Wednesday, April 5, 2017
The House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark
To be clear, I read the version released in 2007 in 2010. The latest copy was updated in 2013. Now that the dates are out of the way, let me tell you about living in a house that cleans itself for the past 7 years. Actually, two houses.
You can check my archives for some before and after pictures of when this whole thing started. Our house was obviously a mess most of the time. We lived in our home full time, meaning that it was never alone because we were homeschooling or relaxing and only one person was working full-time. You would think that would make it easier to keep a clean home, but it doesn't because you're making more meals, creating more art, and enjoying your space. There's stuff everywhere. It was bad when we first got started. It took well over a year and never even got to the yard which at that point was a courtyard that we never went into except to grill. But once it got to the place that it was cleaning itself, things pretty much stayed that way. We would clean once a week, pick up when needed and things were tidy. And we liked it! We liked not having our stuff everywhere in untidy piles. Go figure.
Some of the main things I remember from that period is that emotions and cleaning shouldn't mix. Cleaning is not an emotional event, it's just part of home maintenance. The other is that you shouldn't try to eliminate messes but find solutions for them where they happen. If clothes end up in an untidy pile in your bedroom, give them a butler's chair and hide it behind your dresser so it's not in sight when you enter the room. If shoes are everywhere when you come in the door, give them a box to land in. Use things that hide the mess and look nice instead.
The real benefit that I received from this book is that when we moved, we were able to pack the entire house in under a month. That's under a month from when we found out we were moving to the moment we left the keys. And it wasn't overly stressful. I did discover a couple of areas I should have been paying more attention to, but overall, I was pleased with the ability to get all my stuff packed away without crying and wondering if I was going to have to call my mom to come help me. Which I have done before even though she lives over a thousand miles away because she's awesome like that.
Enter the second house that I've tried to set up the same system with. It had new messes and new problem areas and we're still working on it. My biggest downfall is that I don't get the donation pile out the door nearly as often and we seem to always have cardboard boxes piling up. Those things somehow live in the same area and it's right by my back door. I hate it and I always try to go in there and fix it, but it persists. Fortunately, the rest of the house has not been nearly as difficult.
So is this really a review of the book? No, it's a review of the system. It works for me. I like not having my stuff everywhere, even if that means that I ultimately had to have less stuff. The system does work if you want it to. Go grab a copy and see if it can work for you!
I was not compensated for this review in any way, just decided to share my thoughts on it because it's spring cleaning week over on my facebook page. Come check it out if you're interested in talking about cleaning! www.facebook.com/tinathestoryteller