I’m 21, which means I’m in that weird limbo where I am technically an adult, but I have no idea how to function like one yet. Therefore, people my age are given a certain amount of leeway as we figure out how to become productive members of society. I’m doing okay, in that I have a steady job as well as a home that hasn’t been featured on Hoarders yet. However, I’ve also navigated this fine line while putting in minimal effort and scoffing at basic standards of cleanliness. So I am the perfect person to impart this wisdom to you.
#4. Life Hacks For Dishes
Kitchens freak me the fuck out. In my first Real Adult house, we had a chore chart. Every time I got the kitchen, I switched it out for anything else, even the bathroom. I’d rather clean up literal shit than deal with my roommates’ leftover greasy bowls or all the weird crumbs that pile up under the stove top.
I also can’t be barefoot in kitchens, because what if something yucky touches my feet? I’ve never watched the show The Barefoot Contessa, so I have no idea what she’s actually doing, but in my mind, a cooking show of that name is basically my personal version of that one scene from Trainspotting (you know the one) in terms of content-related retching. As such, I’ve come up with a lot of ways to use dishes as seldom as possible.
Giving my roommate plenty of opportunities to practice her favorite hobby.
In my current apartment, we have five mugs, no glasses, 10 plates, and a pink-handled cutlery pack from Family Dollar. This gives easy access to an excuse for what I call my “No Dish” rule. We simply don’t have enough plates for me to waste! The less-flattering truth is that we could have a full set of fine china and I’d still be doing this shit.
Whenever anything comes in its own container, eat out of that. Anything can be a Cup O’Noodles if you just try hard enough and believe in yourself. Buy packs of mini-cereal boxes that you can pour milk into! Make one serving of pasta and eat it out of the pot! If you think about it, milk and juice are basically their own Capri Suns, as long as you have no shame and a lot of extra bodega straws.
If you order takeout, be sure to ask for extra containers and cutlery, then divvy up leftovers to store in the fridge in throwaway containers, each with their own plastic fork. If you really need a bowl for your Chef Boyardee or whatever, then heat it up over the stove in the can, and dump it in a bowl lined with Saran Wrap. Toss the plastic in the garbage when you’re done and put your perfectly clean dish back on the shelf. Tell yourself that Gwyneth Paltrow would call this “hobo chic” and advertise it on her dumb website.
Right next to coffee filters based on the ruffled collars of Queen Elizabeth I. Just $500.
You can also use paper towels in lieu of plates for things like sandwiches, and tortillas for everything else. A bread bowl is still a bread bowl, even if it looks more like you’ve made a microwave popcorn burrito. Panera, if you’re looking for a creative director, hit me up.
The only thing I can’t get around is coffee. I need to have coffee in the morning. Not in a cute, “Don’t talk to me before coffee!” kind of way. I won’t die or anything; I’ll just honestly be kind of a bitch until I’m caffeinated.
If you’re feeling especially lazy in those instances, as I so often am, you can just spoon Nescafe crystals into your facehole, tip your head sideways over the sink, and chase it down with tap water. It’s revolting and you’re pretty sure that no one will ever want to marry you, but it gets the job done. I’ve done it three times in the span of writing this article. It’s a super disgusting habit that I should despise by now, given that the first time I did it, it was with vodka instead of water, and I proceeded to fall down a fucking Chilean mountain.
And then bound right back up again, because alcohol and caffeine is a hell of a combination.
If you’re too busy thinking about how gross I am from atop your high horse to do that, know that you can also make coffee in a dark-colored mug. NOT a white mug. A white mug, particularly a white plastic travel mug (looking at you, Starbucks), will stain and look gross unless you deep clean it in some sort of weird Martha Stewart role play. However, with a dark mug, you can just rinse it out and squint at it, and it will look clean enough to drink out of.
#3. Life Hacks For Laundry
Laundry is expensive and time-consuming. Also, I just really hate doing it. I’ve convinced myself that my floor looks prettier with clothes strewn across it. It’s like a garden of apathy and forgetting to take my Lexapro.
If you are really committed, you can get some new furniture out of it.
There’s a laundry room in my goddamn building, which is sort of a luxury in New York, and I still hate doing it. In my last house, the machines were right outside my door (and free!), and I just found them mildly threatening, and could almost feel them mocking me every time I passed by in my increasingly moldy clothes.
The easiest way to avoid laundry is to buy a bottle of Febreze knockoff and just not do it until you run out of clean underwear / bathing suits. Or until three days after you run out of underwear / bathing suits and start questioning your life choices. In the winter, you can even put it off until you run out of underwear, bathing suits, and cleani-sh leggings, jeans, and/or tights that you can wear commando.
Speaking of commando, have you considered joining the military for the clean uniforms?
Carry over your coffee cup mentality to your wardrobe. Anything dark-colored is less likely to show stains or wrinkles. You can then avoid washing it until even the powers of 99 Cent Store Febreze won’t make it smell less weird. For stuff that is wrinkled, throw it on a hanger and put it on the back of your bathroom door. Turn the shower on hot, go back to sleep for 20 minutes, and let the steam work its magic. If you need something quicker, use a hair straightener (yours, your girlfriend’s, your roommate’s, whatever) as a lazy iron.
