Finally, 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:
- people with mental illnesses or physical limitations
- people who live in dorms, or house-share
- lazy bums
- 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!