EDIT – just discovered the fitness and food sections on Pinterest. I might have to up my time limit from five minutes to fifteen.
I have been purposely avoiding Pinterest for quite some time. From what I had heard, I knew that it could be the sort of site that could suck me in and turn into a major time waster, so I just avoiding going there in the first place. I don’t remember what convinced me to finally go check it out a few weeks ago, but I did. And sure enough, half an hour later I was still browsing around. Damn you, Pinterest.
I loved looking at wide-open, clutter-free rooms and clean kitchen counters. I got some good ideas for food storage, toy storage and garage organization. And seeing all of those neat spaces inspired me to get up and clean my own kitchen. So I did. After half an hour on Pinterest, I spent the next half hour making my kitchen sparkle and (sort of) look like the immaculate, minimalist kitchens that I had been eyeballing online.
But the next time I went to Pinterest, I found myself looking at all sorts of other stuff – crafty things like altered t-shirt dresses and refinished furniture and handmade birthday wall hangings. They all looked cute and crafty, but – yikes! I was over-inspired. If that’s not already a word, I’m coining it now. Inspiration is a great thing – if we put it to use and it makes our life (or someone else’s) better. But over-inspiration seems like it could just lead to… nothing at all except more browsing around online once our crafty DIY to-do list gets too long and becomes paralyzing.
Simplicity is awesome. But sometimes we tackle a DIY project in the name of simplicity and it ends up being way more complicated, time-consuming, and expensive (and maybe not as enjoyable) as we had planned. If it’s something you truly love doing, then by all means – do it. But if you’re forcing yourself to do crafty things because you think you should or because your friends are doing it, or because (fill in the blank)… you might want to ask whether you’d be better off without it in the first place, or looking on Craigslist or at a thrift store to see if you can find a used version of whatever it is. If you love quilting, make a quilt. If you just think you want to love quilting but actually hate it, go buy a quilt at a garage sale – if you actually need a quilt (that post is worth reading no matter what you think about quilts – and it’s funny!). Otherwise, carry on without a quilt.
I’ve been back to Pinterest a few times since then. I set a five minute time limit for myself, which keeps me from browsing around for ages (Why is it that time goes by so fast when we’re online? Why does it not go by that fast when we’re stuck in traffic? Questions to ponder…). And I focus on areas that can help me organize and simplify the life I already have/want. For example, I’m looking for good ways to organize toys in our playroom. We don’t have any furniture or shelving in there, so everything is on the floor. There has to be a better way. And of course, knowing me, it will have to be something I can buy used that won’t cost a lot of money.
But the problem with browsing around and looking at toy storage ideas is that it can easily lead to browsing around and looking at all sorts of other home improvements. Which can lead to jealousy or a desire to upgrade things that really don’t need to be upgraded. As an example – my kitchen is fine. It’s clean and orderly (and no longer contains a yeast packet that expired 8 years ago). My counters are clear (well, most of the time anyway) and I have ample space to work. My counters are laminate and my cabinets are plain light-colored wood. My stove has metal coil burners, and while I prefered the glass-top stove that we put in our old house, the one I have now works just fine. Nothing in my kitchen is fancy, but I’m able to cook all sorts of awesome food there, and everything works just the way it should. I could spend a ton of money making my kitchen look like something from a magazine. Or I could spend a ton of hours replacing the fronts of my cabinet doors with old barn wood and painting our dining room table to give it a crafty “distressed” look. But I’m not going to. Because I would rather spend that money and time doing something else.
So while I think it’s awesome to see all the crafty, amazing things people have done on sites like Pinterest and BetterAfter, I think it’s just as important to remind ourselves to be grateful for what we have and to allow ourselves to stop improving when everything is fine the way it is. So instead of browsing Craigslist to find a dresser that I can turn into a craft storage area, I’ll read this post and remind myself that my house feels much better with less furniture in it – even if it’s impossibly cute, crafty furniture. And I’ll keep getting rid of clutter instead of trying to organize it. And I’ll find some second-hand shelves that will work just fine to store toys in the playroom. They probably won’t be amazing or worthy of being featured on a home-improvement website, but they will get the toys up off the floor, and that’s really all that I’m looking for.
I know a lot of my readers are big DIYers and into crafty stuff. So tell me. Do sites like Pinterest inspire you? Or do they just make you look around at your own stuff and feel like you need to change/upgrade everything in sight?
As an aside, I found this cookie recipe yesterday on Pinterest. They are amazing. They took five minutes. And our son loved squishing them with a fork to make the lines on them. I subbed walnuts instead of peanuts and used sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter, because that’s what we had on hand. They turned out fantastic.