Unf*ck Your Habitat: You're Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman
Don't be alarmed by the provocative title. This is a serious book, with lots of helpful ideas.
Here's the main theme of this book: Household tasks can be broken up into short, manageable chunks of work. In this way you won't be overwhelmed by the enormity of the job. The author calls this approach the 20/10 method. You work for 20 minutes, then you HAVE to take a 10 minute break. Using this method, you won't be overwhelmed: "By only working in twenty-minute increments, you train yourself to stop looking at the big picture and to break down what you have to do into small, manageable tasks."
By using the 20/10 method, one gets noticeable results right away. "Do what you can. Some days, this might not be as much as you’d hoped. That’s OK. Even tiny progress is still progress." Marathon cleaning sessions are not a long-term way to organize. It might work once or twice, but for most people, it's not a sustainable method. For one thing, you never improve habits or efficiency.
There's a ton of organizing/cleaning ideas in this book. Here's one of my favorites: "Use Your Waiting Time Efficiently." If you're stuck waiting for something, use those few minutes to accomplish some simple task. Perhaps sort socks or just wipe down a counter.
Becoming better organized is okay, but a better idea is to get rid of the stuff. Seriously get rid of stuff, rather than figuring out how to "organize a whole lot of crap you probably don’t need." Rachel also makes a good point about gifts, namely, The value is with the giving of the gift, not keeping the gift for a long time.
The author wisely notes that you can't really change the habits of another person. So, don't be so quick to make your significant other (or your kids) the "enemy" just because they don't have the same cleanup priorities as you do.
The chapter called, Cleaning Checklists contains some easy, handy checklists. They are for daily, weekly, monthly, and season.
I thought the Resources addendum had some really good pointers, such as these:
• How to clean a bathroom
• How to clean a kitchen
• Ten things you forget to clean: Bathroom edition
I especially liked the list of "Top Ten Cleaning Products" and especially the "Top Ten Uses For Vinegar." I am definitely going to try those tips on vinegar.
So all in all, I found UNF*** YOUR HABITAT to be a practical, fun read. As I read this book, I kept thinking to myself, "This lady is a WISE person!" I found lots of good pointers. At the end of the book there is a section called, "Online Resources." This section contains links for things such as support for hoarders or children of hoarders. It turns out there is one group called the "Institute on Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering." Who would have known?
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher.
Photos courtesy of Pexels.