Over the past weekend, Gwen and I attended to a couple of minor annoyances in our lives–little things that had been bugging us for a long time–just enough to create friction, but not enough to get us to actually fix them.

In Gwen’s case, the annoyance had been bugging her for something like six years. She uses a cigar box as her jewelry box, and she had been meaning to build little dividers and pegs into it to organize her earrings better. A trip to Breed’s, $5 worth of materials, and an hour or so of a fun little craft project later, and it was done.

In my case, it was even dumber–one of the tools I use in making wicks for fire poi is a big sheetmetal screw, and the one I had been using had grown dull with use. I was vaguely aware that this was making more work for me, but I only finally got around to replacing it. Less than half a buck to fix. The difference was immediately noticeable.

There was a prime example of this kind of annoyance with my previous house: the hose bib in back made a poor seal with the hose, so whenever you turned on the spigot, you sprayed water everywhere. The people who lived there before me clearly had been annoyed by the same thing, and rather than fixing it, they adopted the rather ridiculous workaround of putting a splitter on the front hose bib and running a long hose around to the back. In the course of getting my house ready to sell, I had a plumber over to look at something unrelated; I told him “as long as you’re here, why not fix this?” Funny how such a little thing can change the quality of your everyday life so much, but fixing that was huge.

I wonder how much time, energy, and mental health we sacrifice to these little problems when we adapt to them rather than fix them.