Unfuck Your Habitat: compassionate cleaning advice, even for people terrified by Marie Kondo

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/03/unfuck-your-habitat-compassio.html



Now that’s job security.


Dr. Bronners, peppermint. If Dr. Bronners won’t work on it, it ain’t dirty (but don’t, um, vigorously, wash your privates with it, because peppermint).


I use that every day in the shower. But also - if ever there was a soap to make sure you don’t get in your eyes, this is the one.


I love Dr Bronner soaps and cleaners! Sal Suds is good for floors and household, sometimes I use it in laundry. Tea Tree is terrific too. Eager to try citrus variety this year.


I’m naturally a pretty messy person, keeping things tidy require some level of awareness/attention that is difficult to maintain some days. The last few weeks before i went on holiday i had successfully kept my apartment mostly tidy, but having no change to do my laundry kind of snowballed into the rest of the place getting messy again ]: Really need to do laundry.


This is such great advice. I was raised as an adopted child by a mum who didn’t get to raise her own babies and so of course when I turned up I became her whole fucking world. She wanted to do EVERYTHING for me; not teach me how to do things but to literally do every single thing for me as a display of love and affection. My mum passed away when I was 19 (I’m 42 now) and the bitter aspect of her ultimate gift to me was that I left home completely disabled and stymied by the fact that she didn’t teach me how to do anything for myself. I married a man who, thank fuck, his mother had taught him how to cook and clean because otherwise I would have been utterly clueless. I love my mother fiercely but recognise now that her overpowering love and need to nurture and provide for me actually left me without the ability to take care of myself in the most basic of ways. I didn’t know how to use a washing machine, I couldn’t cook anything useful. I could bake and that was nice but you can’t live on chocolate cake (well so I’ve been told).

It’s taken me nearly 25 years to learn how to even begin to keep a grip on the tidiness of my house and that it does in fact rely on effort on my part. I feel partly like I’ve been done a shitty disservice by my mum but with age I can see that she did what she thought was the most loving thing by doing everything for me and me being a spoiled teenager, I wasn’t exactly rushing to stop her so partly my fault too.

I’m getting slowly better and I guarantee my kids (even the bitchy 12yo) can cook at least one meal and know better than to leave their shit on the floor, expecting the magical cleaning fairies to pick it up.

UFYH has definitely helped me to connect with my inner spoiled bitch and realise that at some point shit needs to get done and I need to be the one to do it. I appreciate it :smile:


Hoffman advises making your bed promptly in the morning, because it makes your bedroom 20% cleaner in five minutes

chgoliz advises using a duvet cover on your duvet/comforter and your bed is made with one flick of the wrists.


Yeah, to a certain extent, the whole topsheet/blanket/bedspread thing I grew up with is for the birds. And since I live in (mostly) warm SoCal, the comforter is kinda all we need above the fitted sheet.


Also a longtime UFYH follower here. In fact, she just reblogged one of my messes this morning so my Tumblr notifications are going nuts. The Tumblr is great because other real people post their before-and-after pictures and you get to see their progress (and their houses, and I get so many bedroom decor ideas).

The 20-minutes thing was a revelation to me. I’d often avoid cleaning something because I thought it’d take fooooorreeeeeveeer. But after a few rounds with my kitchen I discovered that no matter HOW bad it looks, I can basically clean my whole kitchen in 20 minutes. And now that I know that’s all it takes, I actually get up and do it.


I gotta admit - I’m kinda liking the idea of seeing my floor again.


When things are going well for me, I’m clean enough for my needs.

When things are not going well, UFYH has been super helpful to me. In the venn diagram of my mental state, depression and perfectionism overlap in a way that leads me down a very bad road. If I can’t clean whatever-it-is “properly” I shouldn’t even bother.

Her approach is really based in empathy for people, and I love that. I will not ever have a Mari Kondo approved home, but I can put in some time, and I can make my surroundings less fucked. Plus, I can do it without beating myself up about it. And that not-being-mean-to-myself aspect is what makes it work for me. Plus, swearing always fucking helps.


Laundry has FOUR steps: Wash, dry, fold, put away.


wash, dry, wear, repeat…


Just last night I got a modest and lighthearted ration of shit for bothering to fold the kids’ clothes. Old habits die hard, but yeah, a 7-year-old’s jeans & t-shirts don’t really need folding.


The last thing most people need is yet another app, but the UfYH app (called “Unfilth Your Habitat” in the iTunes store because of Apple’s regulations) is tremendous. It provides random motivation (GET OFF YOUR ASS! YOU CAN BE LAZY 20 MINUTES FROM NOW.), a 20-10 timer, a To-Unfuck list, badges, and a whole lot more. Not many apps are worth even a buck but this is one of them.


What do you do after they come out of the dryer, then?
I have to admit, my wife and I don’t always completely put our clothes away immediately, they’ll get folded into a basket, but they get folded till they’re worn next.
Then again, I iron tshirts…

Do they also have a unfilth your habitat tumblr? The WiFi in the hotel I’m at blocks URLs that contain naught words apparently :unamused:


Well, that’s your first mistake. :wink:

We’re bad about folding in general. Laundry will sit in the dryer for days before getting extricated. Sometimes it’ll be extricated straight into a laundry basket unfolded, just to make room for the next load. Sometimes the laundry takes ages to get folded at all. I always fold my stuff (eventually), but since we own relatively few things that require ironing, we usually don’t sweat the folding too much. Especially the kids’ stuff. They care not at all about wrinkles, which anyway tend to disappear within minutes after being put on.

My wife has never in her life ironed anything. When ironing does come up, it’s my job. And the last time I did it was the tablecloth for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, my job doesn’t require me to wear pressed shirts.

I’m a regular Rumpled Stiltskin.

ETA: what kind of San Diegan are you, anyway, Mike? Ironing t-shirts indeed!


Yes they do. Yes, they do.