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Book Jacket

0736918809
Trade Paperback
240 pages
Jun 2007
Harvest House Publishers

The House That Cleans Itself: Creative Solutions for a Clean and Orderly House in Less Time Than You Can Imagine

by Mindy Starns Clark

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt  |  Interview

Excerpt:

Introduction

A Creative Approach

So what is this book exactly? The House That Cleans Itself is a how-to guide that reveals, step-by-step, a system that will:

  • take a house that tends to be messy and turn it into a house that tends to be neat
  • take a cleaning routine that takes up far too much time and turn it into a cleaning routine that is shockingly fast
  • take a family that struggles with mess-inducing behaviors and turn it into a family with naturally tidy behaviors, often without family members even realizing it
  • take a life where the minutes are eaten away by ordinary household tasks and turn it into a life with time to spare for things that really count
  • take a person who feels like a failure in caring for his or her home and change that person into someone who is unburdened, unashamed, and successful in caring for the home

When done correctly, the House that Cleans Itself System will guide you and your family through a process that will make your home easier to keep clean, easier to manage, and easier to enjoy.

How Does the System Work?

the House that Cleans Itself (HTCI) System begins by leading you step-by-step through a home-evaluation process. By taking a fresh look at familiar spaces, you will be able to define the various behaviors and habits that tend to create clutter, mess, and dirt throughout your home. Conventional housekeeping experts might say that once you know what the problem behaviors and habits are, you can change them. But I contend that if you could change those behaviors you would have done so by now. In fact, you’ve probably tried and tried in the past and ended up disappointed and frustrated with yourself and/or your family members.

By adapting the environment to compensate for and/or eliminate the behavior, your house will stay clean longer and with less effort than you ever imagined.

the HTCI System, however, shows you how to change your house, often in creative and clever ways, so that behaviors are no longer an issue. By adapting the environment to compensate for and/or eliminate the behavior, your house will stay clean longer and with less eff ort than you ever imagined.

Finally, my system shows you how to maintain lasting change— again, not by forcing you to develop new habits and behaviors, but by anticipating and circumventing your natural inclinations toward mess from now on.

If you follow the system from beginning to end, faithfully doing each step, when you are finished your house will stay cleaner day by day and your cleaning routine will be faster and more efficient than ever before. Best of all, these things will happen in a way that at times feels so eff ortless you’ll think your house really is cleaning itself!

Still not quite clear on how it works? Let me give you some tangible examples.

In a House that’s a Struggle to Clean

You bring in the day’s mail, fl ip through it for anything good or interesting, and toss the rest on the table until you have time to fool with it

When you find clothes you no longer want, you put them aside to eventually give to charity. the items sit as a pile of clutter in your room or work their way back into your closet.

You hang on to an entire shelf filled with cookbooks even though you only use a few recipes from each.

You nag your kids endlessly to stop dumping their backpacks beside the front door.

In a House that Cleans Itself

You bring in the day’s mail, fl ip through it for anything good or interesting, and drop the rest into the Standing Paper Sorter so it’s on its way to being dealt with.

When you find clothes you no longer want, you put them into your Upstairs Charity Bucket to give to charity. When you have time, all you do is lift out the plastic liner, tie it off , toss it into your car, and go. Bonus: Because you have somewhere to put such items, you’ve added others, preventing further clutter and giving you a bigger donation.

You tear out the pages that have recipes you like, put those in a recipe box or self-stick photo album, and recycle the rest of the books, clearing out half the shelf.

You provide an attractive cabinet or trunk or container that’s big enough to hold your kids’ backpacks and place it beside the front door.

As you can see, this system combines logic with creativity to solve mess-inducing challenges all over your house.

The Road Ahead

As you may have guessed by now, working your way through the steps of the HTCI System is going to require some time and eff ort. But it’s worth it because it works!!

Please understand that the goal is not a perfect house. Ironically, perfectionism actually makes your home worse, not better. No, our goal is a clean-enough house, one where kids can make messes but those messes get cleaned up when they’re done; where dad can dirty every pot in the house whipping up a gourmet dessert, but those pots are washed and put away in a reasonable amount of time; where mom can sit on the couch and close her eyes once in a while, not because she’s overwhelmed by the mess but because she’s relaxed by the clean.

the goal is a living, breathing, working home that allows for life but recovers quickly and easily from the messes that life inevitably brings. In a HTCI, a house is clean when:

  • the rooms have the pleasing appearance of neatness
  • all surfaces are adequately clean
  • the closets and drawers are well organized so they serve
  • as fully functioning tools for daily living
  • the systems for accomplishing household tasks are working smoothly for every member of the family
  • the odds and ends of life are easily processed and not allowed to form clutter

If that definition of clean resonates with you, keep reading! By tossing out perfectionist standards that are impossible to achieve, your home will actually become clean enough much more consistently than ever before.