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The Instagram hack that unexpectedly optimised my life.

Despite being a ‘digital native’ and working in social media for the past five years, the contents of my phone could be described as chaotic, disorganised and - quite frankly - a disgrace.

I don’t have a calendar, my contact list is shambolic, I have 70,000+ photos in my camera roll and the thought of organising my Spotify songs into playlists fills me with dread. I’m more likely to just shuffle through my ‘liked’ songs forever than ever categorise them based on moods. 

There is one exception to this rule (or lack-of-rule) and that’s my Instagram Saved Collection. I use this nifty feature religiously and have found its benefits touching almost every aspect of my life. Huge call, I know.

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The Saved Collection feature isn't new, but it’s one that I think is being severely under-used and misused. Its potential is virtually limitless as you can save things to different categories that you create yourself. It can be used for inspiration, organisation or life optimisation.

Here’s how you do it:

How to save a photo on Instagram. 

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And here’s how to find them:

Finding your Saved Collections. You can do big picture type planning like saving ‘home’ content for your future house renovation or get niche and make a 'Collection' for all the almond croissants you want to try in Sydney… for example… definitely a hypothetical…

I can't help it that I like a baked good. I’ve found that I can stick to this type of organisation over other inspiration-curating platforms for a few reasons. 

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Firstly, it’s really fun and satisfying. Organising your life using a visual medium like Instagram makes planning things way easier. I've found that even the act of saving things imprints it to my memory almost instantly.

Secondly, if you’re already spending time on Instagram, it makes sense to organise things within the same app, rather than say, popping over to Pinterest.

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And lastly, it makes it easier to share your ideas as you can easily find the posts that you’ve saved and DM them to other people within the app.

Here are 10 ways I use my Instagram 'Saved Collections', plus some accompanying screenshots so you can take a voyeuristic expedition inside mine. 

I've annotated some of my favourite things from each 'Collection' too. 

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1. Presents (for yourself and others)

I love buying the perfect present. It gives me so much satisfaction knowing I've picked something that someone will actually use. That's why when I'm scrolling Instagram, I'll save things I think will make an excellent gift to a 'Collection' so that I'm never stuck for an idea when the day comes around. I swear Instagram has some of the most creative presents that I would never have found on my own.

I am also guilty of saving things I want too, but that just means when someone asks what to buy me for my birthday I can tell them something specific rather than saying "nothing" (always a lie anyway) or make them struggle to find something themselves. 

1. Flex Factory Conversation Cards are the perfect gift for a friend you want to increase connection or intimacy with. They're great for gatherings, dinner parties or one on one chats. 

2. A tiny house getaway would make a thoughtful gift to a partner for an anniversary or a 'just because'.

3. A non-for-profit culinary poster will not only artfully bless the house of your friend, but you'll also be supporting FareShare, a national food charity that cooks for people in need. 

4. A handmade and framed wooden map that is personalised to a location meaningful to you. You could get it done of the place where you first met your partner or your favourite holiday destination, for example.

5. A photo book you can make from your phone. So chic and easy. 

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6. A UN certification of carbon offsetting. This one is a direct save from Jessie Stephens from Mamamia

2. Wishlist

Okay so I'm not sure whether this is technically a 'Saved Collection' or just part of Instagram's Shopping tab but you can still save these shoppable posts the same way and can still find them in the same place your 'Saved Collections' are.

My favourite thing about this is that it allows me to take a pause from instantly and impulsively buying something and reminds me that the product will still be there tomorrow.

It also allows me to see if something has dropped in price which is dangerous but also fab.

1. An opal ring from my favourite jeweller Sarah Gardner Jewellery will sit on my wishlist forever. It's just so beautiful.

2. A linen dress from DISSH is a staple in any wardrobe. I will definitely purchase with that dropped price too!

3. Restaurants I want to go to

Take the decision-making out of your next catchup or date night and head straight to your 'Saved Collection'. See a new restaurant opening? Save. See that your friend went to an interesting restaurant? Save. 

This one is a must for foodies as you'll spend less time choosing where to go for your next culinary adventure - meaning you'll have more time to peruse the menu online before you visit!

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1. The Apollo in Sydney is a Greek restaurant is an institution. I need to try these greens covered in a melty sack of cheese.

