I’m a relatively tidy person – I do laundry, I hang my coat up when I get in and take the bins out. But like a lot of people I’m busy and it’s easy for life pressures to get in the way. I need a guide that recognises I’ll never win any housekeeping awards, but still gives me handy tips to keep on top of my mess. Enter Unf*ck Your Habitat.
I loved this book for two reasons. One, it doesn’t promise to turn you into a domestic guru with Pinterest-worthy interior. It just wants you to feel happier about your home. It unpacks the common reasons why we create mess and helps you adopt a different mindset towards housework.
Two, it acknowledges that there’s a world beyond the ‘married and able-bodied with kids’ demographic targeted by the majority of housekeeping/organising models and addresses modern obstacles to a tidy home.
So, crunch-time, is the advice any good? Answer: abso-f*ckin-lutely! The key to UYH success is ditching infrequent marathon cleaning sessions for a more achievable 20/10 approach (20 minutes of cleaning, 10 minute break). It’s full of lists and challenges to keep you on track. I really liked the suggestion of using ‘waiting time’ wisely – this morning I got the washing machine on while waiting for the kettle to boil. What really stood out was that it takes into account people with physical and mental health conditions. 20/10 not realistic right now? Start with 2/15 and build up, but no more than 20/10 in one session.
UYH doesn’t offer any revolutionary ideas – it’s a spin on the ‘little and often’ approach. Still, the advice is contemporary and pragmatic. Best of all, it’s delivered in the delightfully sweary tone of a firm-but-loving friend, rather than a scolding parent. It’s a must read for anyone wanting to develop realistic and long term cleaning habits. Now where did I put that hoover?
By Sarah Ryan