Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Taking the time, saving the stress

Sometimes life presents you with inconveniences. The check engine light comes on in your car. The hall lightbulb burns out. A bill arrives and it is for completely the wrong amount. Since we aren't expecting these things to happen right when they do, usually our reaction is to fix them later "when we have time." We don't want to fix the problem now, because what if the car needs an expensive repair, or we find out we don't have any lightbulbs and have to make a special trip to get them, or we simply don't have the energy to get a customer service representative on the phone and get the company to fix the bill. We tell ourselves that in some future time, maybe tomorrow or next week, we will have the time, energy, money to fix these problems. In the meantime, we live with a nagging check engine light (and the worry), we stumble around in the dark, and we add the bill to a stack of papers already waiting for our attention.

I had something like this happen to me on Sunday afternoon. The plastic lever that connects the toilet handle to the flush valve snapped in half. We could still technically flush the toilet by opening the flush valve by hand every time. I was just about to relax and watch a Netflix when I was notified about the problem. I thought, hmmm, I won't be able to fix this tomorrow, but maybe I'll have time Tuesday...wait a minute, I can just go get a replacement part right now and fix it. Luckily, we live within walking distance of a great independent hardware store. So I figured out how to unscrew the old handle, took it with me to the hardware store, found the $5 part in 30 seconds, and was back and had the thing installed in about 4 minutes. Then I started the movie and watched it in peace, not worried about figuring out how to fix this problem, but rather proud of myself that I'd figured it out.

More often than not, these inconvenience can be attended to very quickly. If you look under the sink, maybe the right lightbulb will be there and you can replace the old one. The check engine light might mean nothing, and you'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your car isn't going to fall apart on the 405. Sometimes these problems seem insurmountable, but they aren't. You can save yourself the mental stress caused by putting off dealing with them by taking action now.

Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by thetejon

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

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