I took down the Christmas tree today. It is an artificial tree that we have had for many years. I keep it in the basement in two very large boxes. The boxes are not terribly heavy but they are very awkward to maneuver up the stairs and around the corners into the kitchen, the hallway, and then finally to the living room. I invariably knock things off shelves and tables that I pass and the boxes pop open spilling branches on the floor. The same thing happens when I take the tree down and return it to the basement.
Two years ago, as I stood in the basement dreading the prospect of carrying the boxes upstairs and considering whether I should call my son to help me, an amazing thought occurred to me. Why not just take the branches out of the box and carry them upstairs? It only took me five trips, which is just one more than I would make with the boxes since I would return them to the basement until I was ready to take down the tree. The reduction in frustration and aggravation paid for the effort of that extra trip many times over.
As I carried the branches downstairs today and packed them back in the boxes, I was still amazed that I struggled with those boxes for fifteen years before I hit upon such an obvious alternative.