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Unf**k Your Habitat
February 29, 2012 5:12 AM   Subscribe

Unf**k Your Habitat. Billed as "Terrifying motivation for lazy people with messy homes", it's more a place to go if you're desperately untidy, you like GIFs, and you want to hang out with people who are averse to tidying. There are challenges and tips. If, like me, the confusion of being a Tumblr and a community is too much, then the about page may be a good place to start.
posted by zoo (59 comments total) 91 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just in time! My habitat could really fucking use some unf**king right now, because I haven't been following my do something every time you stand up technique lately. okay, then. I just put away the clean dishes, washed the big pot that was in the sink, and put the dirty dishes in hot water in the sink.

UNF**KING INITIATED.

posted by taz at 5:32 AM on February 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just the motivation I needed to bag up all of the socks and take them to the laundry. Poor laundry lady said, "You don't want these matched up, do you?" and I let her off the hook. There's probably 200 pairs in there...you know, those little sport socks that don't show...

UNF**KING INITIATED.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:56 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Looking at some of the before pictures makes me shiver. I must be way over on the opposite end of the spectrum, as the idea of of walking into a house, throwing one's stuff on the floor, and spending time in rooms where it is impossible to walk about without stepping on (actual, smelly, needs-to-be-disposed-of) trash is just incomprehensible.

I have a friend who seems to not notice mess. Live and let live, I suppose, but every time I see his living space I want to clean.
posted by ellF at 6:00 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think of myself as particularly clean-centric, but looking at some of those "before" pictures (and even some of the "after" ones) is eye opening. Lest I sound like I spend all my time cleaning, mostly I do ok simply because I don't own enough stuff to make a fantastic mess like in those photos, or as mentioned here: "There's probably 200 pairs in there...you know, those little sport socks that don't show..."

There's no way I'm going to go and count, but I'd be shocked if I had more than ten pairs of socks. I'm either doing laundry frequently, or I'll be wearing dirty clothes; either way, it isn't physically possible to cover the bedroom floor with them.

But yes, the strategies that the tumblr seems to be advocating -- doing small things every single day, like making your bed -- are exactly what work for both getting a place clean and keeping it clean. All I have to do is miss one or two small tasks for a short time and I can feel the entropy begin to take over.
posted by Forktine at 6:11 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do these people care?
posted by fightoplankton at 6:15 AM on February 29, 2012


Even though After pictures are so much more organized, there's just SO MUCH STUFF. It's awesome that people are motivated, but the only way to stay ahead of clutter is to get rid of STUFF altogether.
posted by mochapickle at 6:24 AM on February 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


But yes, the strategies that the tumblr seems to be advocating -- doing small things every single day, like making your bed -- are exactly what work for both getting a place clean and keeping it clean.

This 100% doesn't work for people who are actually messy. I could do small things every day and it would take weeks to get my place clean.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:28 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


halfbuckaroo: you should consider declaring sock bankruptcy. It's liberating. Just throw them all out, and buy a dozen or so pairs that are exactly the same.
posted by thelonius at 6:30 AM on February 29, 2012 [21 favorites]


Really? People think this is bad? Y'all have not watched "Horders" ... you want shivers, THAT will give you shivers.
posted by HuronBob at 6:36 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


23skidoo This 100% doesn't work for people who are actually messy. I could do small things every day and it would take weeks to get my place clean.

I would count a clean place in weeks as '100% worked'.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:38 AM on February 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Really? People think this is bad? Y'all have not watched "Horders" ... you want shivers, THAT will give you shivers.

When I need to spend some quality time cleaning, I put Hoarders on in the background and get to work. Motivation by fear.

Love that 'do something every time you stand up comment' I work from home, so this also helps to cure any thoughts of doing housework during the day (or working all day in full view of dirty dishes)
posted by wingless_angel at 6:40 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would count a clean place in weeks as '100% worked'.

