. Eliminating the Shoelace Syndrome
I broke my shoelace this past week. As usual, I pulled some of the good shoelace through a bit, tied a square knot, and decided it would have to do “for now”. Of course, in the back of my mind I knew the knot would annoy me with those ends poking up and out, the shoelace was now too short to tie comfortably, and it was likely to break again soon. But, well, it is how I face life sometimes: leave it for later.
But is this the best way? How many things in your life are un-repaired, half-repaired, or need replacing? Plastic weakens and tears, carpets fray, paint peels, and shoelaces eventually break. They always have, they always will. What can be done to get your life more in order and to have fewer items which need your “repair/replacement” consideration?
May I suggest a new way to live? A better way? (Of course, I will have to implement this in my own life more fully, too.)
1) Keep an ongoing written list of items which need your attention. Begin this list by walking around your home, poking around your garage, and taking a stroll through your yard. Note everything that needs repair or replacement. Then go back to your other priorities for today. As you notice other items which need replacing or repairing, whether you are on your way out the door, are in the middle of another project, or just too weary to think about it right away, take the time to add these items to your “REPAIR/REPLACE IT” list.
Then, choose a regular time (we usually do this as part of our Saturday afternoon routine), approach each of the repair jobs, decide what to do, make a “mini” list of steps to complete the job, and begin.
Sometimes this will mean a trip to the store. If you aren’t going out just at the moment, add the needed repair item to your regular errands list. Put any parts which you will need for comparison in your vehicle or note needed measurements. Buy the repair items this upcoming week and plan to finish the repair next Saturday.
2) When you replace anything, consider buying two instead of one. Need new shoelaces, get an extra pair. When you replace your watch battery, get an extra one. When you purchase night light bulbs, buy a few extras. Have a “spares” box for these items. One of the reasons we “live” with broken tools and trinkets is because the trouble of a trip to the store dissuades us from doing it right, right now.
3) Make up a clothing mending kit. In it have a pair of scissors, needles, sundry buttons, safety pins of assorted sizes, and various colored threads. Duplicate tools if necessary so that everything needed to make a small clothing mend is right in the kit. Remember, the more convenient you make it, the more likely it is you’ll repair it.
Have a regular “mending” container where members of your family can put items which need attention. This container could be near the phone, so that when a good friends calls, you can multi-task.
Of course, when children are young, you will do most of this mending yourself, but as soon as they begin to write well they can learn to mend. Teach them, slowly and carefully, and then let them begin to make their own mends. If it is a hole in their sock, an unraveling in their sweatshirt, or a seam that is opening, teach them to repair. Not only will you save a lot of money, they will learn invaluable skills. At first their mends won’t be pretty, but with practice and patience, your children can mend their own small holes and you will be left with time to face more major repairs.
4) In a sturdy container, keep various kinds of glue, a glue gun, and several small clamps and rubber bands. Include glues which will attach anything to anything, paper glues, wood glues, and plastic glues. Having the necessary glues around will make the “fix-it” person more likely to approach the repair.
5) Remember, it is usually easier and faster to repair it earlier than later. This was poignantly pointed out to me when I failed to patch a small, broken seam in my hall carpet. Week after week I noticed that small opening and ignored it. Then one day, one of my children pulled a toy over the opening. Something caught, and the small opening became a “you cannot ignore this” rip.
So, for a minute today, think about your life. Make a list of needed repairs, half-repaired items, or items which need replacing. Plan a day and time to tackle your list and feel the freedom of “it is fixed”! With this better approach to life, it will be much smoother sailing and far fewer broken shoelaces!
Find more helpful ideas in “House of Order” Handbook.
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission.