Marie Kondo meets Thug Kitchen in this practical, no-holds-barred approach to decluttering that'll motivate you to get off your butt and tidy up.
Finally, here's a housekeeping and organizational system developed for those of us who'd describe our current living situation as a "f*cking mess" that we "really need to get around to fixing one day."
What started out as a Tumblr blog to reach a younger demographic, using daily, weekly, and mini challenges to motivate the lazy to get up and start cleaning, Unf*ck Your Habitat is for anyone who has been left behind by traditional aspirational systems. The ones that so often ignore single people; people without kids; students; people with pets or roommates; those with full-time jobs; and people with mental illnesses, chronic illnesses, and physical limitations. Most organisational books are aimed at stay-at-home moms, do-it-yourselfers, and people who seem to have unimaginable amounts of free time. They assume we all iron our sheets, have linen napkins that 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, challenges, and other how-tos, this practical, no-nonsense advice relies on UfYH's 20/10 system (20 minutes of cleaning followed by a 10-minute break; no marathon cleaning allowed) in order to help you develop lifelong habits. It's designed to encourage the reader to embrace a new lifestyle in manageable sections, so they can actually start applying the tactics as they 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 for it to bring you happiness, not stress.
Rachel Hoffman launched the Unf*ck Your Habitat blog in 2011 to motivate the lazy to get up and start cleaning. Her columns have appeared in Persephone magazine, xoJane, and the print edition of Glamour. Rachel lives in Rhode Island.
Unf*ck Your Habitat
Author: Rachel Hoffman
Question: What inspired you to write Unf*ck Your Habitat?
Rachel Hoffman: I wanted to develop and share a housekeeping system that would work for real people and could be used by people who have busy, messy lives and not a lot of time or motivation to clean. Most systems are very traditionally-focused, and tend to exclude people who don't fit into that very narrow box. I wanted to give people a resource that would work with all of the other stuff they have going on, not in spite of it.
Question: What can we learn from reading Unf*ck Your Habitat?
Rachel Hoffman: To embrace "good enough"! We're often so focused on perfection that we'll often avoid doing something rather than doing it incompletely or imperfectly. UfYH helps you see that any improvement is worth celebrating, and that "good enough" is perfectly acceptable.
Question: What originally motivated you to unf*ck your own habitat?
Rachel Hoffman: I call myself a reformed messy person. I always wanted a clean home, but was either too busy or too lazy to make it happen. It took a long time, but I eventually found a way to keep on top of the mess without it taking over my entire life by cleaning in shorter but more regular sessions.
Question: Can you give us your top three tips for decluttering?
Rachel Hoffman: 1. Stop obsessing over decluttering! If you focus more on improving the function and comfort of your home, and less on trying to throw away everything you own, you'll make better (and less stressful) decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.
2. Don't hold on to things just because you have an emotional attachment to them. It's perfectly OK to get rid of gifts you have no use for. If the only reason you're keeping something is guilt, get rid of it.
3. Make it an ongoing process. Rather than doing one big "get rid of all my possessions except one set of dishes and two full outfits" session, take a few minutes at a time regularly to weed through some stuff and make decisions on what to keep.
Question: Why do you follow the 20/10 system?
Rachel Hoffman: It keeps me from getting overwhelmed. If I know there's a definite stopping point, putting in the effort is much easier. And taking a break and rewarding myself for doing the work, no matter how small, is a great incentive to keep doing it.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Unf*ck Your Habitat
Author: Rachel Hoffman