Why Pinterest Is an OCD / Hoarding Enabler

pinterestIt’s been a while since I walked home. We’ve either had snow days, holidays, I got a ride, or we were home sick. So last evening, I was actually quite happy to walk home, despite not being able to feel my face after 15 minutes.

Walking provides the perfect time to continue thinking about Pinterest and why I continue to waste so much time on the site instead of actually doing things, like mending clothes or writing blog posts. Well, maybe wasting is harsh, but it isn’t productive time spent in the sense that I have physical evidence of having accomplished something at the end.

Except… Well… To be fair, I have implemented several pins with decent success:

I should probably keep track. Others do, such as Pinterest Fail and Pintester. I won’t lie. It’s nice when the pins work out, and even better when they’re a disaster.

Also on the positive side, it’s essential to put together a creative brainstorming board before working on a design project and Pinterest is perfect for that. When the time comes to renovate our kitchen, for example, I am going to be very happy that I have a true and time-tested representation of what I like so that I don’t get distracted in the very large home improvement store. And, in terms of making sure poor choices don’t end up in our home or closets, it’s been great to create boards that show truly what we’re interested in, that we can reference before we buy something we aren’t going to get the most use out of.

Still, it’s not good when I get sucked in at the cost of keeping things up at home. To know why this happens, I have to figure out what it is about Pinterest that’s so addictive, specifically to me. And this means I’ve been thinking about it a bit.

During my walk home last night I had a eureka moment. Pinterest is like a giant pile of Legos, or shoes, or clothes on the floor and I have this deep-rooted, emotional need to organize it. It’s the process of sorting that my OCD brain has fixated on. The sorting is actually a very soothing practice for me. The problem is, unlike folding laundry or doing the dishes, there is no end to it. There are millions of pins that need to be sorted. I could potentially be on the computer, sorting away, for years. This is, of course, not possible.

Then, there is the need to endlessly collect things. More pins, more boards, more urge to make sure every facet of my persona is represented, my boards becoming an extension of my physical space. More pins, more pins, and more pins. The underlying need to possess, the panic of wondering if I’ve missed an essential pin. It’s sort of obsessive and although they’re just little pictures, it’s basically virtual hoarding, and it’s a little scary. Obviously time for a break.

Taking my new-found realization of how Pinterest is enabling my OCD/hoarding to run rampant, two very destructive behaviors that I like to keep in check lest they escape and wreck havoc in my physical world, I’m now trying to ween myself off and am only using Pinterest for specific inquiries. For example, last night I looked up cat trees because Loki has destroyed our sofa and obviously needs a better place to claw. We have a chair that no one sits on, therefore the rule is it should go, and in its space, we can put a cat tree. Cat trees are expensive so we’d like to make one ourselves, ensuring it will fit perfectly in the space. Fortunately, there are lots of pins about cat trees so I’m confident we can whip one up.

I could have stayed up for hours more sorting the new pins in my feed but I put my phone down. There may be hope for me yet.

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