Next time you switch needles, keep the packet somewhere handy so you remember what kind you're using. Far easier than trying to read the tiny numbers on the needle, let alone remember if it's a ball point or sharp.
Oh and a piece of fabric wrapped around the machine with a little wadding underneath makes a great pin cushion in the handiest place. Not the prettiest, I know. And you'd get hate mail if you sent it out in a pin cushion swap, but it definitely keeps pins nearby when you need them.