The Tiniest Game Changers

03 Feb 2021

By Anne Wolfe Postic

Do you ever feel stressed out over seemingly minor things? But you’re too distracted or lazy to do anything about them? Those of us who have ADD, depression or anxiety, no matter how mild, are often confronted with what Twitter user M. Molly Backes referred to in 2018 as “impossible tasks.” Legions of Twitter users read her words with a sigh of acknowledgement. The task is simple, it may only take a few minutes or a few dollars to solve, but somehow we just can’t do it. So the pressure builds, increasing our anxiety, depression, or inability to focus. And when we achieve the impossible task? We feel annoyed that we didn’t just do it sooner. To quote another internet celebrity, “It me.”

A few years ago, I finally dealt with the reusable bag issue. The ever-growing plastic bag stash lining the floor of my pantry filled me with low level dread. The pile grew higher, and eventually I’d toss them in the trash, which I knew was headed for a landfill, which increased my guilt. I had plenty of reusable bags, but much like my umbrella, the bags were never where I needed them. One day, I decided to hang them on the back door as soon as I unpacked and take them out to the car every time I left the house.
Simple, no?

It’s not a perfect system, because sometimes I’m too hurried (or lazy, in the interest of full disclosure) to even carry them out to the car, but since I have almost as many cute canvas bags as I did plastic ones, there are always some in the car and some on the door. And I discovered those tiny nylon bags, complete with their own attached storage pouch. Small enough to fit in any purse or jacket pocket, they expand to fit a lot. (IKEA has them for 99 cents. Treat yourself. Order ten today.) Problem solved.

But I digress. I really wanted to talk about shoehorns. Last October, I spent a month in Paris. This glorious trip happened thanks to my hoarding of travel miles, my ability to work from anywhere, and my wonderful French mother-in-law, who lives in South Carolina, but keeps a studio apartment in Paris, which she graciously let me use for a whole month. As you can imagine, Paris was full of wonders for this down-home girl from South Carolina. But there was also a shoehorn by the apartment door, and it changed my life.

It rains in Paris in October, and in a one-room apartment, the last thing you want is wet, dirty shoes all over the floor. My mother-in-law had a shoehorn hanging at the entrance, ready for use at every exit. After my trip, instead of going on about daily fresh baguette and seemingly infinite varieties of cheese, I sang the praises of the humble shoehorn. My husband got one with a long handle and flexible head to keep by the door. No longer do I have to sit down to put on my shoes or tear up the heels by cramming my feet into them and wiggling around until my socks are crooked. And then yanking at the socks (and breaking a nail in the process) to try to fix that sock wrinkle that will lead to a blister. The shoehorn is a brilliant invention, an unsung hero.

Now we keep one at each door, and the whole family is on board. No more busted shoe heels, no more wrinkled socks, no more blisters, and no more spending five minutes or more being hassled by shoes, just to get out the door. You can get an excellent shoehorn for about ten dollars. You are perfectly capable of changing your life for less than the price of a nice lunch.

How about this for a New Year’s resolution? Do one thing this year that makes your day easier, permanently. Don’t spend too much, don’t overthink it, and do share your success. You can change lives.

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