Some of you may be familiar with the other blog I devote most of my life to. For those of you who aren’t, however, let me introduce you to the joy of unfucking your habitat.
What is Unfuck Your Habitat? And why should you do it?
Well, our tagline is: “Terrifying motivation for lazy people with messy homes.” It’s about motivation, and support, and accountability. There’s a weird sort of void in all of the “taking care of your physical surroundings” stuff, in the archaic “how to keep a home” and “how to be domestic” arenas. It tends to ignore single people, or students, or people without kids, or people with pets, or people with roommates, or people with full-time jobs, or classes, or other shit going on. It assumes everyone is married with kids and one partner is around a lot of the time, and has a lot of time to devote to “housekeeping.”
Well, we don’t all live that life. Very few of us do. Our lives are complicated and sometimes messy, and we’re often distracted and overwhelmed and lazy. Yeah, I said it. We’re lazy. There’s no real shame in that, but it’s something to overcome, at least temporarily. Because no matter what our situations are, we deserve better than to live in filth. We deserve to live somewhere with nice things we love, and to have a clean, calm place to be, when we’re not at work or school or any of the fifty zillion other places we go.
And our homes aren’t the only things that need to be unfucked. Our finances, our jobs, our relationships; there’s no end to the things we can fuck up. The important thing to remember is that there is nothing that can’t be unfucked. You just have to do it. You just have to overcome the compulsion to sit on the couch, on the computer, watching TV, and get up and do SOMETHING. Anything. So, Unfuck Your Habitat is about lighting a fire under all of our asses. Because when we accomplish something, especially something that seemed impossible, it feels awesome.
If you’re not into it, or not ready to do it, that’s cool. We’ve all been there, where inertia has us almost unable to make changes in our lives. But the whole point of this is that it isn’t hard. It’s almost never hard, and it’s almost never as big of a job as it seems. It’s just a matter of getting started.
Don’t worry about catching up. This is about doing what you can, when you can. 5, 10, 20 minutes at a time. And then back to your normal life.
Unfuck Your Habitat Fundamentals
- 20 minutes is not a long time. Marathon cleaning sessions, while satisfying, are exhausting and make you never want to clean ever again. 20 minutes at a time, once or a few times a day, is a sustainable way of keeping your habitat unfucked.
- PUT IT AWAY. Probably 75% of our mess is made up of things we didn’t put away. Whether it belongs in a drawer, in the closet, in the trash, or in the cabinet, make sure it finds its way home. This is critically important in two areas, especially: laundry and the dishes. Doing laundry and doing the dishes are not difficult tasks, but most of us give up before the “putting it away” step. Don’t. As soon as it’s done, everything goes back to its home.
- Most of the rest of our mess is because we have too much stuff and not enough places to put it. There are two solutions: less stuff, or more storage. Less stuff is, in the long run, almost always the better solution.
- GET OFF YOUR ASS. Look, housework is a pain in the ass, and it’s rarely fun. No one is disputing that, but it isn’t hard. What is hard is overcoming your own lack of motivation to just get up and do something. Anything.
- When your flat surfaces are clear, you feel like you’re making serious progress. Counters, tables, dressers, nightstands, etc. Try it.
- YOU DO NOT HAVE TO UNFUCK EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. In fact, you shouldn’t. That’s how burnout happens. One thing at a time.
- TAKE BREAKS. It’s important for your state of mind. You can integrate cleaning into everything else you do. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.
- You can only change your own habits. If you’re dealing with roommates or spouses or kids or parents who aren’t on board, the best you can do is tell them what you’re doing (trying to keep ahead of the mess), and ask them to help to not make it worse. Getting passive-aggressive or resentful because other people aren’t playing along only hurts you, and it’s not good for your brain.
- A little effort now saves you a lot of work in the long run. That’s why I advocate getting your stuff together at night for the next morning. That’s why I like dumping some cleaner in the toilet or tub or sink and letting it start to work while I do something else. That’s why taking the extra five seconds to wash your fork or put it in the dishwasher will always be a good idea, because it’ll stop Dish Mountain before it starts.
- STOP MAKING EXCUSES. Yes, yes, you have a million valid reasons why your mess has taken over. But I refuse to believe that you can’t spare 20 minutes, once a day, toward improving where you live. If you’re still making excuses, you don’t really want to do it. If you realize that 20 minutes is really no big deal, I can pretty much promise that things will get drastically better pretty quickly.
What say you, Persephoneers? Who’s ready to commit to a little tiny bit, every day, in order to restore some order to the chaos of our physical surroundings? Are you already on Team UfYH? What have you accomplished so far?
(This post originally appeared, in bits and pieces, on Unfuck Your Habitat.)