Olivia Newport Mom and Tag

Photo by Larry Mohr

My mother has never been one to leave her bed unmade. She just doesn’t do that. Ever. (I did not inherit that gene. Just so you know.)

My mother also is known to go on organizing binges. She went on one in her bedroom while I was visiting. I was minding my own business, working in the other room, when she announced,

“First I make my bed, then I pile things on top of it. I have a system.”

Lay the groundwork. First things first. What I immediately noticed about this system is the built-in motivation to get the job done. Mom is going to want to go to bed at some point—before day’s end. Whether she meant to or not, when she chose to use her bed as a tool, she chose to get the job done.

• Where do you pile things in your life? How do you like your system?