The carrying case for my digital piano. For years, I resisted putting stickers on my case. I wasn’t sure I wanted them there, because I don’t usually prefer the scattered disorganization, and I knew once the first sticker got stuck, there was no going back. Finally, when my daughter was about 5 years old and irresistibly cute, I caved and let her stick a few.
Like all of us, over the years I kept accumulating stickers. When I bought a piece of outdoor gear, they gave me a sticker. Or stopped at the farmer’s market, they had a sticker. And for sure every time I took my kids to Moe’s Bagel, there was guaranteed to be a flower-shaped sticker involved.
Then an unexpected thing happened. Since there was an ‘approved’ place to stick the stickers, that became the place they went. Instead of setting them aside in a pile on my desk or the bookshelf, whenever we got a few stickers we would put them on the music case. The result? A little more personality for the case, and (just as notably) a little less clutter in the house.
There was a lesson in there for me. Once I decided where the stickers belonged, it became automatic – I didn’t have to think about where to put a new sticker.
The same now goes for incoming paper mail – there’s a dedicated basket.
The same goes for kids drawings and sketches – there’s a dedicated bin.
The same goes for ideas and nuggets that I come across on the radio or podcast or book or email or website – there’s a notebook on my phone and an Evernote page on my computer to capture those thoughts in real-time, partly so they don’t get lost, but also so they don’t become clutter.
Now I don’t have to think about where things go when they enter my life, because for the most part, I already know. Make sure there’s a place to put the stickers, and life flows just a little more smoothly.