Now that your clothes are taken care of, let’s move on to bedding and towels. For towels, you’ll just have to buy, like, three of them at the dollar store and rotate them out every time you’re forced to actually do laundry.
But bedding is easier. Just buy black bedding. I brought a guy home once who made a weird, suggestive comment about my black sheets. I stared blankly at him and then not-so-sexily replied that I bought them so I could eat ketchup in my bed.
“They’re not actually satin; just totally saturated with grease.”
Black will hide any curly-fry-related stains, but you’re still going to get crumbs in your bed. I guess you could handle this by being a responsible person who uses plates or, God forbid, eats at an actual table. Or you could be lazier and take your sheets outside every once in a while for a good shake-off to remove any fried chicken bits. Or you could reach the ultimate level of laziness by wrapping packaging tape around both hands, sticky side out, and haphazardly slapping your sheets until you catch most of the crumbs.
#2. Grocery Shopping Life Hacks
Grocery shopping involves actually leaving my apartment, which means I have to put pants on. I don’t like that, so I don’t do it. Why would anyone go grocery shopping when there’s Seamless and stealing toilet paper from work?
When I am forced to grocery shop every few months, I buy a lot of pasta. Because one, it’s dirt cheap. And two, if you eat noodles out of the pot, you can leave that pot next to your bed for at least a day or two and be fine. You don’t even have to cover the pot, unless your hatred of stale noodles outranks your hatred of leaving your bed to get the lid from the kitchen.
And they will just keep getting more flavorful the longer you wait.
When I run out of pasta (or just feel like I’d rather shove fusilli in my eyes corkscrew-style than eat the stupid things for one more fucking meal) and have enough money for takeout, it usually involves meat — pepperoni pizza, chicken tikka masala, fried chicken — because I’m too lazy to ever cook my own animal carcass. And even I — the person who, need I remind you, used my mouth to mix coffee grounds and vodka at high altitude — know that you’re 100 percent not supposed to eat meat that has been left at room temperature for over two hours.
This is a shame, because one of my hobbies is eating food that I left on the floor next to my bed overnight. Not saying that health experts are lying or that I have a super immune system or anything. I’m just saying that if you do it, you’ll probably be fine.
Ed. note: You might not be fine. Please do not do this.
As for non-edible grocery necessities, you can stretch that out pretty far, too. For example, shower products. The shelf life of all soapy things can be extended by running shower water into the almost-empty container, then using that homeopathic Head & Shoulders mixture for at least a week after you really should have bought a new bottle.
Razors allegedly get dull and dangerous after forgetting to shave your legs for weeks at a time, but fuck that. People younger than me once had lawn darts. I’m sure I can shave my armpits with a dull razor and be basically fine. As for face shaving, I know nothing about that, because the last time I dated a boy for a long enough time to know his grooming routine, we were too young for him to have facial hair (I’m sure after reading this far, that fact shocks you.) Also, I’m pretty sure that the lazy life hack for that is just “grow a fucking beard.”
#1. Basic Personal Hygiene Life Hacks
Sometimes, I’ll look at my phone, realize I have to be somewhere in six hours, and just groan pathetically. Then I will do absolutely nothing about my physical appearance until 20 minutes before I have to leave, when I become stressed out by my lack of time to shower.
You know what’s almost as good as a shower, particularly when you have long hair? Baby powder. Just shake a bunch of it on your roots, fluff it around with your fingers until it sort of blends in (or you look like you’re trying to make powdered wigs a thing again), and boom, it’s kind of like you showered. Your hair won’t look half as greasy, and it will smell like a fresh baby butt — a scent we associate with cleanliness, for some strange reason.
I can think of no situation where this would be unpleasant.
Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t have the luxury of being home when you realize that you’re gross as shit. Maybe you’re at a bar and realize that your face is sweaty. If you go into a public bathroom, you can use a toilet seat cover as a blotting paper. Obviously, not a cover that’s already been on a toilet. Just pull one out of the box, you weirdo, and blot the oil off your face with the toilet seat ass barrier like a normal person.
Maybe you’ve eaten something and it’s stuck in your teeth. I don’t carry floss with me, because like most people, I’m a disappointment to my parents and my dentist.
Let me put this bluntly: floss with your own hair. I’m not proud (but also not particularly ashamed) to admit it, but I’ve yanked out some of my hair and used it to floss. A few times, it hasn’t even been my hair. I went out a few weeks ago and realized I had some seasoning in my teeth. My hair was up in a bun and my bangs were pinned back, so when I went to the bathroom with a friend of mine, I respectfully asked to use some of her hair. Then I ripped it out of her beautiful, precious head and used it to floss my fucking teeth.
Not to be confused with the night I ripped out my teeth to brush my fucking hair.
We’re all disgusting. Maybe not flossing-with-a-friend’s-hair disgusting, but we all do little gross things to cut down on the time we spend doing monotonous stuff like “chores.” If you think you are too young or too old to live your life in this disgusting pseudo-adult limbo, remember that age is just a number. No matter how old you are, if you want to exist like a slovenly hobbit, you can. So if you have any tips on how to be even lazier, please feel free to send them along.