PINTEREST HAS CHANGED US
Do you remember the days when a “pin” was just something that lived in your sewing box? You know, back when we had to actually get in our car and drive to Barnes & Noble’s to collect glossy home decor magazines and find images of gorgeous and rooms we envied. Ahh, how far we’ve come, right? Let me just start by saying that I love Pinterest. I use it almost daily both in my work and just for fun…but sometimes the enjoyment and inspiration can quickly (and dangerously) lead to something else.
We see, we pin.
We pin and we pin and we pin…and soon we start to compare.
We pin and compare then we start to resent our current situation, whether in our homes, what we’re wearing, or even what we’re making for dinner. And sadly the comparison road quickly leads to a condition known as what I call “Pinterest Paralysis”.
Pinterest Paralysis (as defined by me) is the state of being frozen from taking any action in your home due to inspiration overload.
A common side effect is “I suck”itis. Does this sound familiar?
Pinterest is great. Design magazines are great. HGTV is fabulous. But all of it together can turn us into ADHD design lovers who end up like ping pong balls, bouncing from one idea to another.
And then we never really making progress in our home. In all seriousness, here’s the cold, hard truth…Too much inspiration is NOT a good thing.
Inspiration should either lead us to better thinking or better doing.
If it stops us from either, we have a problem. And sometimes Pinterest is detrimental to both of these processes.
THE THREE STAGES OF PINTEREST PARALYSIS
Craving: We are desperate to find pretty pictures that we can claim and latch all of our decor hopes and dreams onto. (WARNING: danger ahead) We pin like we’re being paid to, and somehow in a span of 30 minutes we’ve added 47 new pins that we most likely will never even look at again.
Confusion: All the pinning leads to inspiration overload which robs us of our ability to clearly see how we should actually be spending our creative efforts.
Paralysis: Instead of propelling us into the creative process, it leaves us frozen. We have so many ideas that cloud our thinking, so we simply shut down.
MY OWN BATTLE WITH THE SICKNESS
I have been a victim to Pinterest Paralysis, and I realized that many of my clients were suffering from this at one point or another.
When I was pregnant and planning Gemma’s nursery, I went on an inspiration binge. One idea led to another and another, and then I found a new pin that trumped them all and made me question everything I thought I wanted. My color scheme changed 15 times, and I was on an endless hunt for the “perfect rug”.
(HINT: There is never a “perfect” rug…and if you think you found one, my guess is that the price tag isn’t “perfect”. A great rug is good enough.)
I was driven by this insane notion that mine had to be the cutest nursery in the history of all nurseries. (Note the ridiculously unattainable standard that was most likely due to-you guessed it-too much pinning.)
By my second trimester, I had over 200 pins on my “Nursery Inspiration” board and ended up being more confused about what to do than when I started.
Can you relate, dear friend?
How to Tell if You’ve Been Infected:
1. You have hundreds (or thousands) of pins for projects and rooms you love…but have not changed a thing in your home in months.
2. You go on a pinning frenzy and lose complete track of time.
3. When you finally break away from the screen after said Pin-fest, you look around your home and suddenly can’t stand anything you see.
4. You’ve pinned loads of ideas, but don’t know which ones will work for you. So you do nothing.
BETTER THINKING & BETTER DOING
Better thinking looks like this…You see a gorgeous room or clever organization tool, and you feel a little jolt. Something in your brain shifts, and you suddenly see some aspect of the world or your home differently.
Better doing is pretty self explanatory. Occasionally those “better thinking” ideas resonate with a need and spur us into action. Whether it’s rearranging our bookshelf, trying a new recipe, or attempting to tie a scarf in a new way.
True inspiration brings about change.
When Pinterest leads us to try something new or revisit something known with fresh perspective, then we are using it in a healthy way.
5 HOME REMEDIES FOR PINTEREST PARALYSIS
1. Find inspiration away from the screen.
I’ve advised several clients to go on Pinterest fast for a week or longer and have also done this myself. (Y’all know this is the only kind of fast I could be successful at because… well, I like my food.)
If you need inspiration, grab some home decor magazines. Better yet, go to a fabric or home improvement store. There’s something about physically interacting with fabrics or finishes that shakes us out of receptive mode. We’re no longer just clicking, we’re engaging.
Engagement is the only way you will ever make progress in your home.
2. Limit your pins.
Don’t get yourself into a pin frenzy; be really selective about what goes on your boards. What if you were only allowed to pin 10 pictures per week? You probably wouldn’t waste your pins on things you sorta’ liked, and instead would only choose things that really spoke to you.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have picked on my motto for this year, “Less but better”. This can also apply to your pins.
In that same vein, it would be a good habit to go through and delete pins that you feel just so-so about.
3. Stop repinning & start curating.
Don’t just repin other people’s content. Find images elsewhere on the web that you love. Instead of only repinning what someone else found interesting, find your own inspiration. Then Pinterest becomes a place for you to curate your own aesthetic, not just recycle other people’s style.
