I left clothes in the dryer when I went to bed last night. I imagine some of you just physically cringed and thought “oh no she didn’t!”. Others were “Yup. Same.” To be honest, it is not an uncommon habit of mine. Sometimes they stay in there when I go off to work. Do they get wrinkled? Sometimes. Usually I can do a short “freshen up fluffing” cycle and all’s good.
Yet I can’t leave the house or go to bed with dishes in the sink. I feel compelled to clean dishes and make sure that porcelain well in the kitchen is free and clear no matter how late it is at night, and before I head out to work in the morning. (How could dishes show up overnight you ask? I live with men. ‘Nuff said.)
The fact is we all have ways of doing things, habits, that we feel really strongly about how they SHOULD be done. Could be how we were raised, it could be a sign of our busy schedules, or it could just be because that’s how we like it. The funny part is it really doesn’t matter. No one else really cares, nor does it necessarily have a huge impact on our lives – outside of the possibility that doing it the wrong way may eat at your psyche all day.
Are you a make-your-bed-daily person, or a leave-it-as-it-is-I’m -just-gonna-be-back-in-it-later believer? For me, I gotta make it. I even use linen spray so it seems and smells extra fresh. There’s something about a nicely made bed that seems extra inviting to me. That, and one of my very first chores I learned as a child was making beds, so I suppose it was ingrained in me early.
Eat meals at the kitchen table, or in front of the TV in the family room? Set the table with placemats and utensils, or let everyone fend for themselves? Likely the majority of us are not royalty entertaining Heads of State and needing the place settings to be perfect. So does it matter if you are eating off of paper plates with plasticware, or if you’ve got matched silverware for everyone? Not really. They will all manage to eat.
Going back to the laundry situation, to iron or not to iron? Years ago, when both my husband and I were dressing more professionally for our jobs (before Casual Every Day became a thing), I would once a week set up the ironing board in front of the TV and iron & hang a big stack of clothes (yes, I realize the irony that I could have saved myself effort with the not leaving-it-in-the-dryer thing). Now, however, I rarely iron. The iron lives in my bedroom, and if something really needs it, I’ll do a quick job of getting out the worst of the wrinkles, using my (nicely made) bed as my ironing board. OR there’s the hang it near the shower trick. Does it matter how you got those wrinkles out? Nope.
How about your commute? Wherever it is you go every day, do you always go the same way? Or do you change it up? Sure, one particular direction is bound to be quickest, but if you have the time, do you get all wild and crazy and turn left instead of right and take the scenic route? Do you stop at the same coffee shop on the same day and time and place the same order? Or do you wing it like the Queen of Spontaneity that you are? Those who ardently believe that variety is the spice of life may say this habit DOES matter. But really…. It doesn’t. As long as you get to your destination safely with a smile on your face, it doesn’t matter how it happened.
Do you select your outfit for the next day before going to bed? I used to, until I realized too many days I was waking up and thinking “gah, I really don’t want to wear that” and changed my mind anyway. If you don’t make your selection in advance, does it really matter? It might make your morning 3.5 minutes longer because you weren’t prepared in advance, but it is highly unlikely you’ll head out the door naked. No one will know it was a last minute wardrobe decision.
We tend to laugh at our pets for being extremely routine-oriented. But let’s face it, aren’t we all? Even those of us who claim to be spontaneous and impulsive still have certain habits we do because… we just do. Use a spoon or a stir stick? Use the same glass all day or get out new ones? Go to sleep always on the left side? Our habits make us who we are, make that part of our lives predictable and while they don’t matter to anyone else, they matter to us and bring us comfort in some small way.
Sometimes when I’ve watched too many detective shows on TV, and have watched them sneak into a mysterious character’s home to look for clues, always finding some key piece of evidence shoved into a drawer or laying on top of an unmade bed, I wonder what they would think if they came into my house. “Think she’s on the run, Joe?”. “Maybe. But she’ll be back.” “Why do you say that?”
“She left clothes in the dryer.”