Until Apple Or Dyson Make A Humidifier

Here we go again! The break from blogging over the holiday season was nice and now I’m ready to get back at it with lots of thoughts and ideas to share—most of which I hope you find thought-provoking and even helpful at times.

If you have (or have had in the past) young children in your house, then you know about humidifiers—especially around this time of year when our little ones seem to endure lots of congestion and sniffles. We’ve tried a few humidifiers over the years and they all seem to cause the same frustration for me: How in the world do you clean this thing well enough in between uses?

Humidifiers get nastified in a hurry if you do not clean them on a regular basis. We’ve even been known to find living organisms swimming around in ours. The problem I’ve encountered is that there is so little thought given to the fact that a major part of using a humidifier effectively is keeping it clean in the way they are designed. So I have three options:

  1. Design and manufacture a new humidifier paying close attention to ease of cleaning.
  2. Find better tools to help in the process of cleaning the current humidifier.
  3. Stay frustrated.

To address each option in order—I don’t make stuff. The last time I tried to make something was a clay mug to give to my mom on Mother’s Day in 1989. It was a disaster, but she loved it, because I’m special. I continue to understand that my gifts and talents are not in making (or fixing) anything useful. With the advance of 3D printers, maybe there’s hope for me, but this option is still time and cost prohibitive at this point.

So far, I’ve been using a cloth and Q-tips as my tools of choice for cleaning the humidifiers. They do the job, but not to my standard of cleanliness. I have a very unhealthy standard of all items we purchase always looking exactly like the day we purchased them despite how often we use them. Not fun for anyone else with whom I live. So the old washcloth and Q-tips just aren’t cutting it.

Many of us live in the third option. We just bear it. Such is life.

Over the holidays, I was walking down the aisle of a local supermarket and an item strategically placed next to one of the shelves caught my attention. “That’s it!” I thought to myself. Here was a brush that seemed perfectly suited to clean our children’s humidifiers.

So I purchased the brush and I was so excited to give it a shot. Sure enough—I used the brush to clean the humidifier to my satisfaction and in a quarter of the time!

Here’s what I learned: much of life is all about the right tools. Not the tools who walk around like they are too cool for school. The tools we use to accomplish the mission, or specifically the task at hand demanded by the mission. If it’s cleaning humidifiers so your children can breathe, having the right tool(s) saves time, defrays cost, and relieves the frustration.

As we’ve kicked off 2015, retooling has been the focus for 801South. Where do we need to tweak our tools—tangible and otherwise? What systems need reworked for the sake of the mission? Now’s the time. We will always have seasons where we evaluate and reevaluate. Then retool according to what we learn.

What systems needs retooled in your mission?

Where is the wrong tool costing you money, time, and frustration?

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