How to Use Pinterest

Over the past few months I’ve had many people ask me how to use Pinterest. It is great for wasting time on the internet, but can it actually help you live better?

I’ve seen several posts lately sharing how to use Pinterest, but those have been geared toward bloggers and how they can use as a social networking tool. While Pinterest is a great tool for bloggers, you don’t have to have a blog to use Pinterest.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. I like to compare to a binder that you would use to store all the awesome ideas you found in magazines. Instead of keeping a binder full of magazine pages it is all virtual. Less clutter = I love it!

How Do I Join Pinterest?

Just sign in via Facebook, Twitter, or with an email address.

I’m In….. Now What?

Invite your friends. Someone invited you, so how about inviting someone you know who wants to get in?

Get familiar with the site.

When you log in you’ll see pins from the people you follow. If you aren’t following anyone go to your name and click on the arrow. A drop down menu will appear and you can click on “find friends” to see which of your friends are on Pinterest. The more people you follow the more Pins you see on the main page.

You can also follow “boards.” This means you aren’t following a person just their pins on a specific board will show up in your stream, but pins from their other boards will not show up.

After you are following your friends you can create your own boards. Boards are how you categorize what you are pinning. When you start, Pinterest has boards already created for you. You can use them or create your own.

If you aren’t sure what boards you want to create you can always create as you go.

Pin It.

Once you find something you want to pin, hover over the image and the “Repin” option will appear. Remember everything on Pinterest as been pinned before. So you are repinning items when you are on the Pinterest site.

Click on Repin and a drop down menu will appear. Remember to chose the correct board so you can easily find your pin later. You also have the option to write a short description. If you want to increase the chances of other people finding and repinning your pin, take a second to write up a quick description.

How do I Pin Stuff I Find on the Web?

Some websites have a “Pin It” button at the bottom of their posts.

Pin It

Click that button to pin the article.

If the website doesn’t have a “Pin It” button you can add a one to your bookmarks bar on your browser. It just takes a minute to install.

Pinterest Is Imaged Based

You can’t pin something that doesn’t have an image on the webpage. So if you find a great article on Martin Luther King Day you probably won’t be able to “Pin It” unless it has a large image accompanying the article. (You can always use StumbleUpon for bookmarking articles without images)

Pinterest Etiquette

If you are pinning a post from the blog make sure you write a short description, but do not copy and paste the entire post. Pinterest is a bookmarking site, not a syndicated site. Copying and pasting an entire article into the description is like stealing the content from that site.

How Exactly Will Pinterest Help Me ?

I’ll be the first to admit Pinterest can be a huge time waster! It is easy to sign on and get lost in the sea of delicious desserts, sewing projects, and home decor. If you spend all your time pinning and not doing, what’s the point?

Pinterest is a great source for inspiration. You can also use it to bookmark recipes you find on the web, DIY projects, or even homeschool units. My friend Andrea uses it to find inspiration for outfits, then takes the images on her phone to discount clothing stores and finds outfits based on her pinterest board.

Can you live your entire life without Pinterest? Absolutely! But I have found great recipes, sewing tutorials, homemade Christmas gift ideas, and home decor ideas much quicker than if I were just browsing the entire internet. So in a way, it could be a time saver….

To manage my time on Pinterest I usually set the timer on my phone and limit myself to ten or fifteen minutes for browsing. I consider it part fun, part research and try to use my time wisely when I’m online.

There is a lot more you can do on Pinterest, but hopefully this tutorial will get you started pinning and finding great ideas to help you get organized, eat well, and live better!

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.


  1. angela wimbish says:

    Thx for posting this!!! Question: i’ve sent my sister an invite, but she is not on FB (gasp!)….when she tries to sign up it tells her to log in with FB or twitter so she cant get in 🙁 is there a way around this that you know of? Thx so much 🙂

  2. I love Pinterest but honestly try to stay off of it because it is such a time-suck. I love your idea of setting a timer, I am definitely going to start doing that.

  3. I am already on Pinterest but I have a friend that isn’t but would love to be. From what I can see, you have to be on Facebook to join it. is that correct? or is there another way?
    Thanks for all your posts – I love following your blog.

  4. Thank you for the review. I have asked for the invitation in Pinterest but sees no one invite me. lol.

  5. Thanks for the great tutorial. I found and linked to your blog after writing a post about how to add the “Pin It” button bookmark using an iPad. My wife discovered Pinterest, but then could get started so it was new to both of us. It’s not that hard but they don’t make it easy, guess they need an app. Your tutorial was just a great compliment to my post and helpful to any readers so thank you.

  6. I am not a blogger and I love pinterest! Funny thing is the seven layer dip is something I pinned to pinterest last week from Girl Who Ate Everything. LOL

  7. I love Pinterest! As a preschool teacher I find it to be very helpful in bring fresh, new ideas into my classroom. I’m a very visual person so it’s much easier for me to ‘see’ an idea rather than read about it.

