Unf*ck Your Habitat by Rachel Hoffman

29939402Finally, a housekeeping and organizational system developed for those of us who’d describe our current living situation as a “f*cking mess” that we’re desperate to fix. Unf*ck Your Habitat is for anyone who has been left behind by traditional aspirational systems: The ones that ignore single people with full-time jobs; people without kids but living with roommates; and people with mental illnesses or physical limitations, and many others. Most organizational books are aimed at traditional homemakers, DIYers, and people who seem to have unimaginable amounts of free time. They assume we all iron our sheets, have linen napkins to match our table runners, and can keep plants alive for longer than a week. Basically, they ignore most of us living here in the real world.

Hmm… I’m not entirely sure what compelled me to request this book on NetGalley (FYI- it will be published on January 3rd, 2017!) I mean, sure, my home is not clinically, squeaky clean, but then again, I wouldn’t have it clinically, squeaky clean anyway. I’m not a hoarder and my Mother drilled decent cleaning skills in me since young age which I thank her for. I think one of my main reasons to read this book was the fact that life has been hectic lately and I’m not following my regular cleaning routine… and I feel guilty and I guess I was hoping to, you know, get help! As mad as it sounds…

It also doesn’t hurt that the word ‘fuck’ is mentioned rather loosely. Sure, on the cover they had to * it, but in the book, fuck is fuck, no *- important information, yes? (I can’t include this comment in Amazon I guess, note to self)

Rachel Hoffman comes across quite peppy throughout the book, the writing and overall ‘atmosphere’ is relaxed in her writing. There is loads of great cleaning advice and how to go about getting help or devise a strategy when it comes to tackling the task for different groups of people:

  • hoarders,
  • people with mental illnesses or physical limitations
  • people who live in dorms, or house-share
  • lazy bums
  • parents
  • people who have never had to clean ever in their lives before

There is also a lot of reassurance that, no, your home doesn’t have to look like something we come across in magazines and not to feel guilty when you just can’t/don’t want to clean. We’re all human, after all! There is a step by step guidance for people who have never had to clean in their lives before- how to start, top to bottom, what to use, etc etc… so essentially, it is a helpful book, no doubt about that.

Reading this book I realized, however, that no, I don’t have a cleaning problem. I think I’m quite on top of things. It also helps that my worldly possessions are quite minimal. I don’t need to worry about my clothing- I only have 3 drawer fulls. I don’t have to worry about all sorts of bric-a-brac because I care for none and hence haven’t collected anything (other than books of course). I don’t have to worry about the kitchen sink overflowing with dirty dishes because as it’s just me and the husband for now, I only have 4 plates (2 big, 2 small), 2 pots and two pans, some bowls, some mugs and cutlery. I wash dishes every day, sometimes more than once, because if we want to eat again, we need clean dishes, right? 🙂

Most of the advice in the book, for me, was ‘duh’… But I fully accept that not everyone has had to endure the Iron Fist that hangs off my Mother’s arm. I also fully accept that we all have different reasons for why cleaning can be something of a huge task.

Some of Mother Dear’s demands will never leave my brain:

“Who moved the curtains? They look out of place, go sort out that fold in that corner there!”

“Straighten out that carpet!”

What’s that little piece of dust on the floor? Pick it up, and put it in the bin!”

“Don’t step on the floor not covered with carpet with dirty/sweaty/wet socks, I just washed the floor and I don’t need your footprints shining back at me!”

“Hang on! Hang on! No fucker will walk into my house with shoes on!”

“Align your shoes in the hall, it looks messy!”

“Put that towel under your dinner plate, I do not want to see any stains on my fresh/clean tablecloth!”

… and on, and on… and on… But! I’m not complaining. It’s a certain discipline I thank her for. She taught me how to hand-wash clothes when I was 10, how to wring to the maximum effect to get all the water out (and I mean, proper hand positioning and all!) and what way the clothes should hang from the line. Thanks to her, I feel like a judgmental bitch when I see women hanging their washing on the line and I’m like- tut, tut, she’s doing it all wrong! 😀 However, fully and duly noted, it’s none of my business how anyone goes about their cleaning. There’s no right or wrong way, as long as stuff gets done.  I don’t impose my habits on anyone else and you can wash your jeans without turning them inside out and hang them to dry by the waistband…

From the Lady Iron Cleaning Fist I also inherited the ‘all or nothing’ attitude. So, when Unf*ck Your Habitat recommends to cut the workload into smaller chunks, I was shaking my head, thinking- hell no. There will be no pissfarting about for me- if I have to organize 6 drawers, then I will do the job in one go, no breaks, no time setting, no 1 drawer at a time. Then again I attack everything in life the same way, it’s all systems go and if I don’t like it, I don’t care that I don’t like it, cause it has to be done, so get on with it. But again, it is good advice for people who don’t want/need the stress, can’t cope or are otherwise not able to; so the workload cutting and going by the 20/10 time-setting formula might just be the answer to someone out there. I’m not judging!

