The kitchen fire alarm went off the other night, which isn’t entirely odd when I’m cooking in the kitchen. My children thought for the longest time that the fire alarm meant dinner was ready! My point here though is that this night it sounded just after 11pm.
The crumbs in the toaster oven were the culprit, not burning toast (I say with some sort of pride that I didn’t burn the toast). So I promptly began to clean the toaster oven and, within approximately five minutes, my entire toaster oven was shiny clean.
The issue I battled during that brief cleaning spree was, “Why didn’t I clean it sooner?” I had noticed the crumbs accumulating in the little toaster oven for at least a few weeks, thinking to myself, “I should really give that toaster oven a good cleaning.” Yikes, a few weeks!
What had stopped me from cleaning it before the fire alarm? Why had I actually waited until the alarm woke the entire house before I decided to clean the darn thing out? Those are not rhetorical questions – I was really looking for answers.
Here are my thoughts on why we wait until the ‘crumbs set off the fire alarm’.
- We know certain things need to be done but we procrastinate, hoping to avoid the inevitable.
Some common things we avoid ‘cleaning up’ are our eating habits, working late, or perhaps having a difficult conversation with a friend. It could be letting a friend go, or letting go of some emotional baggage.
2. The things that set off the alarms are usually the things that make us uncomfortable. So, instead of dealing with it, we avoid it altogether.
When the things that we know need to get done are left to accumulate, we soon find our personal alarms going off. And there we are, asking the question, “Why didn’t I just clean up the crumbs sooner?”
Those of you who eat toast with honey late at night understand why I was using the toaster oven at 11pm. For those of you who don’t understand, ask your friends. Inevitably one of them has a similar late night “feel-good food fix” that they will share with you.
What little crumbly mess are you going to ‘clean up’?
This article was originally published in May 2007