Monday, February 22, 2010

The "Right Now" Rule

I'm a world-class procrastinator. For instance, I've been meaning to write this post all day, but instead I have found a million other things to do: Responding to emails, walking the dog, playing Facebook Scrabble, folding laundry and watching "The Age of Innocence" on HBO, all of which took precedence. I've been known to go a full year between haircuts, and sometimes I don't make the bed until right before we're going to get back into it. It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that I'm... well, okay, sometimes I'm kind of lazy.
However, when it comes to house cleaning, I've discovered that sometimes the truly lazy thing to do is to tackle things right away. No, I'm not trying to be intentionally ironic here (like some creepy hipster with a lumberjack mustache) - bear with me and I'll explain. In the process of trying to minimize the actual amount of time I spend performing tedious housecleaning tasks, I've discovered that the sooner you tackle a mess after it is made, the faster and easier it is to clean up. For example, it only takes a second to rinse the bowl and spoon after you finish your oatmeal in the morning, but if you leave them in the sink all day instead, you will be scraping that gunk off for days. Or when you spill a little cake batter on the cabinet, you can either grab a paper towel and wipe it off easily now, or spend valuable TV-watching hours scouring it with a scrunge later, once it has hardened and adhered itself to the paint. The same goes for pasta sauce on your favorite blouse, mud on your galoshes, or red wine on the slipcovers - I call it the "Right Now" Rule. As tempting as it can be to leave a mess for later, I always remind myself of all the time and effort I will save by getting my patooti off the couch and dealing with it immediately. The long-term laziness in me can usually beat out the short-term. (The only acceptable exception to this rule is when you have guests - nothing kills a party like having the hostess down on her knees scrubbing cocktail sauce out of the rug - it can wait, just this once). Once you get in this good habit, you'll find yourself with a cleaner house, less frustration, and plenty of extra time on your hands that you can blissfully and guiltlessly waste. Scrabble, anyone?

P.S. Happy birthday to my wonderful big brother!
photo credit: Country Living

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