  8. I love how you said, “If you spend all your time pinning and not doing, what’s the point?”. I was doing just that (for about 6 months of just pinning). So I decided to challenge my lack of creativity & overall craftiness with a year-long adventure in pinteresting!
    From December 1st, 2011- November 30th, 2012, I will choose anything on pinterest which peaks my interest.
    I will either be posting via blogs, videos, Facebook, or twitter, and will most likely be following this challenge:
    Monday: outdoors we will go/get crafty
    Tuesday: fashionable kiddo/crafty kiddo
    Wednesday: cooking it up
    Thursday: organizational chaos
    Friday: fashionable momma
    Saturday: crafty creation
    Sunday: baking away
    Whether I have 1 follower or many, I am doing this to learn a few things! As of now, I am not so good at cooking or crafting, can piece together an outfit at times, and usually know what I like. I hope that in doing this I will be stretched in my creativity, have fun while doing it, and show my two girls that it is never to late to learn or try something new!
    God Bless my husband and family while I do this, I’m sure there will be many times when I (or they) will want to throw in the towel!

  9. I wish I read this months ago when I first joined! I had no idea what to do then. Now I love it and could spend all day on it. I don;t but I could.

  10. Please send me a pinterest invite

    Thank you:)

  11. I’m a stay at home wife, I’m always looking for more to do! I’m sure this will help me out greatly! I love finding new recipes, new exercises, etc!

  12. Thank You for the Pinrest Link!!

  13. Nice post!

  14. What I don’t understand is how to get a “pin” when I’m outside of Pinterest. Basically if I’m surfing the net and find something I want to “pin” how do I do that? Also, how do I load something I personally did and took a picture of it? I sure can’t seem to find a “help” section on Pinterest!

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      You’ll need to download the Pin It app for your browser’s toolbar. I know it works in Chrome and Safari, not sure about Firefox.

    • Patrice –
      In the upper right hand corner of Pinterest, you’ll see in black
      “About” – open that and you will find the Help section. Directions to download the “Pin it” button is found in their “Goodies” page.

      Once you have the Pin it button installed in your tool bar – anytime you see something you want to pin, just go to your tool bar and click the button. A box will open up w/ all the picture available to pin – click the one you want. From there you’ll be prompted to write a description and categorize the pin.

      To load your own picture – click on the “add” button (also top/right of screen) and then click “upload a pin” — a box will open for you to browse your files to upload your pics.

  15. Please send me an invite. I have been patiently waiting for nearly 2 weeks now, with no response from Pinterest after requesting an invite from their site…
    Would greatly appreciate it!
    Jen777Wolfie {at yahoo dot com}

  16. I just linked this article to a post I created. 🙂

  17. Hi, I liked this page, but need so much more! I got kinda started and now I seem to have all of these people I don’t want (well DO I have them, or are they just suggestions of everybody and his dog I ever talked to?? some are FB friends, some were apparently suggested?) How do I UNPIN stuff! and get rid of a ton of people I’m not interested in pinning etc?

  18. Hey I have also been waiting for two weeks as well!
    My email is
    Thanks so much:)

  19. Let’s say I see a recipe or maybe a knitted hat that I would like to have the recipe or the pattern…how do I find that?

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      Usually clicking on the image will take you to the original source. Sometimes it takes a few clicks because people don’t pin the source, but rather pin a pin…. but usually you can find it if you just keep clicking.

  20. Is it totally free to use Pinterest? Thanks!

  21. Heard this term from a couple people in the last week and checked out the site! Requested an invite and then already spent an hour going through pins! What great ideas and inspirations! Timer idea is definitely a must! Could someone send me an invite so I don’t have to keep waiting! Thank you!

  22. I’ve requested an invite from Pinterest but can’t seem to create an account. Please send me an invite. Thank you!

  23. I found a pretty good tutorial websitel for how to pinterest successfully ( Pinterest is by far the most exciting thing that’s come along in a LONG time. Learning to leverage it for personal or business use is well worth the time.

  24. Do you have to be on FB to be a member of PIN?

  25. Extreamly helpfull. Also i liked that you will invite people. Thanks a ton!!!

  26. Tutorial good but I am still having issues. Clicked on “pumpkin dog biscuits” and only get a picture and where original pins came from-clicked on original and still don’t get the actual recipe. What am i doing wrong? I just signed up and am really confused.

    • Click on the picture, then when that picture pops ups larger, click on the image again. That should take you to the original recipe. If not, they didn’t pin it properly.

  27. How do I UNPIN??

  28. Please, please, how do I view comments sent to me by a follower?

  29. Susan Brandli says:

    Can you open Pinterest without downloading everything? We are on limited data usage and Pinterest eats deep into that. Is there anyway to avoid the downloads. I have tried not following the links that doesn’t seem to help. We can track our data usage while I am on PInterest and it is a monster. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    Susan B.

  30. I’ve just favorited your post How to Use Pinterest because it’s so helpful. I am going to recommend it to my online friends as well. They are going to love this website! Thanks again.

  31. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment
    is added I get four e-mails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  32. I think it a shame that I have to go outside of Pinterest to find out how to use it. That speaks volumes about the company and their TOTAL lack of customer service! That said, I was sent an invite to go to a private/secret board. I “accepted [sic] invitation.” I logged in. Logging in took me to a page full of boards (I guess that’s what they are….. ). Did NOT take me to the secret board I was invited and accepted to view.

    They have NO customer service, their ‘help’ board is a JOKE and I still have no idea of what I was invited to look at. VERY frustrating and unlike most of the comments on this thread, I DISLIKE Pinterest because they are NOT TRANSPARENT – their corporate phone number does not even say their name and an automated recording comes on and says they are not taking calls! How’s THAT for service?!!!


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