Months, then.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:47 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spent the past two days clearing out my husband's storage space, so the apartment now has 4 more bookshelves, 30 boxes of either "books" or "software", 3 computer monitors, and 13 rubbermaid totes of various sizes. He spent some time unpacking the books and it looks way better but we both acknowledge that sorting and organizing the computer stuff is going to be the challenge due to nostalgia/it's still useful! reasons.

While I logically know that any mess can be tackled systematically, I get easily discouraged halfway through because the mess somehow has gotten worse. It's like it's mocking me. I'll go empty the dish rack now.
posted by zix at 6:50 AM on February 29, 2012


Months, then.

That's still a success, because eventually you have a place that's liveable. I mean, let's say it would take six months of doing five little things every day before your place looked like an operating room, all sparkly and clean. That means that after, let's say, three months, you'd hit a nice liveable zone, and from then on is gravy, right up to the point where you say "this is clean enough for me."

Because that's real life -- most people, myself included, aren't making their places look like a photoset for a minimalist interior. You just want to hit a nice balance point where you are keeping things nice and comfortable. That's the advantage of the "do little things every day or week" approach in the tumblr, because it lets you calibrate your effort to the result you want.
posted by Forktine at 6:52 AM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Years ago, when I lived with roommates, I never understood allowing the mess to build. Leaving it for more than a few hours -- for anything that constitutes an it -- doesn't accomplish anything. Compounding that just makes the problem worse, and then nobody wants to deal with it.

What I've found works (for me) is to spend a few hours every month or two to tidy and dispose of junk I don't want or need. Then, on a daily basis, cleaning is a 15 minute affair of wiping down all of the surfaces in the kitchen (easy, because they're clear) running or putting away dishes from the dishwasher, and taking a quick pass with the vacuum. My place is pretty clean and tidy, and it never takes more than a few minutes to maintain.

So, echoing Forktine, once a place is in good shape, it's simple (relatively speaking) to keep it that way. There's significantly less inertia to the task, as you're starting from a good place.
posted by ellF at 7:02 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


We need someone to go back and photograph these same unfucked places 3 months later.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:12 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's the advantage of the "do little things every day or week" approach in the tumblr, because it lets you calibrate your effort to the result you want.

And the disadvantage is that the person gives up because results are taking too long. Just because "do little things every day" works for clean and tidy people doesn't mean it's the best advice for messy slobs. I wouldn't give a career alcoholic the same advice I'd give a friend who had too much to drink once at the office Christmas party. I wouldn't give a person who was looking to lose 500 pounds the same advice I'd give someone who was looking to lose 30 pounds. There's no reason to think that advice that works for clean people is going to be the same advice that works for messy ones.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:14 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


once a place is in good shape, it's simple (relatively speaking) to keep it that way

For some people, yes. But even when I do the 15 minutes a day (most weekdays) and some kind of 20/10 on weekends (usually more like 10/20 for a few hours), it's hard. I'm not efficient, and I don't find the pleasure in a nicer area anywhere near a payoff for the pain of cleaning up. Once a month or two someone comes in and cleans it all up and it looks great, but within a week I am struggling to keep it mostly tidy.
posted by jeather at 7:18 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm halfway through the tax receipts, phone numbers, event flyers, bank statements, passport applications, buttons, gadget manuals, calendars, aspirational/motivational lists, etc...stashed away in shopping bags during my previous "unfuckings".

Sorting is a miserable, triggering chore.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:23 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


halfbuckaroo: you should consider declaring sock bankruptcy. It's liberating. Just throw them all out, and buy a dozen or so pairs that are exactly the same.

Uh, they are all the same. I bought one of those bulk packages off ebay for $40, not knowing it was two gross (288) pairs of socks. They've all been worn once, and thrown in a hamper bag. I just got motivated to physically take them to the laundry. I have not been treading on them on the floor.

I know it's too many socks. I gave at least six dozen pairs away when it arrived...ok, no excuse.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:43 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


The GIFs have made me realize that perhaps I should reward myself after unf**king something around the house with a silly dance or a high-five. That's just what I'm going to do today and see how it goes.

Now I have some laundry to sort, and the cat looks worried.


