It often takes a crisis, major or minor, to prompt people to change bad habits, especially when the change is time-consuming and anxiety-provoking.

The other day, the drawer in which I store my swimming stuff jammed. When I finally got it open and dumped out its contents, I counted more than a dozen bathing suits (several with their store tags intact), 12 bathing caps, 10 pairs of goggles and countless nose clips and earplugs.

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