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No joke, a Pinterest addiction really can make your life easier

Sarah grew up in Monterey, CA and now lives in Los Angeles. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying a good book, fine wine, sunflowers and long walks on the beach.

You might be late to the Pinterest party, but you still have time to utilize all its wonders

Pinterest, it's that online corkboard that let's you save a bunch of stuff from the internet — but what is it, really?

Even though Pinterest took off like a lightening bolt back in 2011, we can kinda understand why some people are still hesitant to get on board. With so many social media networking sites, it hardly seems necessary — or time wise  — to start yet another profile.

But if you've yet to start pinning, you might want to reconsider. Unlike other sites like Facebook or Instagram that can be a huge time suck with no payoff, Pinterest can actually help you do things better.

So what is Pinterest exactly, you ask? The site defines itself as "The world’s catalog of ideas. Find and save recipes, parenting hacks, style inspiration and other ideas to try." While that may be the effective short answer, it doesn't really encapsulate everything that Pinterest is.

More: 9 Pinterest fails that'll make you feel better about your own DIY disasters

Pinterest is a virtual inspiration board than can help you hack your way through throwing an amazing party, feeding your family, creating a new look for yourself, and even redecorating your home. It's a totally easy way to save all of the cool things you see online in one place — especially with the Pinterest browser button — and you can search the site itself for even more amazing ideas. You can follow friends, celebs and even networks like HGTV so you can easily "repin" their ideas that will show up on your front page.

Still feeling lost? Let's walk through it.

How do I get started pinning?

You might be late to the Pinterest party, but you still have time to utilize all its wonders
Image: Giphy

Once you've created your account, install the above mentioned browser button to your toolbar. This magic little button is what allows you to pin things you find on the interwebs. Or instead of using the "Pin It" browser bar button, you can copy and paste links from sites you like, and it will search for photos from that page, which you can then pin. You can also upload photos from your computer.

And while you can certainly pin from anywhere on the internet, it's super easy to browse Pinterest's categories to find pins within the app. Just click on the three lines in the top right corner of the website, and you can choose from a variety of headings, from architecture to weddings. Click on a pin you like, and then hit the red "save" button. This is called "repinning." Once you pin it to your board, you can click on the pin and it opens you straight up to the outside website with all of the info you need.

More: 10 Surprisingly awesome kid science projects from Pinterest

You'll want to start creating your virtual pinboards as you go, to keep things organized and ideas easy to find. Some of my boards include "Vintage inspiration" (decorating ideas inspired by mid-century style) and "Thanksgiving desserts."

You can also cruise Pinterest and pin links from your smart phone using Pinterest for iPhone or Android.

Navigating the page can seem a little daunting at first, but stick with it through your first couple pins and it gets easier, promise.

What am I suppose to pin?

You might be late to the Pinterest party, but you still have time to utilize all its wonders
Image: Giphy

It seems overwhelming, but this is the fun part — you really can pin anything you want. And beyond fun, I honestly feel like Pinterest has made my life better and easier in many ways.

For instance — I, myself, have an autoimmune condition that makes life extremely difficult if I eat the wrong things, and Pinterest has been a godsend since I started the Autoimmune Protocol Diet.

But Pinterest is also super helpful even if you don't have health restrictions. It's chock full of fun drink recipes, tasty treats and all kinds of fun stuff for the holidays. It also was pretty clutch when my significant other got a little whiney about having the same lunch every day for work — a quick search for "healthy work lunch ideas" opened me up to a whole new world of opportunities for him.

More: Don't try this at home! 25 popular Pinterest pins that will end in failure

And don't even get me started on Fake Ginger's insanely delicious account.

You might be late to the Pinterest party, but you still have time to utilize all its wonders
Image: Fake Ginger/Pinterest

Pinterest has also helped me find the perfect dress to wear to a fall wedding, decorate my home in the ever-so-trendy farmhouse style popularized by Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper, and even taught me new graphic design skills to make me more valuable at work. And I'm not a parent, but I know from friends and family that there are a ton of parenting hacks within the Pinterest walls as well (Wunder Mom is an awesome one to follow).

You might be late to the Pinterest party, but you still have time to utilize all its wonders
Image: Rachael Wunderlich/Pinterest

It can take a hot minute to get the hang of creating boards — they need to be the perfect combination of general and specific — but the more you pin, the better your boards will become.

Are you already on board with Pinterest? What are some of your favorite accounts to follow?

Originally published Jan. 2012. Updated Oct. 2016.

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