UNF**KING INITIATED.

posted by peagood at 7:51 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's like the Flylady but with swears! Excellent.
posted by mmmbacon at 7:55 AM on February 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


I have a paradoxical reaction to these things " Well, my place isn't tidy but it's not as bad as these, I can afford to slip a little even!" and then I go back to not caring and pushing the piles of paperwork around like so many snowdrifts.
posted by The Whelk at 8:11 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, I'm a fairly tidy person most of the time-- more so, oddly, since I got my own place. Perhaps a sense of ownership? But I do not understand this weird compulsion to make your bed look pretty. It's your bed! It's in your bedroom! No one but you goes in there! Who cares if it's rumpled? Now, I can see doing your dirty dishes every day-- there's compelling arguments to be made for that, since it might be shared space, get smelly, whatever. But making a bed seems like the most ridiculous neat-for-neatness' sake activity of all time. That's thirty extra seconds I could be using to clean something important!
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:18 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Making your bed every day reminds me of households where you call your dad " sir" .
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let me tell you a story.

A long while back, when I was still single, I cleaned my kitchen. I got everything organized, shiny, and perfect. But then I had to fix dinner. In doing so, I had a mess again. Smaller, isolated, but a mess. I cleaned that up, too. The satisfaction had substantially lessened. The next morning, I made coffee. Even being super-careful, I ended up with coffee grounds and a few drops of coffee on the counter. I cleaned it up, dutifully, but satisfaction? Miniscule. However, I notice a new feeling developing after cleaning up--resentment.

Lunchtime arrives, I make a sandwich. Just some ham and cheese on bread. There should be no mess at all, right? Wrong. Bread crumbs. Cheese crumbs. Even a little puddle of...oil? grease? slime? off of the ham. I eat the sandwich, staring at the mess on the counter I'm going to have to clean up yet again. No satisfaction. Resentment blossomed, like a time-lapse video of ivy roses climbing a wall.

I begin making meal decisions based on how much mess I'll have clean up afterwards. Do I make lasagna? Oh Jesus God no! Just order chinese and eat it over the garbage can!

I stop making meals at home altogether. (Fun fact: this a great way to go broke as quickly as possible!)

After a while, I realized that unless I just pop vitamin pills and drink water straight from the tap (literally, sucking on the faucet head), there's going to be a mess, EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY GODDAMN TIME I eat or drink something. And at this point, the idea of cleaning up YET ANOTHER GODDAMN MESS is enough to reduce me to a fetal position on the swept-and-mopped-for-the-Nth-fucking-time linoleum on my kitchen floor. So. I stopped cleaning up.

I made my meals at home again. I cooked and baked. I made potato chips, frying them up in a skillet. I enjoyed eating and drinking again! When the messes piled up, I let them pile up. No more did a stray bit of elbow macaroni hold power over me. I WAS FREE!

After a couple of weeks, the piles of dirty dishes and coffee stains and orange peels and ice cream sandwich wrappers were unavoidable. So, I cleaned up, sighing a deep and heavy sigh. But when I was done, I FELT SATISFACTION AGAIN!

There. That's my story.
posted by KHAAAN! at 8:32 AM on February 29, 2012 [29 favorites]


Khaan: living is messy. Next time, instead of getting upset about it, just clean it with fire!

And never be angry about it again.
posted by ellF at 8:33 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Still a bit shakey on my pins after a bout with 'flu-induced pneumonia, I started attacking two weeks' worth of mess. I have vacuumed up the equivalency of a cat. Pusslikeso is now frantically attempting to restore the proper amount of fur to the carpet.

UNF**CKING INITIATED.
posted by likeso at 8:51 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do people really "make" the bed?
As in folding, tucking, arranging pillows, bouncing quarters?

Or is it more toss the comforter up to the top of the bed, make sure no sheets are hitting the floor, rearrange the cat, and call it good?
posted by madajb at 9:11 AM on February 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Really? People think this is bad? Y'all have not watched "Horders" ... you want shivers, THAT will give you shivers.