Overall: I shall give this book 3 ***. A great self-help book in the sense that is understanding, has a really good overall feel while reading and the advice is sound, indeed. My very own personal rating is 2**, it was OK, because for myself, personally, there was no major revelations- then again, cleaning is an  age-old activity, what the hell was I expecting anyway? 🙂 I hope I do not come across as a condescending privileged twat, a dog wagging my own tail, a know-it-all with this post. That wasn’t my intention, but rather take my post as an example of why this book didn’t create fireworks for me…If cleaning is something you despise or don’t have the time/knowledge or ability for, then this book may just help you come to terms with the task!

21 comments

  1. Our mothers sound very alike. Like you, I’m also the “all or nothing” type of person. If I clean my whole room, including my closet and drawers, this can take me literally a whole day and I will not stop till I’m done. This book sounds good though. I like how its for different types of people, not just the stay at home mom with tons of time.

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  2. Love the review! Not sure that I could read this though (I probably should hehe). I was the one who held the home together from a young age. My mother wasn’t present enough to care and I am a tad obsessive. I wonder if I sounded like that at times haha? No, I am sure it could not have been that bad. I have had to work on accepting some mess. Luckily having two kids helped reality set in 😉 Much more relaxed now.

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  3. Can you send it to me? According to my mom, I AM a hoarder. Though I believe it’s because I own a house full of stuff all in one room (I used to live on my own and now I’m back in my bedroom), she thinks it’s because I have too much stuff.
    And I don’t clean enough…some stuff just doesn’t occur to me. So yeah, I don’t think about dusting…dust shouldn’t dare enter my domain in the first place, damn it!!
    So I need that book, lol. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      • Nothing wrong with that either.. you’ll simply enjoy your life a bit more by spending time at other things while I keep slaving away behind my partner’s possessions and trail of dirty mugs and clothes! 😀 You win!

        Like

    • Hahahahaha… awh… a house full of stuff in your bedroom… that’s a feat in itself… sure, how could you clean enough? moving things about for dusting/hoovering would probably take the best part of a day…ain’t nobody got time for that as Anne would comment here 🙂 and you’re right… dust should not enter your domain- how dare it… he? she? 😀 hahaha…

      Like

  4. You’ve been reviewing all sorts of books lately. I’m liking the title of this one. 😂 Yes! Good call on that one. I’m either really organized and clean or like whatever. Most of the time I’m pretty clean but pretty cool book for people who want to get organized.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I was wall to wall really…
      I also use books/reading as a treat… After work or during weekends I won’t allow myself to sit down with s book until I have house work done and Mr fed! Things get done faster than ever 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ermahgerd, you already finished it!! I’m still stuck at 20% or something 😀

    I laughed SO hard when I read these two lines:

    “Who moved the curtains? They look out of place, go sort out that fold in that corner there!”

    “You can wash your jeans without turning them inside out and hang them to dry by the waistband…”

    We have very similar moms, it seems XD. That curtain thing has been driving me nuts for years, yet today, I’m doing the exact same thing in my own house! :’) Unlike you, I wasn’t allowed to help around the house when I was still living with my parents because my mother was the cleaning nazi and I couldn’t do it right anyways. I’d tell her Jaysus Christ, there are way more important things out there than a properly folded bed! Or hanging up your jacket on the coat rack directly instead of using a coat hanger. Weeeell, my husband says the same to me nowadays :’). “Why do we need to move every piece of furniture while vacuuming? Nobody will ever look there.” To which I say: “But I will KNOW it’s there! *throws angry glare”. Oh man.

    I like how you manage to keep things to a bare minimum though. Two plates, one for each. Now that’s bloody brilliant! (until you have guests over for dinner, but pfff, how often does that happen?) :D.

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    • Yeah, finished it quite quickly… I also skipped a page or two here and there cos- bored! 😀 And skipped the moving house paragraph because I happen to love moving house so I have no problem there! 😀
      So, you could say I cheated a bit! 😀

      The moms thing- it must be the generation- I mean, I think our mothers and their mothers are and were just helluva tough cookies. They just got on with things and always did what had to be done and there was no moaning- oh, but I have 3,5 kids and I just can’t manage… They just powered on and keep powering on! 🙂

      Yes, the habits have really stuck from mumsies 🙂 and LOL @ your hubby… this is male thinking… my work colleague from a few years back said she had asked her husband to sweep the kitchen floor after he had been eating something messy and he literally just swiped the spot where he had been eating, didn’t bother to do the whole floor… haha…

      Plates for guests? Yeah, first of all I hardly get any guests 😀 It’s not even possible to measure me on the popularity scale! 😀 hahaha… nah, I actually don’t mingle with people in Ireland, even after 10 years… strange! second of all- solution? Paper plates, baby! 😀 We actually use paper plates quite often as well when eating non-messy food… and after use, they go to recycling! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You can cheat if you already know the drill anyways. I mean, then it’s more like re-reading than cheating anyways isn’t it? 😉

    Oh definitely! My grandmother was a real powerhouse as well. Hahaha, 3.5 kids? What happened to the 4th one? XD

    LOOOL, sooo typical! And they then look at us like WE’re the crazy ones as well! XD

    *low fives* I don’t even like having guests over. Keeps me from reading and you know, real socialising instead of talking about the neighbours’ cat ;). Hmm, maybe the Irish keep to themselves as well? I probably wouldn’t have mingled much either unless someone would’ve really pushed on to hang with them or something XD. AhA! Brilliant! (as long as they go to recycling of course) 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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