My floor is littered with dirty laundry and dishes. I wake up and jump from my bed to the door so I can dodge the debris.
But lately I'm starting to wonder if the word leads to imprecision and inequality in much of my prose. Dictionary.com has over 17 uses for the word, including two idioms. Of these, I think only one use of the word is truly indispensible--"and" used to connect alternatives (you have to choose between this and that). Other uses for the word include connecting objects, phrases, or actions; using "and" to imply continuation; or using "and" in place of "but"...among others.
The times when "and" leads to the weakest writing on my part is when I use it to allow myself to not commit to any one emotion or characteristic. He was tired and hungry. The house was large and dramatic. There's nothing particularly wrong with these sentences but using them allows me to be lazy as a writer. Take the first example. He was tired and hungry. Yes. But wasn't he also a thousand other things like warm or cold, confused or alert? Why can I narrow his state down to two choices but not one? Chances are, given the context, I probably can narrow it down to one. He was hungry, so he headed to the kitchen. -or- He was tired, so he headed to bed.
From a reader's point of view, I think lumping such things together also confuses the information the writer is providing. In the example above, saying he is tired dilutes his hunger, just as saying he is hungry dilutes his tiredness. As a result, the character's state gets blurred, and the reader comes away with a general impression of him, but nothing precise.
When the word is used to connect actions, I think the same sort of blurring often occurs. He got out of the car and slammed the door. He walked to the house and dug out his keys. It's the same idea. "He" actually performs a thousand other actions during this trip that I, as writer, considered to be too insignificant to include, but why can't I narrow down the actions even further?
I think cutting out "and" forces a writer to make more decisions, which in turn makes the prose feel more secure. A reader knows that if we are able to choose the most important details, then we can probably tell a story without wasting too much of their time.
As with all things, this is not a rule that I have set in stone for myself. But, I do think that cutting the word out of my writing more often has made my stories more vivid and entertaining.