Book Review: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

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Do you ever feel like an idea is chasing you? Like when you buy a new car and suddenly see that make and model everywhere?

I’m being hit over and over again by the idea of assigning tasks to days of the week.

I read a post somewhere about Ma Ingalls and her ditty about “Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday…” and so forth. Then, I saw a headline about a writer who assigns different writing tasks to different days of the week.

And I just finished How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana White of the blog A Slob Comes Clean. She has a laundry day and other habits that help her keep her home, despite still being a slob at heart (and she’s funny to boot).

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(Page numbers not included in quotes because I read it as an ebook.)

Here’s the thing: as a project lover, I like to finish stuff. I like to work hard and then step away, living the rest of my life with the memory of how awesome I was in that moment.       Of the amazing results of my hard work.
I like to finish and move on.
Not much sticks in my craw like redoing something I did right the first time.

Here’s what I had to accept: Cleaning my house is not a project. It’s a series of boring, mundane, repetitive tasks. The people whose homes are clean all the time do these boring, mundane, repetitive tasks. (emphasis mine)

I still struggle to accept that I’m going to be doing housework until the day that I die. It doesn’t matter if I have little kids or big kids or grown kids–unless our financial fortunes change so drastically that I can afford a full-time, live-in maid in good conscious, then I need to put on my big girl panties and just do the daily work of keeping house–rather than wait for it to become a “project.”

Weeks into my deslobification process, I was learning that habits were the way to go. Habits were making a much bigger impact than I ever thought possible.
So I kept going. I added a new habit once the last one started to feel natural. Not easy, but natural.

Now I think of these things as pre-made decisions. This perspective works for me.
I don’t get to decide if certain things need to be done. I know for a fact they do. Just like I don’t get to decide the sky is blue.

I’ve written before about being an obliger. We’re taking May off of school, so that will be the perfect time to sit down and write out a plan–and then finding someway to oblige myself to stick to it.

Now, Monday is my laundry day. I start on Sunday night and end on Tuesday morning. I don’t have to think about laundry the rest of the week! I fold and sort right from the dryer and I put tons of stuff straight from the dryer to the donate bag! I can see a difference and more importantly, I found a system that is not overwhelming.

That’s actually a reader quote from the end of a chapter, but it sums up the whole “laundry in a day” concept so nicely. I’ve done this off and on for several months and when I actually buckle down and ensure I switch the loads and do all the folding, it’s magical. Definitely keeping it.

Here’s the author’s “ah-ha” moment about space after trying to fit fifteen-feet worth of cookbooks into a three-foot shelf (or some similar measure):

Soon after this space-in-my-home-doesn’t-expand-to-fit-all-the-stuff-I-want realization, I grasped that the root work of container is contain.
Like that shelf, containers are limits.

Not a radical concept, but the language was really helpful to me–especially for future purchases–in a way that “everything has a home” wasn’t quite sufficient.

And I realized something: I had established routines by not establishing routines. When I asked my family to do something I hadn’t been doing myself, they were confused. Things worked a certain way in our home. I twas the complete opposite of how I wanted things to work, but it was all my kids knew.
Once I established routines for myself, my family could jump into those routines because the routines existed.

This is a link I think I’ve been missing. I desperately want to teach my kids to learn how to care for a home so that they’ll be ready to leave the nest…but in wanting them to learn, I’ve waited for them to be “ready” before really establishing cleaning routines.

But if this is the year that I ATTEND to my family, maybe I pull on my oxygen mask first: figure out how to keep the house myself (with the kids still doing the chores they already do, like the dishwasher, a daily pickup, and the dreaded cleaning of their room) and then invite them in.

This easy, breezy read was encouraging and helpful–and I so look forward to putting many of Dana’s ideas into practice for my own (albeit not as dramatic) deslobification process.

What have you been reading lately? I’d love to hear!

 

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