In a few weeks I will be moving into my first-ever house. I’m dying of excitement, as I have managed to go the majority of my college experience without ever tasting the sweet freedom of a non-school sponsored living arrangement.
I’ve got a great thing going. I’m living with my two best friends, two girls that I have lived with previously, and with that comes the knowledge of everyone’s living style and habits. But unfortunately, living with your two closest friends means that you are all acutely aware of how disgusting everyone can actually be.
None of us are dirty. I’d just like to say that now. But with three busy, active girls, things can get… forgotten. Which sometimes leads to fruit flies. Or the moldy bathmat. Or the used macaroni bowl hidden under the bathroom sink for three months.
Which is why we have decided to implement the strictest of cleaning regimens.
I LOVE to clean. I know that makes me sound crazy, but it’s how I unwind. I clean when I’m agitated. Despite being a kind of messy person, cleaning is a therapeutic activity. So when I stumbled on “Unfuck Your Habitat”, I was enthralled.
This person, this beautiful foul-mouthed creature, has created an entire site dedicated to tips and tricks and motivations for cleaning, or “unfucking.” She (or he) recognizes the inherent laziness of mankind, and gives advice on cleaning in stages, daily/ weekly/ monthly chores and offers up challenges to keep you motivated.
Unfuck Your Habitat advocates working in shifts, instead of nonstop marathon cleaning. She introduces the concept of 20/10 or 45/15 cycles of cleaning, which is 20 minutes working, 10 minutes on a break. So why does marathon cleaning suck? The mastermind behind UfYH says:
It’s all or nothing. So, “all” is great, but the vast majority of the time, it’s “nothing.”
It’s not sustainable. The good thing about cleaning in short, manageable chunks of time is that you can do it every day without it cutting into your life. You can’t do that with marathons.
The point behind the site isn’t necessarily to inspire you to be super clean and rigid and totally on top of your shit. The idea is just to do something. Something is better than nothing, and even if you only manage to pick up a few things during the day, that’s still an accomplishment! And accomplishments turn into more accomplishments.
UfYH advocates small, manageable cleaning at a time—starting with your bed.
- It’s a habit that’s relatively easy to form, and helps to make way to form other habits that are beneficial. If you spend 30 seconds making your bed every morning, 20 minutes doing housework in the evening isn’t such a difficult thing to conquer.
- A messy bed tends to give a room an overall sense of chaos, whereas a made bed can make even a messy room seem more put together.
- Why wash your dishes? You’re just going to use them again, right? Why throw your trash away? Aren’t you just going to make more trash later? Well, by resetting one thing to a point of being clean or even just slightly neater-looking, you’re that much further ahead in the unfucking game.
- It’s a small but tangible form of control over one’s environment. So many people let their homes get and stay in states of disarray, messiness, and chaos because it seems like the mess has more power than we do. If you can’t do everything, you can’t do anything, right? Wrong. You can make your bed.
As I read further, it was just one gold mine after another. Advice to help me with my dishes! A schedule to help me get prepared for tomorrow! The most comprehensive and wonderful guide you will ever find for emergency cleaning!
But then I found something even greater. Not only was the creator of Unfuck Your Habitat helping people get control over their houses, she (he) was inadvertently helping people get control over their lives and mental health as well. Somewhere along the line, people began reaching out and saying that these tips were helping them with their depression or other mental illnesses. The author, someone experienced with depression, is acutely aware of the “depression/messy house cycle of doom.”
When you’re in the midst of a depressive episode, cleaning your house comes in on the List of Things You Want to Do somewhere after taunting a hive of bees and tap dancing on live television. Things are awful. It’s a struggle to walk to the bathroom. Making dinner seems more impossible than advanced calculus. Anything that’s not your couch or your bed might as well be hot lava. And so the mess builds around you. I purposely use the passive voice there because when you’re depressed, it seems nearly impossible that you’re contributing to the chaos of your house, because that would require energy, and you sure as hell don’t have any of that to spare.
So she (he) advocates small, five minute tasks that, while on the larger scale won’t make a huge difference, will be enough to make you feel like you have at least accomplished something. That feeling of accomplishment will make the next task seem maybe a little less daunting.
Unfuck Your Habitat doesn’t just cover cleaning tips and challenges for the lazy and depressed alike. It reaches out to all kinds of people who have a block against cleaning.
To my great joy, Unfuck Your Habitat has an app. Regretably, it’s titled “Unfilth Your Habitat” which is just not as satisfying, but there’s still copious cursing within the app itself, so I suppose it all works out in the end. I highly recommend this app. I think it’s everything I’ve ever waited for in life. Cleaning and cursing. What a beautiful, natural combination.
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