Making Sense (and Order) Out of Pinterest

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!).

jvanderbeek_pinterest_editpin
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?

46 thoughts on “Making Sense (and Order) Out of Pinterest

    1. Scraps says:

      So many times I’ve forgotten I can search there directly until I end up there via a Google search. It’s just not my default, you know? When it first started getting popular, though, people repinned from Pinterest rather than pinning outside items and it wasn’t nearly the reference tool it is today.

  1. Amanda says:

    Great tips! I’m a Pinterest fanatic, and I feel like I learn something new every day about how to make my account more efficient and organized! 🙂

        1. Scraps says:

          I’m slowly getting my feet wet with Tailwind (via Hootsuite). It was nice to be able to set up pins to go up on their own without having to babysit them, but I’m sure I’m still missing some of the benefits of the service.

  2. Debra says:

    Pinterest is something I have a love hate relationship with. I love finding new things, but man it is overwhelming!

  3. Eileen xo says:

    I remember getting Pinterest and not really grasping the concept. now it is a business and I have obsess because group boards and my boards don’t match. I guess I am OCD

    1. Scraps says:

      I’m still getting into the business side of things, myself, and group boards (while I have some) just haven’t really clicked for me.

  4. siniciliya says:

    I have a feeling that I am missing something out … I only use pinterest for inspiration in photography, I still can’t figure out how it can be good for my digital tasks

    1. Scraps says:

      I suppose it depends on what sort of tasks you want it to help you with. Inspiration is one of Pinterest’s strongest features, but having a visual reference for projects is another. If you find articles you want to save somewhere, you can create a board just for them and have them all in one place, accessible anywhere you have the Internet.

  5. lydiaf1963 says:

    I had many of my recipes bookmarked in one browser or another, which was a big improvement over printing them out and saving them in a notebook! Pinterest is definitely a big help for organizing all the many things that interest me 🙂

    1. Scraps says:

      I love hard copies of recipes, but being able to pull them up on my phone (when our Internet doesn’t flake out on me) can’t be beat.

  6. Amber says:

    My blog business Pinterest is just starting up my my personal one I have to say is out of had. I have so many folders and pins. It would be nice to do some organizing.

  7. Natalia Pessoa says:

    Thanks for the tips, I didn’t know I could just edit where a pin was. Oops! I also like adding covers to my boards in a simple design, you can see that at my pinterest xoxomake!

  8. Kaleigh Codes says:

    This is a great post! I actually reorganized my entire Pinterest a few months ago. It took me a long time, but was worth it. I have been on pinterest for about 4 years now, so there was a lot of junk, broken links, etc.

    1. Scraps says:

      Yeah, I have a feeling it’s going to be a bit of a project to get everything the way I want it, but if I keep throwing bits of time at it I should be able to get it done!

    1. Scraps says:

      I tend to use it for keeping things but not so much browsing categories for a while. It’s a great way to keep up with what’s popular, though!

  9. Heather says:

    I really need to re-organize my boards. I jumped in when you needed an invite to be on the site, and it was strictly for personal, but now I have so many group boards, and other pins that it is a big mess!

    1. Scraps says:

      I need to start working Pinterest into my normal routine so I can be more active with the group boards. I forget about them for big chunks of time and that’s no good!

  10. seasidemermaid says:

    Pinterest is one of my favorite places for finding new recipes! I have a lot of cookbooks as well, but I mostly rely on Pinterest. That reminds me: I need to reorganize my Pinterest boards!

    – HilLesha

    1. Scraps says:

      I’ve had trouble finding quality recipes on Pinterest in the past–most seem to be of the cream of something soup and cream cheese variety, and that just doens’t work for me on so many levels. But the more original content we pin, the better the selection becomes!

  11. positivelystacey says:

    I need to find the time to do this! I really even need to go and fix some of my own pins from when I migrated my blog. So much in my life needs to be organized! I don’t know where oh where I am going to find all of the time. I really love your idea of folders. I used to teach art and created boards of art projects. I don’t teach art anymore, but I don’t want to delete them. I’d love to “file” them all together.

  12. Rose Sahetapy says:

    I really need to work on my pinterest. I have it but nearly never looked on it, maybe because it’s so unfamiliar for me. Thanks for sharing this, it’d be a true help for me.

Leave a Reply to OurFamilyWorld Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.