The Joys of Using New Things in Routine Chores

Why do we feel good when using new things in mundane chores?
by Harshvardhan J. Pandit
blog chores joy life

I was shaving earlier today in preparation for going to the office. I use a safety razor, and I threw away the older blade and put in a new one. The shave was smooth, I had no cuts, and was much quicker and nicer than the couple of recent ones. It was a joy to shave with a new blade. Yesterday, I opened a new sponge to clean the dishes. The soap and water mixed much better, the foam was quicker and more effective, and I had to scrub less to get the dishes cleaned. Also it felt nice and firm in the hand as opposed to the older sponge which felt used and sloppy. It was a joy to clean the dishes with a new sponge.

This is a repeating pattern we face in our lives as adults. We do some routine chores, with things that we wouldn't even think about being excited about. Yet when we toss the old one out and bring in a new one, we feel that warm sensation that our starved minds identify was 'happiness' or at least 'joy'. It is ridiculous. No one thought they would be feeling nice when cleaning dishes or shaving or whatever. And yet, here we are - living it up as adults. I'm not sure exactly why.

But I think it's because our lives are so filled with what we think of as mindless chores that any single simple thing that makes that an easier and efficient process is a source of joy. Not because we actually like doing the chores, but precisely because we don't. Just like in school if a class we didn't like had a teacher come in much later than usual, or it ended much earlier than scheduled. The joy comes from wanting to escape. And because our minds are so tied in to finishing the tasks, anything that makes it go quicker and better is a good thing.