Yes, that's exactly what I use Hoarders for; cleaning incentives. Because that show makes my skin crawl and also makes me want to become an arsonist. After seeing mummified cat corpses and bags of human poo being taken out of those places, just having to vacuum and do laundry seems like nothing.
posted by emjaybee at 9:34 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


A few years ago, I was heading down to Bisbee every weekend to hang out with friends and take riding lessons. I was staying in a guestroom in a friend's basement, which never really saw much use. One week, I left my bed unmade.

The next weekend, I arrived on Friday, had a great time hanging out with friends, and headed down to get some sleep. I crawled under the covers, and felt a sharp pain in my foot. Once, then again.

I flipped back the covers to find a scorpion, in full-on fuck-you-come-and-get-it battle stance. I squealed, smooshed it with a copy of Stephen King's The Stand, and limped upstairs to find out if I was going to die, and to kill the astonishing pain with various libations (and be mocked by Bisbee-dwellers for being such a wuss.)

I still don't make my bed, though. Even given the possibility of bed-dwelling scorpions, it just doesn't seem worth it.
posted by MrVisible at 9:47 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yay! I discovered that blog a few days ago via Girl Unlocked, which is inspired by it. I never knew gifs could be so motivating.
posted by bewilderbeast at 10:02 AM on February 29, 2012


Doing pretty good over here doing a dab at a time... all the dishes washed and put away, counters wiped down (even BEHIND THE THINGS), kitchen table cleared and wiped. The stovetop was fine (since I got new, nice cookware a few months ago, and I can't bear to let the bottoms get blackened, so I'm constantly wiping the stove). If I sweep and mop the floor, I'll be satisfied. I've even lit a tea candle.

Tomorrow, MOAR ROOMS! I deserve a sparkly. Or maybe this glass of wine I'm drinking.
posted by taz at 10:07 AM on February 29, 2012


Do people really "make" the bed?
As in folding, tucking, arranging pillows, bouncing quarters?


My parents do this. Complete with comforter and throw pillows that are just for looks, not for sleeping. They get up, arrange the bed so it looks like something out of Martha Stewart Magazine, then close the bedroom door and don't return until it's time to go to bed, at which point they have to disassemble all the attractive non-functional bedding so that they can go to sleep. I think they are insane.
posted by Daily Alice at 10:20 AM on February 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


*solemnly pastes sparkly gold star to taz' forehead*

And pour yourself a second glass! Me, Imma gonna go for a hot toddy here shortly.
posted by likeso at 10:42 AM on February 29, 2012


There's no reason to think that advice that works for clean people is going to be the same advice that works for messy ones.

As anecdata, it worked for this messy person, me. In fact, it worked so much that I might not even be a "messy person" anymore. (Easily disproved, however, by opening the "junk drawer" in my bedside table, or looking deeper into my closet.)

You're taking a self-defeatist approach here. The first step to unfucking something is believing that you can do it.

You're giving up before you even try.

Honestly, I was one of those people with dirty *and* clean (washed, unfolded) clothes strewn about the room, bed unmade, dishes in sink, etc. etc.

I've learned, and while I still have a tendency to throw stuff everywhere and leave empty bottles on shelves, I'm not walking on t-shirts.

Justm2c, and echoing what others above have said: it's a marathon, not a sprint. It's like managing your email. If you don't clear out the spam and forwarded messages from your aunt or whatever, it's gonna be a mess pretty soon.

Work your ass off to get it to a point that's good for you, then figure out sustainable strategies for maintaining it. I clean my house myself, but I don't see any shame in paying for someone to help if you can afford it and lack the time.

(Protip: for a crash course in learning how to keep a clean house without any "hacks," get yourself some little kids to parent; it works wonders for self-discipline and productivity.)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:43 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]



Do people really "make" the bed?
As in folding, tucking, arranging pillows, bouncing quarters?


I make the bed every day, properly, as part of "Operation Awesome Bed" and I feel like it starts me off on the right foot.

