Two cleaning books: Simply Clean by Becky Rapinchuk and How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind by Dana White

Find in catalogI flipped through Simply Clean, which was very pretty and well laid out, but immediately discarded it when I saw that doing the dishes wasn’t on the daily task list. I can’t get behind any cleaning book that pretends that dishes aren’t part of cleaning! And I really can’t get behind any cleaning book that makes believe you can keep your house clean in 10 minutes a day, unless you have a tiny house, which this author definitely doesn’t because she talks about how to clean your bathrooms (plural). Which by the way, she says is to spray cleanser in one bathroom and then go to the other bathroom to spray cleanser and then go back to the first bathroom to wipe the cleanser. There’s your 10 minutes right there. This is also the kind of cleaning book that says in order to declutter a closet, you have to take everything out, wipe down the closet walls, vacuum, try everything on, and then put things back on identical hangers. Who’s got time for that (besides Marie Kondo)?

Find in catalogThat’s why I will hold up Dana White’s How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind as the gold standard for realistic cleaning. Her book is really basic, but really useful, and I’ve seen changes in my house following her methods. Some of what she says is kind of obvious, but yet I wasn’t doing it regularly. Like, doing the dishes every day (but then being totally bummed out about the state of my kitchen). Other useful practices: following the “visibility rule” (clean and tidy what’s most obvious and bugging you before you do a project like decluttering the attic) and following the “container concept” (limit your belongings to what fits in a certain space; weed out the items you like least when you want to make room for new items you like more). It’s also really helpful to me to have a laundry day. She devotes two chapters to this, which could seem like overkill, but wasn’t.

Both these books have a 28 day checklist for cleaning your house, and the difference is night and day. Simply Clean has 28 cleaning projects that you do on top of your regular chores. (Again, who’s got time for that?) How to Manage Your Home says wash your dishes every day. Then if you have energy, go around your house and pick up items out of place. If you still have energy, sweep your kitchen floor. And then do it again tomorrow. And tomorrow. And just doing that will help keep your house under control so you can start tackling some larger tasks after you’ve had 28 days forming new cleaning habits. As a tired and overworked person, I appreciate that.

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