It's dinnertime and you're exhausted. This morning's dishes are on the counter where you plan to chop onions, and the sink is full of salad debris that never made it into the disposal. In order to get a meal together, you'll have to clean out the kitchen first. While you're cursing whoever left the sponge full of pasta sauce, you're thinking of ways to cut a few seconds from dinner prep so you can get off your aching feet.
If this sounds familiar, you'll probably acknowledge that cleaning when you're tired or in a hurry isn't good cleaning. If you're plagued by sticky countertop residue, raise your hand. Hasty cleaning probably takes more time in the long run, too. One good countertop cleaning -- you know, the kind where you take everything off the counter and do the job right -- may take 10 minutes. Having to drag a rag around your countertop appliances, the mail basket and the bread box twice a day for a hurried cleaning could pile up a lot more minutes by week's end. If you get into the habit of cleaning regularly, you'll save a few steps and keep your frustration meter out of the red zone.