Don’t Save Your Stickers

Don't save your stickers for another day.

When I was a kid I thought getting stickers was just about the best thing ever.

So pretty. So brightly coloured. So…finite.

Once a sticker was peeled off the backing sheet, stuck on the page and admired for a moment, it was done.

No longer usable, the excitement always dissipated.

And if you tried to peel it off the page and re-stick it, you’re likely to peel the paper away too – leaving you with a ripped page and a useless sticker. (Trust me.)

Why Am I Telling You This?

I was a pretty cautious kid. I didn’t want to make mistakes, disappoint anyone, regret a decision. I distinctly remember crying at night for at least a week because I decided I didn’t want to do gymnastics class anymore and was terrified that mum and dad would be upset.

They totally weren’t.

So do you know what I did with the majority of my stickers?

I left them on their backing paper and tucked them away somewhere safe. Maybe in my desk drawer, or a dedicated sticker box.

Saved them for a special occasion. A project that was worth using them on.

And guess what?

I never used them.

When I was older and being forced by my mum choosing responsibly to tidy up and declutter my bedroom, I found these abandoned stickers and admired them once again.

But I thought the time to use them had passed. I was a grungy teenager. I was into Presidents of the United States of America, op-shopping and basketball. (An enigma is what I was.) Stickers had no place in my life.

The opportunity to experience the joy and beauty and creativity of using them had passed me by.

Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t discover too late, that you had something of joy and beauty at your fingertips, only to let it slip by, too afraid to “use it all up” or break it.

We’re Not Talking About Stickers Anymore, Are We?

If you keep one thing in mind this weekend – it’s this:

Don’t Save Your Stickers.

Use them. Whenever the mood strikes. With wild abandon if possible.

Enjoy the rush. Embrace the feeling of living in the moment.

It’s a well-covered cliche, but important enough to state again:

  • Use the “good” china. So what if it gets chipped? It’s being used. That’s what it’s for.
  • Drink your cheap wine from the wine glasses you received as a wedding gift – they’re just gathering dust otherwise.
  • That perfect-coloured lipstick? Put it on! You will look beautiful, even if you’re in your pyjamas.
  • Let your kids paint. Isn’t it there to be used?!
  • Wear that fancy perfume – even if it’s only to playgroup.
  • Jump in muddy puddles. And stop pretending you don’t enjoy it. Who cares about the laundry?! You’re the one who does it anyway.

Stop Saving Your Stickers, Folks.

Otherwise one day, you will rediscover them, only to realise the time to use them has passed.

Why not make ‘one day’, today?  


This post first appeared on July 13, 2012. The message is more important to me now than ever, so I wanted to share it again.

23 Responses to Don’t Save Your Stickers

  1. Great to have you back Brooke, I have missed you. And yes, I certainly am guilty of saving stickers, and yes, I will get some out today, wash them and start using them! Brilliant post.

  2. Well..I was a big collector of stickers (and a whole lot of other things). I’m not anymore, but still keeping them arranged and safe for the “big occasion” :)
    When I got pregnant, I thought ok, time to get rid of all these things to make room for the baby. But then I had this idea to keep them for her. She is 1 year old now, and I have literally hundreds of stickers waiting for her…
    I truly can’t decide if it is a good or a bad thing :(

    I think she will be happy to stick them everywhere in her room a few years from now. However, this makes me think that I should keep a lot of other things for her too, you know, just in case she would want to play with them…

  3. I love this Brooke!
    Although I don’t have really fancy china, and I ‘decluttered’ the gold-rimmed wedding present wine glasses years ago (don’t tell my MIL that tho’!!), it’s something that I do think of often.
    Like your stickers, I’ve saved up a good amount of both scrapbook papers and fabric over the last several years, with great plans of special projects I wanted to use them for. Now, I look at them this way too. Rather than keep them for a project that very well may never happen, they’re just there for the kids and I to use at any time. And if I do run out… what an awesome excuse for a shopping expedition to the local scrapbook or fabric shop!!!!