4. Reorganize your boards.
Whether you have only one board for your home or one for every room in your house, try something new. Create one board for “Homes Inspiration” and a second board for your “Home To-Do”.
If you notice a pattern of pinning mostly to the “Inspiration” board and not as much to the “to do”, this could be a sign that you need to stop with the inspiration and choose a project on which to focus your offline energy.
5. Recognize when you’ve had enough.
The moment (and I do mean the very mili second) you start to feel bad about your home, your abilities, or your life in general, STOP PINNING! Instead rearrange a junk drawer, clean out your closet, organize your old pictures sitting in that box…All of these things are simple tasks that get you moving and thinking about what you do have instead of what you don’t.
If you’re having a day when you’re already feeling down on your home or your body or your cooking abilities, for the love of all that’s chocolate do NOT get on Pinterest, friend.
SHOULD I STILL USE PINTEREST?
Yes, yes of course you should. There is no other tool like it, and it is most definitely valuable to your decorating endeavors. But like many fun things, it’s best enjoyed when you know your own tendencies and set some guidelines.
On Thursday, I’ll be back to show you “5 Healthy Ways to Use Pinterest“…only to use once you’re over the “sickness” and have a clean bill of health.
Did this hit home with you?
Q: Have you ever or are you suffering from “Pinterest Paralysis”?
Great article. Wise lady!
This rings in so close to home! I am totally guilty of this. My excuse is that I don’t have any money so when I do have some money, I want to spend it on what I really love, So, I pin, Then some more. Then I look at the boards and try to figure out my style. But really, I think that I appreciate everything so it’s not helping. I am good about not spending loads of time on it anymore but it’s still there. Still haunting me to make things perfect. Still taunting me to have as pretty of a home as my sisters do. I’ve always not had money to spend, but at least I was creative with what I did have. I feel that is lost now. And even though I found this while digging around on the internet for inspiration, it’s a great article! Thank you!
Megan, you are not alone!! This is so easy to fall into. All the pinning can make you nuts (and only make you compare with others even more than it sounds like you already do.) Take a Pinterest fast, girl. Pick one or two projects that you’ve pinned or 3 pictures that you love 100% and then don’t get back on Pinterest until you have experimented in your home a bit. I promise even if it’s rearranging your spice rack or swapping the placement of your sofa, a little progress in your home is > than 1,000 pins!! Thanks for sharing your struggle with all of us who can relate:)
Stacy Humphrey says
So you’ve met me??? My GOD I could not have said that better myself! I am SO that article and THEH SOME!!!! The ‘then some’ would be a little nick name I gave to myself. “Pinterest failure”
now, that might sound a little bit harsh to you, but if you saw some of my attempts, lol, you would certainly understand. I found Pinterest somehow by mistake actually, years ago before anyone had ever heard the name. I had just had an absolute wretched foot surgery and was stuck on the third floor with no elevator! At that time Pinterest saved my life. but now, I have absolutely no excuse. And what makes me the most angry at myself is that I will literally go on to Pinterest looking for something very specific that I need to make or baked or cook or build and the second the darn site opens I see something that makes me ew & aw, and away I go. I’m off and running….er….pinning rather!! Next thing I know I have 738 new pens and completely forgot about what I went on for in the first place. so you may have Pinterest pyrolysis my friend but as you can see, clearly I have it much worse. Lol thanks for the very entertaining article. Can’t wait for the next one. but knowing me I’ll forget about it the second I hit post and never be able to find it you again……and so it goes
Stacy!! I get it, sister. You hit the nail on the head-Pinterest can be AMAZING, if used in the right timing with the right mindset. And yes, Pinterest has given all of us internet ADHD. I do the same thing when I’m not in “work mode”. I’m actually prepping a blog post for Thursday with some tips to help us use it in a healthy way. (I hope you’ll find your way back to read those:) Thanks for being so real and sharing your story.
I suffer from a different Pinterest problem. I pin things and never go back and look at them again. Ever! I always pin with great intentions and plans. (Reality check: I will never create a gallery wall or make that gluten-free chocolate cupcake in a mug.) I’m a great pinner, but no so hot at actually going back to see what is there.
Dee, that is a problem for me too! It’s like we are pin collectors…Maybe sit down on Saturday afternoon and do some “spring cleaning” for you boards. Get rid of the stuff you know you won’t do (like the gluten free mug cake-bahahaha! I totally relate.) I try to do this at least once every 6 months but have really slacked this year. I’m actually going to be talking about this habit in my next post:) Thanks for sharing with us.
Great article! I recently did #4 and created a board titled “Projects Summer 2015”. I placed 5 pins on it and have already done 3 of the projects. Prior to that I was overwhelmed with ideas and didn’t know where to start.
Wow, that is amazing Lori!! Well done. I like that you even gave yourself a timeline by naming the board “Summer…”. Thanks for sharing:)
I can totally relate to that. Not sure if I ever had it but can see how addictive Pinterest can become. I limit my pinning to 30 a day with 15 in the morning and evening. I curate images from other resources in between if I see something I like. I find that my feed gets lots of pins which I’ve already pinned or seen. So that’s why I look somewhere else. It’s more about quality than quantity.
