Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hiding in Plain Sight: Bulletin Boards

I was asked recently what I thought about someone adding a bulletin board in their mudroom for posting important notes about events.  Yeah, it's a good idea, BUT it will only work if you are committed to removing old events, and not adding photos, inspiration, souvenirs, birthday cards, or cartoons. What happens is, left unchecked these "bulletins" begin multiplying so that nothing is visible at all. You will no longer be able to see that the PTA Bake Sale is Friday when it become covered by the receipt from the carpet cleaner. And I've seen this happen in workplaces.  Supervisors get irate when workers don't read notices on the bulletin board that are stacked with a sea of white paper and push pins.

Same idea- Ever watch CSI?  The investigators enter the scene and whether the lights are on or not, they whip out their flashlights and scan the murder scene.  This focuses their gaze in one tiny area at a time and allows them to notice details.  Looking at the room as a whole it can be easy to miss the important fine details.

Same idea- Where's Waldo or I Spy kids books are lots of fun.  Finding the one thing on a page of objects or Waldo in a sea of people helps kids learn to focus intently. But who wants to do that daily to find your keys?

Same idea- People with lots of clutter can fail to see a few more things added to the piles until the room becomes full and has lost its function.  People with clear counter tops can become annoyed when someone leaves a pile of mail out on the kitchen island.  Easy to notice, and easy to maintain.

When I work in the homes of many clients helping them clear clutter, I bring a tool bag of supplies we might need.  I worry sometimes about not putting things right back into my bag when I am finished, because they can easily disappear into the landscape around me.  By the way, has anyone seen my silver Sharpie?