I received a copy of How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind to review and cleaning supplies from Proctor and Gamble to implement the cleaning tips in the book. I have not been compensated and the opinions are entirely my own.
I was fortunate to read the first draft of How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind last year for my friend Dana of A Slob Comes Clean. I had just finished a year of writing, editing, and doing photo shoots for my cookbook and my house was severely neglected. I sat down to read Dana's first draft in my chaotic home feeling like a hypocrite. Dana's humor and non-judgmental tone immediately set me at ease. After reading a few chapters, I wanted to put the book down, not because it wasn't interesting, but because I had an overwhelming desire to CLEAN my kitchen. I was seriously torn – I had promised to read it and send her my thoughts, but I really wanted to stop and clean. I gave in to my desire to clean the kitchen and then went back to reading, but pretty soon I was overcome with a desire to sweep my kitchen floor. SERIOUSLY! And so it went. I would read a bit, then want to tackle laundry, read a bit more, then feel the need to tackle some decluttering. I didn't just read my way through her rough draft, I lived it! And I have continued living it for the last year. So I can tell you unequivocally that since I started using the strategies in this book, my house is cleaner, more organized, and most importantly more peaceful!
When I received my official review copy of How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind from Dana's publicist in a box of cleaning supplies from Proctor and Gamble, I laughed because I immediately got it. The box included the tools needed to get started on the first few steps. WARNING: Before you start reading this book, make sure you have dish soap ready and a Swiffer pad on your Swiffer because if you are like most of us, you will actually be inspired to clean once you start reading. I know, I know. It sounds crazy, but somewhere between chapter 4 and chapter 6, your fingers will start itching to do the dishes. After chapter 7 you will want to clean the kitchen floor. You're just going to have to trust me on this.
How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind
This book completely changed the way I manage my home. Why? It is so easy. In fact, at first, it almost seems too easy. There are no long lists of things to do. There is not a new method that you have to master. It is a simple and practical approach that encourages you to create systems that work for you and your family. Dana gives you ideas for where to start in taking back your home, but she leaves room for you to adapt them to your lifestyle. Despite the simplicity of her method, there is an almost magical snowball effect that occurs.
I can't cook in a messy kitchen. Since I am a recipe developer and cookbook author that means I do clean my kitchen every day. Sometimes a couple times a day. So how did Dana help me? I realized I wasn't putting away the clean and dry dishes regularly. I just pulled them out of the dishwasher or dish drain when I needed something. This left my kitchen looking messy and cluttered all.the.time. Even when it was completely clean. Just taking the time to put away all the dry dishes each day transformed my kitchen. Now here's where the snowball starts. Once I committed to putting away my dishes each day, I realized they didn't all fit in the cupboard. So I started purging the extras that I didn't need or use. Then I started looking at the other things on my counters that I had become blind to and evaluating whether they needed to be there and decluttering the items that belonged somewhere else.
The same thing happened with laundry. I have always been pretty good about washing laundry, but the clothing always ended up in piles on the couch. Once I committed to one laundry day a week, as Dana recommends, where I washed, dried, AND put away the clothes, I realized we had too many clothes to fit in the drawers. So I purged the clothes that we didn't wear. BONUS: Since laundry wasn't sitting on my couch, my family room looked cleaner.
Here's where the snowball started really growing: I felt so good about how much better my kitchen and family room looked, that I started looking for more areas that I could declutter to make my home look even nicer.
Dana has some counterintuitive, but very effective tips for how to make the biggest impact when decluttering that have completely changed how I declutter and organize my home. For me, the tip to immediately take items to where they belong when decluttering was life changing. Why? As soon as you come upon an item that doesn't belong, you take it to where it does belong. You don't make a huge pile of things to put away later. You get up and put each item where it belongs as you encounter it. It sounds like it would take more time to do this, but it actually allowed me to find more small bits of time in my schedule where I could tackle clutter. No longer did I have to carve out huge chunks of time to organize a whole room. I could work in small sections and if I was interrupted, I wasn't left with a huge pile of things that needed to be put in their proper place – anything that didn't belong was already put away. I could leave knowing I left that space looking better than when I started and there were no loose ends nagging me in my mind. Using Dana's tips and little pieces of stolen time, I have been able to declutter my home which not only makes it look cleaner but also makes it feel bigger.
With humor and grace, Dana provides simple, actionable steps to help you take back your home in her book How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind and helps you create systems that have a profound impact on your home.