If you’re still trying to finish your spring cleaning or if you’re looking to reorganize your home this summer “The House that Cleans Itself” by Mindy Starns Clark might be just what you need.
This is not your typical book on how to clean better, filled with checklists and inspirational sayings. What sets this book apart is how Clark encourages you to change your surroundings to help your habits. She doesn’t expect or think you should change yourself. Clark considers herself a “chronically messy” person and details in the book her system of changing and rethinking her environment to help make her house less messy.
Her advice is very much in line with the lessons Aby teaches here at simplify 101. For example, “One of the biggest causes of habitually messy houses is that items have been acquired but not assigned.” Items need a home. And why not make it easy and have that home be close to where the stuff is already accumulating? This is the part of the book I like best – she advocates changing your environment to fit how you use it. So if your children are always leaving sports equipment by the back door instead of in the cabinet in the kitchen, why not relocate that cabinet/container near the back door? No need to nag and try to change behavior – change your system instead!
Clark goes through each step in her process and provides plenty of real life problems and solutions. She advocates setting up stations for common tasks and also urges the reader to look at sight lines, “you give your home the appearance of being cleaner than it is by carefully directing the eye toward the stay-neat areas.” Even if you don’t want to fully implement her process there are good nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout the book. Also for comic relief the end of each chapter has a “messy house confession.”
Another aha moment I had while reading this book is that I have a lot of head knowledge about cleaning but not a lot of practical knowledge. Sure I can vacuum and do laundry – those just require a machine – but as for the right way to clean a bathtub, scrub a floor, or even do the dishes – I wasn’t truly taught how to do that growing up. Which makes me want to pass on some actual knowledge to my girls about how to properly clean.
Clark writes from a Christian perspective. Each chapter begins with a bible verse and there is a chapter about creating a devotional area. If you’re not a Christian, you could easily skip these sections and still benefit from the book.
So if you’re looking to make your home work for you try “The House That Cleans Itself” by Mindy Starns Clark.
What about you? Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Any other tips you’d like to share? Please share in the comments below.