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.