Title: Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess
Author: Rachel Hoffman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Summary (from Goodreads): Finally, a housekeeping and organizational system developed for those of us who’d describe our current living situation as a “f*cking mess” that we’re desperate to fix. Unf*ck Your Habitat is for anyone who has been left behind by traditional aspirational systems: The ones that ignore single people with full-time jobs; people without kids but living with roommates; and people with mental illnesses or physical limitations, and many others. Most organizational books are aimed at traditional homemakers, DIYers, and people who seem to have unimaginable amounts of free time. They assume we all iron our sheets, have linen napkins to match our table runners, and can keep plants alive for longer than a week. Basically, they ignore most of us living here in the real world.
Interspersed with lists and challenges, this practical, no-nonsense advice relies on a 20/10 system (20 minutes of cleaning followed by a 10-minute break; no marathon cleaning allowed) to help you develop lifelong habits. It motivates you to embrace a new lifestyle in manageable sections so you can actually start applying the tactics as you progress. For everyone stuck between The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Adulting, this philosophy is decidedly more realistic than aspirational, but the goal is the same: not everyone will have a showcase of a home, but whatever your habitat, you deserve one that brings you happiness, not stress.
If you are looking for motivation to get up and get cleaning and organizing your environment, then this book might provide you with the encouragement that you are looking for. While, there are some great suggestions and a good foundation with the 20/10 system that Rachel Hoffman has developed, this book seems to spend more time talking than actual doing. I was hoping that there would be more concrete ideas and actual time saving techniques to improve upon my own housekeeping endeavours and I just came away from this one wondering what I had achieved in reading it.
As you can gather from the Goodreads synopsis, this book is not a traditional approach to housekeeping. There are ideas for everyone including students and those with disabilities. I applaud Hoffman for such an inclusive book and if you are struggling with ideas on how to get up and get motivated, then I suggest that you do give this book a try. Most of the suggestions contained in this one are motivational and may assist those who are living in a situation that is highly disorganized and not cleanly.
While there are attempts to help push those who need to clean their environments to get up and start cleaning, I found that there were very few ideas on how to actually clean and organize in this book. The method of cleaning and taking small breaks (20/10 system) is one that is useful, but I would have preferred a focus on what to actually do in those 20 minutes. Yes, there are a couple of ideas, such as decluttering a work surface, but the book just seemed to go around in circles telling readers to get up and get cleaning.
Admittedly, towards the end of this book there are a couple of lists to use while cleaning and a few ideas on how to generally clean if you have never done so before. However, there is not one image or much else beyond this. So, if you are after a book that tells you how to clean, this one is not for you. The author does mention that those glossy home organization books and magazines provide stress to those of us who cannot live up to these standards, but in my opinion, I think a picture sometimes speaks louder than words in a book that contains techniques and ideas.
Unf*ck Your Habitat is a book that is a very motivational read for anyone struggling to live in a clean environment. If you already have the desire and are looking for concrete examples of how and what to do to clean your space, this book may provide you with a couple of ideas, but I would not say it is a comprehensive book on how to clean.