If you spill nail polish on your carpet don't reach for the water, instead let it dry completely before you touch it. As the polish dries the solvents will evaporate out.
Once it's dry, use a butter knife or an old spoon to go back and forth over the carpet working the spill out. The raking motion from the spoon will turn it back to dust and then you can simply vacuum it away!
Mud is another mess better left alone. If you add water to mud you just get more mud. Let the tracks dry up. Then, use a broom to loosen the mess from the carpet fibers. finally, vacuum the dirt away!
Paint, you might think i'm crazy but for drips on linoleum, vinyl, metal, glass and appliances let it dry, then use a credit card to chip the drip off of the surface.
That's it, a few messes that left to dry won't cause permanent stains. So the next time you find yourself with one of these messes, take a deep breath and let it dry! I'm Mrs. Fixit and it's just that simple.