Friday, July 25, 2008

the last cleaning book I'll ever need

I've been reading this book, The House That Cleans Itself, and I swear to you that this woman is my twin in a different skin. Seriously. Everything she says, I'm putting my hand up. Yep. That's me. Yep. That too. News flash for me. NOT EVERYBODY IS EQUALLY ABLED when it comes to cleaning savvy and intuitive skills.

BUT, anyone can learn this. This book is AWESOME. This author, Mindy Starns Clark, is so sweet. She puts in all these Most Embarrassing Messy House stories from her readers, and I've started to feel like I'm not at the bottom of the barrel as far as cleaning goes. We all have our little things, but at least I never had mushrooms growing in the corner of my bathroom, or wheat growing from the bathmat. I do have plenty of my own embarrassing messy house stories, which I haven't decided if I'm going to share or not, but I don't have ALL of these.

And she knows that looking around the house when I first walk in and seeing a huge mess is energy-sapping and depressing. Yes. She gets it. That's so me. Mindy is such a gentle soul. She totally understands, because she is one of us messies by nature. And she knows why we do it. It's not because we're lazy, or stupid, or because we LOVE our mess, we just don't know how to do it differently.

For example, how many times have you heard someone say, "If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it." Or, "Do you really NEED that?" She thinks if it were just that easy, we would have already done it and gotten rid of the offending, cluttery, space-hogging stuff.

Instead, she lists a bunch of reasons why we keep stuff, and here I was again popping my hand up almost involuntarily, "Yes! Yes! Yes, that's me!" She gets it. And then she said something that made me stop and think: Clutterers need to face the black and white reality of the true trade-offs they are making.

Every single thing we own takes time. Time to deal with it, to move it around, to find places to stash it, to clean it, to clean around it, to think about it and what to do with commit a portion of your time to every single thing you have in your house. You only get twenty-four hours in a day. How much of that do you want to donate to maintaining your barnacles?

Every paper clip, every newspaper and magazine, every piece of barnacle that collects on any horizontal surface, every *whatever it is* that you're saving because--

*you may need it someday
*it was given to you as a gift
*you inherited it
*you got a really good deal on it
*it holds the promise of fun or adventure or comfort
*you might be able to make something out of it
*your kids might want it someday
and my own reason,
*you've invested so much into it that you shouldn't get rid of it unless someone is buying it from you (boxes and boxes and BOXES of Beanie Babies. Help! Somebody give me permission to just get rid of them!)

--every single thing costs you time that you never get back.

I have to buy this book. It's on Amazon for about ten bucks. I think it's going to be the best ten bucks I've spent in a long time. Check it out from your library first and see what you think.

Can I tell you my favorite part so far? The prayer walk. She suggests doing a prayer walk through your house before you begin. Have you ever done a prayer walk? I love how she describes this.

She's comparing it to a prayer walk outside where you tend to be more discreet, and she says, "A prayer walk through your home can be quite a different experience. Because no one is looking or listening, feel free to pray out loud, pause in different places as you feel led, raise your hands, recite scripture, even burst into song or dance to the Lord. Afraid you'll feel stupid? Please don't. This is between you and God, and he treasures your transparency and willingness to come to him this way."

That made me feel so much more comfortable about the whole thing, and it made me look forward to starting the process. After all, even though I may feel inadequate, we are new creatures in Christ. He can transform us in this area as well. Are these things beneath His notice? Absolutely not. We can surrender this to Him too! Obviously, I have not been able to accomplish keeping a consistently clean house in thirty years of housekeeping on my own. I'm betting that He can do a much better job of it than I can. I'm getting excited, peoples.

Hey. The whole reason she started this book is because she wanted to write a mystery series about a clean freak, and she had to research how cleanies do what they do since she wasn't one of them herself. So I know she knows what she's talking about. She is me. Or I am she, or her, as the case may be.

It makes sense to me, and I think I can do it. Not overnight, but gradually. I'll keep you posted.


Smilingsal said...

Sounds like a good read, but I'm curious. If you are reading it now, why do you have to go buy it?

daisy said...

Well, when I'm interested in a book, I check it out from the library first. Kind of a no-commitment way to preview it. If it's REALLY good, I'll buy it. Or if I desperately want to read it and it's not available at the library, I'll buy it if I can get it for cheap on Amazon. So to wrap that up, I checked it out, and now I want it for keeps.

Hooked on Houses said...

This is so interesting. I hadn't heard of this book, but I love stuff like this. Like you, I always check for things at the library first, so I'll put it on my list! -Julia

dddiva said...

This looks like something I can so use around here.
I came for the giveaway but am spending way too much time reading. ;) I'm adding you to my blog roll if you dont' mind so I don't forget to come back.
Oh, and enter to win the $50 Amazon GC I am giving away if you get a chance then you can get the book and something else. :D