That way, no matter what happens the rest of the day, I've done at least one thing right. It's also something to look forward to. And, it keeps me from crawling right back into it.
posted by peagood at 11:30 AM on February 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


For an extended course in being super fantastically okay with doing laundry, live for 15 years without your own washing machine so you have to bag up your laundry in huge black plastic bags and schlep it to the laundromat, jockey for machines, sit there while it washes, jockey for dryers, sit there while it dries, then speed-fold while trying to make sure no one walks off with any of your stuff, and finally schlep it all back. Leave it all sitting in the black plastic bags that you just dig into and pull things out of as needed, because the trauma has been too much and there's no way you can now summon the fortitude to actually move the items to appropriate closets, cabinets and dressers.

After years of laundrobotomy therapy, having my own washing machine is boop boop boop!

Oooh, did you spill a teensy bit of something on your shirt there? tch! Let me just toss that right into MY OWN MOTHERFUCKING WASHING MACHINE THAT IS MINE!!!
posted by taz at 11:39 AM on February 29, 2012 [17 favorites]


I know that we should strive for more than having material things, but the day I bought a washer and dryer may have been the single greatest day of my life.
posted by thelonius at 11:46 AM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


For an extended course in being super fantastically okay with doing laundry, live for 15 years without your own washing machine

To be honest, I lived for ~20 years without washing machine or dishwasher and always thought I would love a washing machine and not need a dishwasher, but in actuality for me it''s totally the other way around.

I sorta miss schlepping 4 loads of laundry to the mat and getting it all done in an hour and a half. Plus blankets and comforters (and tents and sleeping bags)!

I've found a dishwasher to be a remarkably wonderful (and water-saving) appliance. And I've (warily) committed to ditching the dryer.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:55 AM on February 29, 2012


My parents do this. Complete with comforter and throw pillows that are just for looks, not for sleeping.

I do this as well. Surprisingly (or not) enough, although the (3 extra) throw pillows and (2) shams are my wife's idea, I'm always the one who has to make it.

In all honesty, it takes about 30 seconds. ~10 seconds to pull up/arrange the sheets; ~20 to pick up/arrange the pillows (which I also keep on my side of the bed when we are sleeping for some reason ....)

Do people really "make" the bed?
As in folding, tucking, arranging pillows, bouncing quarters?


Not a whole lot of tucking and folding and no quarters, but a few seconds arranging pillows.

I *never* used to make my bed, and a lot of stuff would end up on the floor. I find that if I make my bed, I end up putting that stuff on my bed instead, and then it is closer to eye level for properly it putting it away (in fact you sorta have to put it somewhere else if you want to sleep (or fuck) in bed) instead of kicking it under the bed or in the corner. YMMV, of course.

Unfortunately, I still have a bunch of shit that's just been kicked under the bed. It's a marathon ...
posted by mrgrimm at 11:56 AM on February 29, 2012


I agree that a few episodes of "Hoarders" (aptly dubbed "Oops, We Found Another Cat Skeleton" on SNL) is all the motivation anyone ever needs to start tidying up.

But also, having experimented with both sides of the bell curve (super messy and super clean) let me tell you the real secret to tidying up: GET RID OF THINGS. Any given household can easily get rid of 50% of its contents without making a single bit of difference in your day-to-day life.

Look around your house, a Hoarders house, or one of the "before" pictures on this Tumblr, then mentally delete half of the things in that picture. Presto!

Most people don't need to buy a new shelving unit, or tidy things up, or create an organizational system. They need to just get rid of stuff.

It's hard to get rid of stuff, but it's the best thing you can do for yourself and your sanity. Clean them up and send them off to the thrift store, where they can find new lives with low-income families who need them.
posted by ErikaB at 12:13 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've (warily) committed to ditching the dryer.

Yeah, we don't have a dryer, mrgrimm... most people here don't. It doesn't bother me at all except on those few occasions I'd like to wash and dry something to wear immediately – but when it's summer in Greece, hanging something outside dries it nearly as fast. In the winter I use a clothes rack, which is fine for us, though it would be more of a pain if we had kids/larger family.

