Editor, Author, Priestess of Words
Let me say, first, that I don’t regret buying this. It’s a beautiful book, very well laid out and with some excellent tips for getting through the slog that is cleaning. That being said, this is one of those self-help books that really could have been condensed into a single blog post. Not surprising, considering there’s apparently a blog and Tumblr that go along with this.
The gist of the book is that, rather than doing marathon cleaning sessions that burn you out and subconsciously leave you dreading the next time you have to clean (which makes you put off cleaning, which makes things get bad, which leads to a marathon cleaning session…quite the vicious cycle), you should break things up in smaller chunks of cleaning. The author is a big fan of the 20/10 method, in which 20 minutes is spent cleaning something (not everything…again, break things down into smaller tasks) and then 10 minutes is spent taking a break and doing something enjoyable.
I applaud the author for recognizing that some people are physically incapable of working for 20 minutes straight on a cleaning project. In those cases, she suggests that you invert it and do 10 minutes of cleaning and 20 minutes of break, or whatever number works for you. The point is that you’re doing something and then rewarding yourself for it. The break, she insists, is crucial…no cheating and sneaking in even the simplest of cleaning tasks during this time.
There are a few other useful tips the author has, such as prioritizing the clearing of surfaces (and then finding a place those things belong, not just another spot to dump them), keeping a sink full of hot and soapy water to soak the dishes in and use as a cleaning solution for counters, and scattered through the whole book are a series of mini-challenges that make you feel like you’re doing something hugely productive with minimal effort.
The bulk of the book is taken up with the author tackling the psychology behind why we let our homes become messy (these are the authors opinions…good ones, even…but appear to come without a psychology degree attached), why excuses are “bullshit”, and how to motivate yourself when you’re just not feeling into it. These parts can get a bit wordy and repetitive, but maybe that’s a good thing since I’ve heard repetition is the mother of habit.