I’d realized. Granted, I’ve gotten into the habit of switching into pajama or yoga pants and tank tops or the like almost as soon as I get home from work so my collection of lounge-wear has increased over the last year or 2.

The first-round draft picks

The first-round draft picks

The items that were in the definite keep piles went straight back into the closet to free up space on the bed. I’ll admit that the closet looked rather bare with only those few pieces in it.

Just Add Bad Lighting

Now was the time I was dreading: trying on the iffy things and being brutally honest in the process. It was like going shopping and dealing with the dreaded dressing room, times 50 or so.

There were a few pieces that I’d put in the fit issues pile that fit better than I’d thought. Some went into a maybe pile (you know, the if-I-lose-5 pounds-these-might-not cut-off-my-circulation-when-I-sit-down borderline cases) and a several went back into the closet.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I put on my old black jeans and they were loose. Loose! Just as I was wondering how in the hell that had happened I checked the tag and realized I’d put my new black jeans in the wrong pile. The old black jeans were still just as tight as they’d been the last time I wore them and into the give-pile they went.

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

Try on. Take off. Rinse. Repeat.

And, yes, I did get rid of some frequently worn, fits but does not flatter at all items.

I’m so proud of myself, I might just have to go shopping. (kidding!)

Why Don’t I Wear This Anymore?

Doesn’t fit, forgot I had it, it looked better in the store… the reasons were plentiful and almost everything in the hardly wear pile went into the give-away one, instead.

All of the above took about 3 hours (far less than I thought it would) and I started counting each piece as I put it into the large box I’d snagged from the move for the purpose.

92 pieces after the first culling.

At the time I didn’t know how far that got me to the goal. It was only then I started counting how much was still hanging in the closet:

  • 112 pieces hanging up
  • 45 in the dresser
  • 51 items in laundry-transit

Add in what I’d already tossed (and the 6 items I set aside as wearable but in need of minor repairs), and we get the aforementioned mind-blowing 306.

This meant I was 9* pieces away from my goal.

Girl 1, Closet 0


TaDaa! (please ignore the lower-right shoe-clutter, I'm still dealing with that)

Though the final cull was a bit tougher–I ended up giving up pieces that I really liked but knew weren’t a perfect fit (literally or figuratively)–I’m so happy that, for once, my closet isn’t stuffed to the gills and bulging at the seams. There are a few holes in my wardrobe, now (all of my brown slacks, for instance, ended up being tossed) and I’m in a jeans-liking phase again so I want a few more pairs of the type that fit well (I only own one each of blue and black), but those will be purchased with a clear conscience, knowing that I have the room and will wear them instead of buying just because they’re there.

All of the clothes that I’m giving away filled (to practically bursting) a large packing box from U-Haul that proudly proclaims it’s capacity as 4.5 cubic feet. All will be on it’s way to Goodwill very soon.

*Yes, I realize I rounded down. As soon as the repairman comes to fix the washer and dryer that was delivered less than a week ago and I get a chance to finish my laundry, I promise to toss one more (clean) piece of clothing into the to-go box to make it exactly 33%.


We’re almost finished delving into the fashion files but make sure you come back on Thursday for another helpful how-to and a fashionable giveaway!