  4. I had the same experience recently. I came across some unicorn stationary that it got when I was 10 (28 years ago!!!!!). I never used it because it was the most beautiful paper I had ever seen. Then as I grew older unicorns were not what I was interested in, yet I held onto the paper because if how I had felt about it before. A few weeks ago I came across it in my filing cabinet and I wrote a few letters to people and used it all up. I gave them each a few blank pages to use for themselves and they all called to tell me how it had made their day to receive it. Since then it has spurred me to use some of my favourite things in everyday uses and it makes me so happy. I agree, don’t save your stickers! Use them up!

  5. Funny thing about the ‘use the good china’ line….

    Just this past weekend (Thanksgiving in Canada), I was at my mother’s house, the house I grew up in. I am urging her to start getting rid of the 40 years of stuff in that three story, 4 bedroom house, that she lives in alone with her cat since my dad died. She really wants to move and unclutter, just the idea of dealing with all that stuff is a bit much for her.

    So we tackled part of the basement. And there, in a BIG box, was my paternal grandmother’s wedding china. From the early 30’s. MY mother had been holding on to her mother-in-law’s china for 40 years because she felt she needed to. We used other good china sometimes, but never that that i can recall. And it is actually quite pretty.

    So, i volunteered to take it. But i told her “if i take it, we are using it, like, every day. I will give away the dishes i have and replace them with this. It might even go in the dishwasher.” She said “FANTASTIC! USE IT! if it is too old and doesn’t really survive, well, then, that’s okay too. Better than crumbling away in a box somewhere for another 50 years.”

    so, we are.

  6. Yup, I still have TONS of stickers and I buy more every once in awhile. I use them to decorate envelopes and presents. And now my son is getting into them too. :) stickers make me happy!!

    But it a a great point to use what you have!! I fall into that trap a lot.

  7. Still use them! I found a bunch a few years back–when I had my fitness studio, I’d randomly put them on people’s notes. Who doesn’t love a “you own $120 for Pilates this session” with a mermaid sticker next to it? I need to remember to stick them on birthday gifts for little kids and backs of card envelopes too. I loved this post… it was so inspiring. Seize the day to get unstuck! I put on my new lipstick before typing this , too. ;-)

  8. Thank you for reposting this timely message. As you shared, stickers are a great example of saving for that special time and it also goes for other “special” items in our life. We don’t live in a museum (and who would want to) so enjoy today what you have in storage or give it to someone who you know would enjoy it more! They are only things after all. Don’t put off to tomorrow a need that you can meet by sharing your stored excess today – and in return receive the gift of joy from giving.

  9. Dear Brooke,

    Your writing always gives me a fresh perspective on things and this post really resonated with me. After reading it I put together a little goody bag of stickers & greeting cards and pretty notepaper that I had loved and was saving for a ‘proper’ occasion and gifted it to a little girl I know. Her parents would not be able to include odds & ends like this in their budget so it just made my day to think of her having a wee bit of fun with it. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  10. Yep, I did the exact same thing! I always lived with the worry of regret and then I married someone who likes to savor the moment and everything about it. He most certainly used his stickers! ;) I discovered he enjoys life so much more than I did as a kid. I’ve learned a lot in 12 years of marriage from him. Now…I’m teaching him about simple living and he’s coming around. But, I encourage my kids to enjoy whatever it is (stickers, craft project, etc) that they get when they get it. We’re given one life…let’s live it! :) Great post!

  11. Great post. A few months ago I started using a couple of afghans I had been saving – much better way of remembering people than keeping them (the afghans, not the people!) in a box in the garage.

  12. Love this. I bought a white trench coat that I loved, but since I had a toddler I was always too afraid to wear it. So I just admired it for a year in the closet, still in the plastic. Finally I decided to give it a go and wear it. On my way out to he car to go to work I spilled hot tea down the front of it. I couldn’t believe that it was me that stained it and so immediately. You know what happened? Nothing, I wore it got it cleaned and I never had to worry about its preciousness again. Made me realize that you never know what to expect by you can’t go through life keeping everything in its wrapper. I think of that coat anytime I start to “save something for a special occasion”

  13. This was a beautiful and thoughtful insight into not just your life, but mine too. Thank you! I hereby declare that you are awesome and have brightened my day.