I would kind of like a dishwasher (but have no space for it), but for me the washing machine is seriously the next best thing to piped water.
posted by taz at 12:20 PM on February 29, 2012


Clean them up and send them off to the thrift store, where they can find new lives with low-income families who need them.

Or (in a shameless plug for an activity with which I have no affiliation) take them to one of the Really Really Free Markets on International Women's Day, March 8.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:30 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I make the bed every day, properly, as part of "Operation Awesome Bed" and I feel like it starts me off on the right foot.

You would get along really well with Daily Alice's parents!
posted by madajb at 12:55 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're taking a self-defeatist approach here. The first step to unfucking something is believing that you can do it.

Just because I think "clean a little every day!" isn't great universal advice doesn't mean I think I can't clean my place. The first step to unfucking something is believing you can do it, and the second (and much more important) step is figuring out a useful strategy. If CaLED works for you, hooray! Just don't act like it's the only or the best way for people who are currently seriously messy to change their situation.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:10 PM on February 29, 2012


Dude, you miss the point: the strategy has been used successfully by people just as messy as you. That's simply a fact.
posted by Goofyy at 1:35 PM on February 29, 2012


Do people really "make" the bed?
As in folding, tucking, arranging pillows, bouncing quarters?


I do. I find it incredibly comforting to have completed something tangible before I head out the door in the morning, and I find it incredibly restful to slump upstairs at night 17 hours later and see a pristine bed (with pajamas folded under the pillow) waiting for me and my husband when it's time to sleep.

But I admit that a significant percentage of "this fills me with well-being" comes from clean and tidy spaces -- I'm also the person who does all the dishes, cleans the sink and wipes down the counters before bed, so when I stumble into the kitchen in the morning, I have a fresh and orderly space in which to prepare my toddler's breakfast/start the coffee/feed the cat. I wipe down the bathroom surfaces once a day. I don't leave the house until all the toys/books are picked up. We live by the "a place for everything, and everything in its place" adage. And so on.

I'm lucky that my partner understands my love of order, honors it, and doesn't undermine it. If I had married someone who was substantially temperamentally different -- someone who viewed all horizontal surfaces as interchangeable storage spots or who had a love of STUFF -- that would be a whole other thing.
posted by sobell at 1:41 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]



(Protip: for a crash course in learning how to keep a clean house without any "hacks," get yourself some little kids to parent; it works wonders for self-discipline and productivity.)


Or, borrow some. There's nothing like the particular shame of sending someone's kid home with "angora" socks or furry pants and explaining weakly "She sat on the dog's chair"; or hearing a tiny little voice saying "Your kitchen smells funny." That'll remind you to keep the floor clear enough to Swiffer on short notice, and to empty the compost bin more frequently. And to sprinkle a little baking soda around. Always remember - there is nothing more interesting to a toddler than whatever wet or sticky thing they just dropped and want to put back in their mouths, especially if it has rolled out of their reach, straight to the dusty land of dirty socks, old remotes and popcorn kernels that lies underneath the sofa.

Thanks, zoo! I'm glad you posted this. I like Unf**k Your Habitat for the same reason I like the bookcase and desk peepshows threads. I'm nosy as heck. I also realize that taking a picture of your own room and looking at it from that perspective helps you to see things differently and even want to act on it, though when you're sitting around in it, the botheration just disappears. If that's ever a Meta-specific thread, I'd be on it like stink on a monkey.
posted by peagood at 1:47 PM on February 29, 2012


I also realize that taking a picture of your own room and looking at it from that perspective helps you to see things differently and even want to act on it, though when you're sitting around in it, the botheration just disappears.

Quoted for truth. When we were listing our house for sale, watching how the realtor staged the photos and looking at the finished snaps were both super-helpful in identifying things we could still improve around the house.

While we're on the subject, The Hairpin's "Ask A Clean Person" is a great feature for folks who want to unf**k their habitat with slightly fewer gifs. Jolie's also started some pinboards on Pinterest for encouragement.
posted by sobell at 1:52 PM on February 29, 2012


Dude, you miss the point: the strategy has been used successfully by people just as messy as you. That's simply a fact.

