What's Your System
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System: Pin Your Inspiration

Above my desk is a messy cork board crammed with photos, doodles, postcards, reminders and general bon mots. Looking up at this smattering of inspiration every day warms me and grounds me. It reminds me where I’ve been and where I want to go.

A rainbow drawn by my niece; the band of 14-year-old girls I coached; a postcard of author Eudora Welty; a scrawled love note from my husband; Stefan Sagmeister’s manifesto which includes “Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.”

(The April date on the calendar proves that some of this stuff goes up and I never really look at it again.)

I’ve had a wall of inspiration since I could apply scotch tape to ripped-out pages from Tiger Beat. Here’s the highschool version behind the 16-year-old me, almost exclusively music-related (and yes, that’s a cassette tape in my hand). That my parents let me affix radio bumperstickers to my wall…wow.

And like everything good these days, there’s now an online version.

In the last few months I’ve spent/ wasted/ enjoyed about two hours making lists and searching for photos to categorize on Pinterest.com. The year-plus-old site/app/ social curation tool allows users to create visual collections by “pinning” things visuals they like on the web.

The reason it’s compelling, beyond my love for thumbtacking, is probably the reason I (very) occasionally blog here: I love systems, lists, collections and making categories.

Pinterest starts you off with a few categories like “Books Worth Reading” or “Products I Love” but it’s fun to come up with your own categories. My husband sent me a website for the minimalist-ly wacky Mirrorcube Hotel in the Laplands of Sweden which spawned the grouping “This is What I Call a Trip.” I added in a link to a photo of a messy mudbath in Cartagena from new travel website Fathom, the spiraly L’Hotel in Paris and a photo of me snoozing next to a sea lion on the Galopagos Islands.

Eh, it all makes some strange sense… to me.

Just as fun as crafting your own categories is scoping out what others are doing. I really dig the typography pinboards from David Schwen, the colorful beauty and design clippings from Joy Cho and am a sucker for the ridiculously cute puppy collection called “Woof” from my old AOL colleague Kara Sirmans.

The image aggregation becomes like a visual tapestry. One picture may tell a story, but the collection of many pictures tells a story about the collector.

Things that make her smile, ponder, or dream of sleeping in a treehouse.

I’d love to see what you’re pinning on Pinterest….

Here’s a good user’s guide to getting started.

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