Are you spending your life in a living disaster called your home? Are you demoralized because of the state of your surroundings? Is your house and the stuff in it your biggest enemy?
Mindy Starns Clark’s compassion is heart warming. You will be so encouraged as you listen to our interview. Then grab her book, The House That Cleans Itself, which my client shared with me saying it was the BEST organizing book she’s ever read.
With closets ready to explode and her home out of control Mindy decided to do something about it. She is open and vulnerable with her own challenges and shares just how she went about changing her home into a house that cleans itself.
Her change came as she wrote her Smart Chick Mystery series (she is an author of several fiction books – check the list here). After reading tons of books on cleaning and organizing for her research Mindy had all the head knowledge but it wasn’t helping her situation. It’s like the authors of these books were not talking to people like her and the systems they taught were made for organized people…not someone like her.
She needed a new way…
The first thing she realized during this process was housekeeping is a talent and she didn’t have any. She compares it to one who can’t sing. That person isn’t scorned for not being able to sing. Realizing she did not have housekeeping talent was freeing. She didn’t have to beat herself up over her messy house anymore. But, she still had to figure out what to do about it!
She took her own mystery writing experience and became a detective of her own mess.
STUDY YOUR MESS
She realized she often had the same messes. Clothes laying in the bedroom floor. Backpacks on the entry floor. Diet Coke cans needing to be recycled in her office. Trash being left around the house. She started by going into each room like a detective.
What are the consistent messes in your home?
- Why did she have clothes on her bedroom floor? She didn’t have enough hangers. Purchase more hangers.
- Why was her kid’s backpacks on the entry floor? There wasn’t an easy way or place to put them away. Find an old trunk and lift the lid. Kid’s can drop the backpacks in.
- Why did she have Diet Coke cans all around her office. Because she didn’t have a recycle bin in the office. She thought it wasn’t “right.” She created a designated spot in her office to recycle and empties it weekly.
Where in your home will you start being a detective to study your mess and problem solve?
You can go step-by-step and room-by-room using the first edition of her book. But with her second edition she realized that by having a house-that-cleans-itself mindset her readers could implement a little at a time without having to go in any particular order.
In order to develop a house-that-cleans-itself mindset follow Mindy’s 8 steps:
1. Become a detective in your own house.
Like we talked about above, you need to gather evidence and then use it to figure out what your problem areas and recurring messes (we call those clutter zones) are.
2. Change the House to Fit the Behavior
Use creative problem solving to make changes, not to yourself but to your home!
3. Create a First Impression of Clean
Read about tending to your sight zones, Mindy’s ONE thing, here. Corralling your necessary messes, utilizing camouflage, and eliminating inevitable invisibles are some more ways to create a first impression that she talks about in the book.
4. Think Like a Hotel
Because of hotels’ high operating expenses for housekeeping labor there are numerous ways they streamline the cleaning process. Think about what you can mount to keep it from having to be lifted or moved to clean (TV, phone, tissue holder, toothbrush holder, lamps, etc).
We stayed in a hotel this weekend and I particularly like thinking about all the examples Mindy mentions on the show and in the book. By implementing these ideas (things I hadn’t even thought of) little by little we can all create houses that clean themselves.
5. Aim for Simplicity
Keep things simple. It is just the basic truth: With too much stuff there is no way you can keep your home clean or clutter free!
6. Explore the “Why”
Focus on the why behind your messy home. Are you a perfectionist? Are you so busy that you are too exhausted to do the things that must get done in a home? Do you tend to overdo when you organize or clean? Mindy gives solutions for these.
7. Make It a Team Effort
Involve the family. Get their input. Give them responsibilities. Make it fun.
8. Put God at the Center
The most important step, Mindy mentions, is to place this transition in God’s hands and keep Him at the center of the process. In the book she shows how to prayer walk your home and create a devotional area you can use from now on.
Don’t get caught up in house-orexia. Pinterest and magazine pictures put pressure on real-life people, holding them to a standard that is ridiculously too high. Rarely do houses look like that in real life. Mindy discovered this in her census job.
Of the 300 houses she visited
- 3 were spotlessly clean
- 10% were nice and fairly clean
- 40% were really messy
- 50% of homes were so messy they couldn’t sit down for the interview.
Be encouraged. Stop beating yourself up, put on your detective glasses and get started investigating your home now.