Unfuck Your Habitat

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by my local library to check out a book or two. One of the books I borrowed was Unfuck Your Habitat by Rachel Hoffman. It caught my eye because I've been desperate to have a consistently clean home! After reading the intro - I realized this book takes a different approach to cleaning. A lot of guides or tips out there rely on a perfect nuclear family (Also, has anyone else printed off one of those cleaning schedules that they follow for two days and then give up on it?) What about people who deal with anxiety? Or single parents? This book looks at the issue of cleaning through a more realistic lens that includes exercises to do if you're living with mental health issues or a disability.

One thing that stuck out to me was marathon cleaning. Marathon cleaning is when you "wait for it to get to the point where you absolutely cannot stand to look at it for more than a second, and then spend a day or two or three cleaning ... until it's livable again. Then you wait for it to get to the worst point again and do the same thing a few weeks or months later, doing mostly nothing in between." *Insert wow, they're just like me! meme*

Marathon cleaning is not sustainable for me because when the house is cluttered, I feel anxious. When this happens, I either 1. Run away and get out of the house (which doesn't help at all,) or I (surprise!) marathon clean.

Another realization I had while reading this book was - *tear, there will always be a never-ending cycle of cleaning. Another unrealistic expectation I had after marathon cleaning was that "okay, the house will never get dirty again." HA! HA! Once I realized that I will be cleaning up after myself for the rest of my life - I studied her strategy and started implementing it. 

- The 20/10 Cleaning Method: This is where you clean for 20 minutes and take a break for 10. You can customize this to your liking. I do 45 minutes of cleaning and 15 minutes of rest before I move on to the next task. Because my cleaning time is much longer - I usually clean for 45 minutes a day, and that's it.  Some days you can do three rounds of 20/10 whereas other days - you can only do one round. If you do this at least once a day while implementing other things - like putting things away, not down, you'll slowly start building habits that keep your messes minimal. Then there's no need to marathon clean. I'm working on this now.

- If you feel like this is a waste of time because you've been cleaning for 20 minutes and the entire house isn't 100% clean, take a photo before and after! Although small - it is an ego boost, trust me.

My kitchen before and after cleaning it for 45 minutes. You can’t see, but I washed, dried and put the dishes in my sink away as well. 

I took 15 minute break, then I cleaned my living room for 20 minutes. After this I was done for the day. No marathon cleaning for me! 

(Also, excuse the shitty photos! But you get the point) 

- The shorter the cycle is, the less time you spend doing it. For example - do the dishes when there are only a couple of plates in the sink, NOT! when it's overflowing. Doing this not only helps you in the present - but also helps your future self! Taking care of your future self in the present is very important! 

Having a clean home doesn't make you a better person- it just makes you a person with a clean home.

- Unfuck Your Morning - Take a moment to set yourself up for success the night before. "Doing 20 minutes of work before bed can save you endless aggravation in the morning." Who wants to wake up and deal with anxiety first thing in the morning?! Not I! But alas, I do anyways. The book has a couple of mini-challenges scattered in the book that are very helpful. For this they challenge you to

  1. Wash the dishes in your sink.
  2. Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories.
  3. Set up coffee, tea, and breakfast.
  4. Make your lunch (saves time AND! money)
  5. Put your keys somewhere obvious. While you're at it - put all of your much-needed items in your bag like lotion, hand sanitizer, AirPods, etc. The amount of time I have spent running around my house in the morning looking for my AirPods or bus pass is embarrassing.
  6. Take your medications/vitamins or set them out for the morning.
  7. Charge your electronics.

I could literally copy and paste her book in this post, but I wont! I highlighted just small fraction of the helpful (to me) advice shown in this book. If you're like me and feel overwhelmed by cleaning and don't know where to start - I'd recomend seeing if they have this book at your local library or buy it second hand online! This book also goes over cleaning basics, cleaning when you have roommates or a significant other, asking for help, digital cleaning and MORE

There’s actually a reddit community (that sadly was randomly locked?) where people come together to vent, get advice and show progress shots (the best part.)