Setting time limits is a great idea, Karolina. Amen to the “quality over quantity”!
Yes yes yes!! The comparison trap will get you every time! Ha, I do the same thing with Instagram, way back when, most of my inspiration came from magazines, now I have infinite inspiration on the internet. I’m always thinking is this pretty enough? I’m thinking I need a fast!!!:)) you’re such a wise lady!! 🙂
Thanks, Noelle! Totally relate to all of what you said. Instead of thinking “Is this pretty enough?” we should try to say “Do I stinking love this, or not?” It would probably feel so freeing!
OMG, this is SO ME LATELY! and it’s crippling! I pin like mad, do nothing, and then decide I have to sell my house and move in order to get a home more suitable for my decorating ideas. That’s messed up, for real, so it was fun to read this post. I’d never thought of it that way at all and you are so on, sister! If you need a real-life example, it’s me. Ha! Thanks for encouraging the “step back” and “get real.”
The struggle is real, Poppy! I feel like once we can “name” it, we can realize when and how it’s affecting us. So glad you stopped by today:)
Katherine A. says
I have searched for the perfect rug for six years. I love that you keep bringing it up as a mental problem, b/c ugh, it is such a problem! New to your blog, but it seems like you do things with reasonable prices and alas, the beautiful rugs we long for don’t fit in the reasonable price range. Still trying to find “the one” on craigslist or in a random store in a random town on a random trip, but for now, I’ve definitely settled with workable and thankfully, the rooms have turned out pretty anyway!
Katherine, rugs are so HARD!! I get it. I totally get the 6 year search. Good for you on making due and finishing the room until your Prince Charming rug comes along. (And if he never does, you can still enjoy those rooms!) Thanks for stopping by and saying “hello”:)
Sometimes I think to myself that I’m pinning and not doing. That’s when I put down the tablet and get into action. Any internet activity can be a real time suck if we aren’t careful. It really needs to be kept as a leisure activity….when priorities have been met first. Or limited before you get rolling ,or in between when your taking a break….key word is limited.
That’s very smart of you to recognize your own patterns and decide to shake things up, Lenore! And yes…don’t we all get sucked in at times? Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tips!
kerry b. says
Great article! I am pinning it now. Haha!!
Hah! Ironic but understandable:) Thanks, Kerry!
Jayne P. Williams says
I guffawed! That is me! I absolutely adore Pinterest, My son asked me why I have 25K pins! What am I doing? But, really I have been searching for the perfect room. I have successfully done my living room, dining room, entry way, and even my kitchen. My bedroom is the room where I have difficulty! Cannot figure out where to start, what to choose and how to get there. Had the same trouble drawing my son! I could draw anyone, but NOT my son. I suppose when it’s personal I freeze! Suggestions?
I GET it, Jayne! Sometimes the things we feel the most emotional connect towards also have the most internal resistance against. (It’s like some kind of creative law or something!) My advice? Start editing those pins. Delete ones that don’t truly reflect your style. Set up a new board just for your bedroom as a “moodboard”. Pin anything that reflects how you want the room to feel. Then once you have a sense of the mood, create a second board for the bedroom where you’ll narrow down specific patterns, colors, furniture style, and eventually the items you are seriously considering for the room. If that doesn’t give you clarity, shoot me an email and we can chat about decor coaching. Sometimes having another set of eyes and someone to help you bring your vision to life is the best way to make things happen faster! All my best:)
Jayne P. Williams says
wow! thanks, and I’ll start doing just that…also, I would be happy to consult with you…how to get in touch?
I have gone thru this same thing. I actually had an epiphany about this myself a while back. Instead of pinning that day, I went back to the very beginning of my pins and read thru them to see why I was drawn to them. If I can’t see it now, then I just delete it. I now write down the thing in the pin that I really love, especially if it isn’t that obvious! Like if I like a light fixture, but would make different design decisions in a pin…I explain exactly what I like and would change in that pin to suit my sensibilities. I have A LOT of pins so I can’t say I have gone thru every pin I have ever pinned, but I do actually go back in once a month and look thru.
I also take the time to look thru my boards after a few months and am surprised to see the same type of look coming thru. I pin to lots of different type boards, like: decor, organization, party ideas, holidays & DIY. It really helps when I decide to redecorate to go back thru and see what colors I have been drawn to. I realized how much I love turquoise and aqua colors after looking thru my pins. I love French country, but I was able to mix other aspects of country decor that go with that decor as well after looking thru my boards! What you pin can be a hidden window to yourself, at least it is for me!
Heather Freeman says
Sorry for the late reply, Jenna. YES! SO many good points. You totally described the process that I walk several of my clients through; kuddos for discovering this yourself! Pinterest can most definitely help you uncover your style. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts:)
oh my gosh! Everything in this post hit home. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Today, while watching the playoffs, I am going to clean/purge my Pinterest boards and begin concentrating on actually making a plan and getting it done.