2. The world's first zero-waste cocktail bar, RE, has opened in Sydney and I simply must go.

4. Things to do

This is my favourite hack for having really fun plans whenever you need them. I always see things on Instagram like a comedy night that happens every second Wednesday in Newtown, for example - but how am I meant to remember this sort of thing when it comes down to it? 

There are honestly more concerts, gigs, galleries and pop-up events than I can poke a stick at in Sydney so I've found 'Saving' them creates a sort of 'cultural calendar' that I can refer to. It's also helped me diversity the things I do so that I don't always resort to 'dinner and drinks' all the time. 

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1. The Indigo Project is a psychology practice and creative space that runs courses that focus on developing emotional wellbeing. Some of their events also include life drawing and immersive sound baths. 

2. Lentil As Anything (in Sydney and Melbourne) is a not-for-profit, pay-what-you-feel, community-run restaurant and event space that holds weekly donation-based events like open-mic poetry, acro-yoga and salsa classes. 

3. Classical music concerts by candlelight. Need I say more?

5. Dinner Ideas

Why did no one tell me that as an adult I'd have to think of what to make for dinner every night for the rest of my life? Rude.

'Saving' delicious creations on Instagram means I don't have to think about what to eat and also saves me from getting Uber Eats out of desperation.

 

1. Cauliflower rice risotto. Genius.

2. Eggplant parmigiana topped with cream, mozzarella, feta and gruyère. Are. you. kidding. me. This has been 'saved' for so long but I am determined to make this cheesy masterpiece one day. 

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6. Meal Prep

I could scroll through #MealPrep on Instagram (all 13 million photos) and never grow tired. Something about perfectly proportioned lunches really gets me excited and makes me want to rid my desk of sad salads and replace them with layered mason jars and bento box lunch boxes.

Saving beautiful meal prep photos means I don't have to Google "Best Meal Prep Lunches" every Sunday night and see lists of uninspiring combinations of chicken and veg. 

1. Layered burrito jars? Inspired. Show-stopping. Delectable.

2. Zoodles and ragu. This looks like my winter meal prep sorted. 

7. Career inspiration

I don't really know how people usually follow their career inspirations (LinkedIn, perhaps?) but for me, working in social media means that I want to follow my career crushes on the very platforms they use for work. Which, more often than not, is Instagram.

I love saving their profiles and now and then I'll check in on what they're up to, what they've been writing and posting about and it makes me feel inspired every time. 

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1. Harling Ross is an awesome writer (ex-Man Repeller) and creative consultant. I basically want to be her and also have her hair. Preferably both. 

2. Johnny Harris is a videographer and journalist from Vox and I love the way he makes complicated world issues easy to understand. 

8. Home inspiration

This one is probably the least practical of all my 'Collections' but probably the most aesthetic and fun to put together. I may never afford these houses but at least I can look at them and dream.

I do like to think that these photos can help inform my personal home decor decisions, at least in a small way. 

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1. Some days I want to live in this Spanish villa with an olive tree.

2. Other days, it's this Californian desert escape.

9. Podcasts to listen to

I think I listen to two or three podcasts a day and I'm constantly on the hunt for new ones. 

But as I mentioned before, creating any sort of playlist on Spotify is off the cards for me, so I prefer to 'Save' the Instagram accounts of podcasts I like to listen to or want to listen to so I can remember them later. It may seem counter-intuitive but it works for me. 

1. Old Boys Club helps demystify Australian politics for a younger, millennial audience.

2. Bobo and Flex is one of the wackiest lifestyle/psychology podcasts I've ever listened to. Highly recommend. 

10. Hikes to do

This one is pretty specific to me as I love hiking. But just swap this one out to one of your hobbies and you'll always be ready to go for a weekend adventure.

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1. This photo of the Larapinta Trail in Alice Springs has been in my 'Saved Collection' for so long that I went and booked tickets this weekend while writing this article. KEEN. 

2. Camping in Mount Kosciusko would be so epic and this photo reminds me of that thought regularly.

Other ideas for 'Saved Collections' could include; holiday planning, workouts you want to try, quotes you want to remember and outfits you’re inspired by.

Do you have an inspired 'Saved Collection' on Instagram? Let me know in the comments!

Feature Image: Mamamia + Supplied.

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