Dude, YOU miss the point: just because the strategy has some success doesn't mean it's the best strategy.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:54 PM on February 29, 2012


Dude, YOU miss the point: just because the strategy has some success doesn't mean it's the best strategy.

The tumblr/blog/whatever it is seems pretty clear that it is presenting one approach, but is not saying that it is the most perfect approach for every situation.

I know I'd be interested to hear what other approaches you find work better in other situations. For me, if things are dirtier than some cut-off line, I will switch to a marathon cleaning session rather than dealing with it a little at a time. I'm not saying that this is a better approach, just that I guess I tend to go into crisis mode instead of working away at it slowly.
posted by Forktine at 3:22 PM on February 29, 2012


While we're on the subject, The Hairpin's "Ask A Clean Person" is a great feature for folks who want to unf**k their habitat with slightly fewer gifs.

But the gifs are the best part! I want to turn a messy part of my house into something clean JUST TO SEE WHAT GIF I WOULD GET
posted by Lucinda at 3:39 PM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


It is entirely possible that I never would have finished graduate school if I hadn't started making my bed every morning. (Yes, I owe my PhD to Flylady.)

Every morning when I made the bed, I created this queen-sized oasis of calm and order. It made me feel like I was taking back control of things that had gotten out of my grasp. I started with the bed and the kitchen sink. Slowly I got the apartment into shape, and somehow, the rest of my life followed.

Now that I have the rest of my life on track (inasmuch as anybody really does), I don't make the bed anymore.
posted by BrashTech at 6:11 PM on February 29, 2012


I really like this site. I especially like the name. It really hammers home the problem with keeping a messy, unlivable space. I cleaned up my room right after seeing it.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:43 PM on February 29, 2012


Day Two: RESUME UNF**CKING?

Habitat unfucking continues apace. Today is the bedroom (and, yes, I made my bed). Not a huge challenge there, really. I just need to remove the random clothes that have accreted to the small couch1 and sweep. Since I removed all the lost socks and other adventurous runaway items from under bed and couch a couple of months ago and have managed to hold that line, it's not too bad. Fairly minimal unfucking required here. But because I'm feeling very much like a boss, I'm washing the flokati that resides on my side of the bed. That would be the one the dog sleeps on, that I don't always cover with a little throw to protect from dogginess. This is a bit of an ordeal because it barely fits in the machine, has to be washed twice (two  l o n g  cycles in this Euro washer), and then requires brushing and untangling, and needs the whole clothes rack to dry.

1 Yes, no, don't have a couch in your bedroom. It's just asking for trouble. However, this is a sort of lovely small, wooden Indonesian couch that doesn't fit anywhere else in the house, and would be ruined outside. So there it sits, begging to be flung upon. Ten or 15 seconds a day of unflinging would keep it neat.
posted by taz at 1:24 AM on March 1, 2012


One thing that really struck me about the blog is the number of people on there writing about how their messy homes making them feel out of control fed into their depression, which then made it harder for them to tackle the mess, etc., etc. The simple techniques she's discussing (the work for 20 minutes, then take a 10-minute break thing in particular) are really helpful in breaking up that horribly destructive feedback loop. They don't seem like much, but they're very powerful.

I have--very unexpectedly, suddenly, and in a very painful way--just become unemployed this week. This is a frankly terrifying situation for somebody like me who's sunk into some very nasty depressive episodes in the past as a result of being out of work. The key for me is to keep moving on the job hunt, not put it off so that it becomes this huge monster that I spend all my time frantically trying not to think about. I'm using the 20/10 technique and it's hugely helpful, I can tell you. Even as anxious as job-hunting makes me, I can do it if I know I only have to do it for 20 minutes at a time.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 8:53 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ugh. Been there too many times, WMWH. Good luck.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:50 PM on March 2, 2012


Maybe a bit past this thread's halflife, but there's a really cool technique called "The Pomodoro Technique" for general work similar to the 20/10 intervals.

It's really effective for chunking out dreaded tasks.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:53 AM on March 6, 2012


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