Book of the month: November

“[…] a book about cleaning the house isn’t exactly beach reading. But since we don’t get taught cleaning in school anymore […], and it is legitimately a life skill that affects us and our families each day (just think back to your last cleaning-related argument), it is absolutely worth learning about and mastering.”

I know, I know, a book about cleaning here on my book pic of the month? Couldn’t I have found something more exciting? Well, let me tell you, in all my coaching I always stress the importance of a tidy, clean home. Not an over-the-top Martha Stewart styled home, but just a clean home that you can feel comfortable and happy in. A big part of a healthy life is coming home at the end of a tiring day to a space you love. If you come home to a pigsty every time, you will not have the time to de-stress, settle down, and relax that your body so desperately needs.

When people come to my house, one of the first comments is always “your house is so clean”. Yes, it is. And do you want to know my secret? I don’t have a lot of stuff standing around. Things that take forever to dust are all tucked away, so that my cleaning process gets cut down to 3-4 hours a week plus some routine tidying up every day. Of course this is still a time investment, epsecially if you are already stretched to the limit time-wise. Every week when I clean, I really miss our helper we had in China, who just kept our home so clean that I never had to think about it. But alas, those good times are gone for now.

I don’t love cleaning. What I love is the cleanliness afterwards. The fact that I can walk over my floors with barefeet without stepping into someting every few seconds; that my kitchen looks clean and inviting for me to want to actually cook; and that I love to spend time in my bathtub to relax at the end of a busy day.

I know that this is something a lot of people feel very torn about. On the one hand, the idea of a clean house is nice, but looking at every room and deciding where to start can be so overwhelming. This is where “Clean My Space” comes in.

“Each room-by-room chapter offers up two routines: the Express Clean routine and the Top-to-Bottom routine. The Express routines are designed to give you the key points to hit when you don’t have much time but you want to lightly clean for maximum impact. They can help build confidence in cleaning if you don’t have much experience, they’re the gateway drug of cleaning.”

You can actually get addicited to cleaning? Sign me up! Maker really helps you to make the cleaning process your own. She tells you exactly what kind of cleaning products you need, down to the brands she loves, as well as the how to make your own cleaning products at home. Disclaimer: some of them have been a hit or miss for me. The wood polish wasn’t so well received in my home, but the grout cleaner is the bomb.

First, Maker walks you through picking out your MIAs = the Most Important Areas of your home. These areas will be your main focus when you clean, you can skip the rest or skim over them until you get into more deep cleaning mode. Isn’t that brilliant? You don’t need to feel overwhelmed with having to clean every part of your home every week. Next she offers up her actual technique of how to clean.

"Have you ever walked into a room and felt a strong desire to run the other way? That is because you didn't have a system in place to tackle the cleaning. I get asked all the time about how and where to start cleaning. My formula, the 3-Wave system, is the answer. [...] The idea is that you work around the room three times with a distinct purpose with each pass. By the end of the third pass, your space is sparkling and you feel as calm as a cactus in the desert."

Maker does an excellent job of breaking down every room of your house. She points out areas with special needs - like your sofa cushions that have collected an entire handbag worth of stuff in them over the years - and how to tackle each area most efficiently. Everything she does is with the pure purpose of saving you time and getting the most results. The 3 wave system is implemented in each room, starting with tidying and organizing, going to acutal cleaning, and then finishing with the floors. This way you don’t spread more crumbs on the floors after you have already vaccumed. Most of us have never thought about these processes, and it may seem a bit extreme to you in the beginning, but just like with food that we eat every day, we also need to clean and tidy up regularly. So we might as well learn a system that works, and that gets us super results fast!

"We release two billion dead skin cells - which amounts to about a handful of breakfast cereal - each day. Gross. That just lingers around; dust mites feed on that delicious dinner and then poop out their business, which then becomes part of the dust as well. [...] Dust contributes in large part to so-called sick building syndrome, the headaches, nausea, itchy eyes, and more serious respiratory illnesses that can plague those who work in offices with too little fresh-air circulation and too much dust and other indoor pollutants. So for real. Let's take it seriously."

Sprinkled into each chapter is so much personal wisdom from Maker, you feel like you are having a coffee chat with her, rather than talking about the very dry, boring topic of cleaning. Learn all about her methods of ​

  • setting up your cleaning space with all the tools you need to get the job done

  • cleaning from top of bottom

  • letting the product do the work for you

  • checking how well your job was done with the “eye-level test”

  • the two key cleaning moves, the s-pattern and the w-pattern​

My favorite extra special tips that have truly changed my way of cleaning and tidying up are:

  • To make your ice taste good again in the freezer, dump out the ice from the bin, wash it with hot water, soap, and 1/2 cup of baking soda to get rid of the odor. Then replace it.

  • Every time you take the stairs, grab something that needs to go upstairs or downstairs. That way you are using your time to tidy up without even noticing it. I often do this with Baby Zand’s toys that seem to all accumulate in the living room throughout the day.

  • Save a shrunken top by soaking it in lukewarm water with gentle shampoo for 30 minutes to relax the fibers. Then roll into a clean towel to squeeze out moisture and stretch gently to its original size.

"It's not 1950 anymore. Can we just take moment to address what I consider the obvious? Historically, caring for the home has fallen on the woman's shoulders, but this is an outdated notion that causes more fights and more sore feelings among couples than I can tell you. Listen, everyone, if both members of a household work, or even if one works and one stays home and raises children - because that raising-children business still counts as a job - then it's time to divide the housework equitably, regardless of your sex. End of story."

The last chapter of the book talks all about schedules and routines, and how to ask your partner to chip into the cleaning and tidying processes. My husband’s MIA is the garage, so I don’t touch it. Great! As well as his desk, that mess is all his to deal with. Even if more ends up on your plate, at least you know that there are areas that are your partner’s responsibilty. Maybe it’s taking out the trash, maybe it’s cleaning the chandeliers you have hanging around. Who knows, just get them involved!

And in the end, if you still are not convinced that cleaning is for you, there is an entire section devoted to finding the right help, from the interview process to giving them your list of MIAs, so you get the most bang for your buck.

Maker writes that she hopes this book will get passed from generation to generation, and I do really think so. Keeping a house clean and tidy is such an important part of a healthy, happy life, so give this a book a go.

For more information:

Clean My Space:

on Instagram: cleanmyspace

on Facebook: CleanMySpace

and most importantly the amazing YouTube channel with tips for everything you want to know about cleaning: Clean My Space

Buy your copy of "Clean My Space: the secret to cleaning better, faster - and loving your home every day" on Amazon