I received this book for free from NetGalley, St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Unf*ck Your Habitat by Rachel Hoffman
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 3rd 2017
Genres: House & Home, Self-Help, Motivational & Inspirational
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: NetGalley, St. Martin's Press
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I was about to start a marathon cleaning session, but thankfully this book came along. Marathon cleaning is a big no-no and I get caught in that cycle too often! The UFYH method says if you spend a few minutes a day on chores, you’ll save time, reduce your anxiety, and build lifelong habits. I loved the concept of doing things as a gift to your future self. The author suggests 20 Minute Clean/10 Minute Rest sessions but recommends scaling if you have a disability that makes it difficult to stay active for that long. The system is very flexible. If you’re tired one day, just a couple of sessions will go a long way towards a cleaner and happier home. This method is said to be useful to everyone, but especially: busy people, people who can’t afford a maid, people with physical or mental illnesses or disabilities, people on their own for the first time, lazy people, and perfectionists. Warning: The title is bleeped out, but there are obviously some curse words in this book. I thought the cursing was surprisingly minimal considering the title.
There’s a universe of difference between a picture-perfect home that can be featured in magazines and a perfectly functional and livable home that you aren’t ashamed of or stressed out by. … Your home doesn’t need to look like the ones in those pictures in order for you to love living in it.
It’s divided into five sections (1) Getting Started, (2) Unf*cking Your Own Habitat, (3) Troubleshooting: Dealing with Other People’s F*cked-Up Space, (4) Special Cases (Moving, Digital Life, Schoolwork, and Work, and Emergency tips for preparing for last minute visits), and (5) List of UfYH Fundamentals and Helpful Checklists. There are mini-challenges scattered throughout the book, to encourage you to get started immediately. Rachel Hoffman has a supportive and nonjudgmental tone. Sometimes I read these types of books and the author sounds like the type of person who is constantly apologizing for the mess in their spotless home. Hoffman recognizes the struggle! She encourages being realistic in your goals. There’s quite a bit of repetition, but I don’t think most people will be reading this book straight through like I did. Some sections didn’t apply to me and other sections will be more helpful at specific points in life. I appreciated that the author addressed how societal perception and internalization of gender stereotypes can lead to all the housework unnecessarily falling on one person.
“Messy” isn’t who you are; it’s a result of what you do or don’t do, and it can change. You can change it.
Much of the content is already available via the blog, but there is a good case for owning a copy of this book:
• It’s helpful to have a physical copy to refer to, especially since hopping on the Internet isn’t always the best idea when you need to get motivated.
• It’s nice to have the important information concentrated in a well-organized spot that doesn’t require electricity or an internet connection.
• Supporting content creators who make a positive difference in our lives.
I generally prefer print over ebook for activity books.
We are, for better or worse, our own worst critics, but there’s no reason we can’t also be our own biggest cheerleaders. Self-perception, when you get right down to it, is really the most important view of ourselves, so be as kind to yourself in your own mind as you’d want everyone else to be to you out loud.
This method really resonated with me, because I never learned basic cleaning skills when I was growing up; I never even had chores! I definitely fit the profile of a marathon cleaner. I don’t have trouble with basic tasks like laundry/dishes/trash (though I did when I first moved out on my own!), but I don’t even notice soap scum on my shower door or dust on unused surfaces until it becomes a massive project. Some of the cleaning tips seem obvious now, but I never thought about cleaning efficiency and what areas of the room should be cleaned first. Hoffman recommends teaching your children good cleaning habits at a young age because those habits are difficult to develop up when you become an adult. For those of us that weren’t lucky enough to develop those habits young, UFYH is a great starting point.
Everything tends to become far more manageable when you stop looking at the big terrifying forest and take a nice long look at the trees.
I highly recommend you download the companion app, Unfilth Your Habitat. It includes a helpful 20/10 timer, but my favorite features are the “Random Unf*cking Challenge” and the “Challenge by Room.” Those selections give you specific tasks to work on, so you don’t have to sit there being overwhelmed about where to start. In the “Random” section, you can even select the amount of time you have available. A five-minute challenge might be “wipe down your kitchen counters,” whereas a twenty-minute challenge might be “attack your need-to-iron pile.” Little things done consistently can make a big difference and add up to a better quality of life.
You can’t fail at something cyclical like this.
This book motivated me to start on the home project that causes me the most anxiety–my shower doors! I cleaned between chapters. I’m still working on it, but it’s almost spotless now! Unf*ck Your Habitat will be most useful for people who are complete beginners at cleaning, but there are helpful tips for everyone. If you need a supportive, no-nonsense voice to encourage you to get started, this is the book for you. Hoffman has such a reassuring voice that it felt like we were in this together! The publication date for this book is January 3, 2017, just in time to help you with your New Year’s resolutions!