As soon as this time of December rolls around and we’re opening gifts and commencing in merry making, we also reflect on the previous year. Instead of fixating on the (many) shortcomings and disappointments of this past year, I’d like to spend a moment to acknowledge a handful of small but significant delightful items that generated and continue to generate joy in my everyday life.
One thing I’ve learned this year is the power of making incremental changes to seemingly insignificant parts of daily life that more or less seem immutable, but can completely transform your mood. With no further ado:
1) New Showerhead- For years, I’ve been cursing my shower head. Low water pressure, wasteful leakage…while the shower is where I get my best ideas, the experience has been less than inspiring. A few months ago, I randomly searched for “showerhead” on Amazon after another disappointing experience, and discovered an extremely low cost but highly rated option. At $30, I was willing to give it a try so I ordered it right away (this was a 12:30 AM impulse buy!) and my husband and I installed it when it came in two days later (thank Bezos for Prime!). I can’t begin to tell you how amazing this showerhead is and how much it has transformed our mornings – it’s energy efficient, delightful, and has extremely good water pressure. Now the morning shower has turned from a daily slog into a daily delight…and my husband and I have much happier mornings because of it.
Cost: $25, plus 10 minutes to install
2) Handheld Steamers- If you’re like me, you’ve ironed maybe twice in your life and your partner is the same way. But how not to have wrinkly clothes? This year I randomly bought a handheld steamer at Costco and it has changed my (clothing) world. For that extra put together look, the steamer is the easiest, fastest, lowest investment tool to take the wrinkles out of any item of clothing. I loved it so much, I bought one for my mother, in-laws, and best friends. I even purchased a small travel steamer for the road. Screw irons, boards and whatever else you’re supposed to know how to do but never learned- steamers are the lazy person’s version to the same outcome.
3) Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love frameworks. Kondo’s book gave me a framework for dealing with all the stuff in my life in a quick, delightful way. Rather than fixating on the utility of items, I was able to quickly determine how much joy they bring me. Not surprisingly, very few items actually bring joy, but what I learned is that having a clutter-free house is the real joy. Kondo addresses ways of thinking that lead to clutter- like acknowledging that the utility of a book is done when you’re read it. You’ve fulfilled the purpose for that book and it’s time to move on. Her system of folding clothes has turned my closet into a peaceful, tranquil abode rather than a clumsy, messy zoo. God bless the Japanese, and God bless Marie Kondo.
4) Knife Sharpener – There is a Russian expression that says, “That knife isn’t sharp enough to cut water.” That was the state of most of the knives in my kitchen, and I didn’t even realize how frustrating it was. Another late night impulse buy was a highly rated knife sharpener on Amazon, which has transformed my frustration when cooking into newfound fascination into what a sharpened knife can actually accomplish. Run, nay, chop your way to this knife sharpener so you can see what you’ve been missing out on in the kitchen!
5) Nestcam – A Black Friday purchase, the Nestcam is truly a game changing piece of technology. It’s hard to know which “smart home” devices are actually useful, so I held off on purchasing this one for a long time. We pointed the Nestcam at the door, and were blown away by the video quality and the things we learned. For example, because our door is glass, the Nestcam sent us an update when we received packages. When traveling, I could have peace of mind knowing I would be alerted immediately and visually if someone were to pass by our door. The fact that we could regulate the cam from our existing Nest app was even more user friendly. At the risk of becoming Big Brother in my own house, this device definitely brought me delight and a feeling of security.
Cost: $125 (on sale, $199 regularly)