Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The CHAOS Cure
Clean Your House and Calm Your Soul in 15 Minutes
Marla Cilley

Hachette Audio
December 2018/ ASIN: B07KRJ3GXP
Nonfiction: Miscellaneous/General and How-To / Audiobook (3 hours and 31 minutes) Unabridged

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern


Our quest for perfectionism is what keeps our houses filled with clutter and our daily lives in chaos, according to Marla Cilley, aka the FlyLady (for her fly fishing talents), who has written several books on clutter and runs a website to mentor housewives. This all-or-nothing perfectionist approach (do it right or don’t do it at all) to housekeeping prevents us from ever attempting to tackle massive cleaning, organizing, or decluttering projects. This audiobook explains that what we should do instead is use a timer to coordinate 5, 10, and 15-minute mini-projects that tame the mess and clutter over time, as opposed to one overwhelming marathon cleaning event.

CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) can be cured by timing brief cleaning sessions and forming new daily habits (including swish the toilet and swipe the bathroom mirror) that prevent chaos from being created in the first place. She also warns against letting hotspots (places were clutter tends to accumulate) get out of control. This is accomplished by organizing systems in places where we usually dump our stuff. The book includes tips for cleaning and organizing most rooms of the house (including the garage), plus additional suggestions for maintaining fireplaces, doing the laundry, baking ideas, etc.

Read by the author with her heavy North Carolina accent and homey catchphrases (such as “stick with it” for adding sticky notes all over the house as reminders), the audiobook is warm and friendly, as if she were sharing advice with close friends. The Chaos Cure contains a multitude of ideas, some of which will be new to readers, others serving as reminders of what they’ve heard before.

The book tends to generalize homes, but this is not a one-size-fits-all subject because houses, locations, climate, customs, and families differ greatly. Even so, the ideas in this audiobook are inspiring, and the FlyLady seems to sincerely take pleasure in offering ideas for a clean, well-functioning home that’s good enough – but never perfect.

Reviewed 2019