FTC Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review, but all opinions and thoughts expressed within this review are my own. I've also provided referral links for you to get a copy of the book for yourself, if you're interested, below.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the state of your home? Does it always seem to be messy, or cluttered, and no matter what you do, and no matter how hard you try, does it seem to stay that way? If so, Dana White's book, "How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind" can be a big help for you.
Let me start out with what will seem like a strange introduction, but I promise I'll come back around to explain why I'm telling you this in just a minute.
I have a confession. This book review has been a long time in the making, and while I read the book immediately when it came out, well . . . I didn't quite get around to writing my review as quickly as I wanted to, and that's through no fault of the book's quality.
You see, I'm actually friends with Dana, who writes at the blog A Slob Comes Clean in real life. In fact, we speak to each other for about an hour almost every single week, and we've done so for so long that I've watched this book develop from an outline all the way through the finished product, so of course I agreed to write a review for it. Duh! Of course!
When I got it in the mail I began reading right away. I sat on my couch reading while my family watched TV and I nodded my head in agreement at many parts, thought, wow, that makes sense, quite a few times, and had my family give me some strange looks when I also laughed out loud several times. Why did I laugh? Because along with being a really practical and down to earth book Dana is funny. On top of getting lots of good and practical ideas and actionable steps, you'll laugh when you read it too.
The point is the book is really good, and I'll tell you more about that in a minute. But here's what happened that resulted in me not writing a timely review. One, life, and two, perfectionism.
We've all been there with the excuse of life, right? It happens, and things get busy and stuff, even stuff we really want to do, like write a book review, or get rid of clutter, or get the house ready so you feel like you can have guests over, or whatever else, it falls through the cracks.
I think many of us have also suffered from perfectionism. The inability to do anything unless you can do it perfectly. Well, at least I know I have.
And since this book is good, and since I really do like it, and because for real, Dana is my friend, I wanted this review to be great. I mean, great great. You know? But what happened was that high expectation for myself ended up actually stopping me from doing anything.
Perhaps you've felt like that too, such as with your home. You've got this plan that one day your house will be neat as a pin, and completely free of clutter, and basically the perfect house. Since that day simply cannot be today, because of life, exhaustion, or there being too much to accomplish all at once, the result is you don't do anything, and it gets worse. I have experienced this with my own home, and so has Dana! This is a common (but fixable) pattern!
So what got me out of my funk, and my perfectionism? Advice from the book itself. As I read it, again, when I thought, gee, I really need to get this review done, it spoke to me in a new way. I realized exactly what I was doing, trying to make it perfect, when I really just needed to get it done. It's exactly like what Dana says about doing your dishes -- (I'm paraphrasing) -- the secret to getting your dishes done is to wash your dishes. So that's what I've done, I just started writing this review. And you know what? That's what we all need to do sometimes in our homes too. We need to let go of the perfectionism that makes us want to find the best way to do it, and just do it. This book will help you with that.
This book is for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed with your home and wondered what was wrong with you for not being able to have a perfectly clean, uncluttered house, like "everyone else."
First, Dana helps you feel right at home with the fact that, nope, not everyone actually does have it together, so it's not just you that struggles sometime. A lot of us find managing our homes hard (here's my story from a while back about my own struggle, to help you understand, yeah, I've been there too). Not feeling alone, or like you're the only person who has trouble, helps a lot.
Second, in this book Dana gives lots of practical steps and explanations for how to actually get your home back under control, including the dishes, the laundry, getting meals on the table, and more. She calls it "reality-based cleaning" and that's exactly what it is.
Remember that thing I mentioned before, called Life? It throws many of us for a loop. Life is busy and messy and instead of waiting for the perfect time to get our house under control Dana provides steps for learning how to get the major stuff done through the chaos of life. That's so important.
She focuses on some of my favorite topics, habits and routines, for a large portion of the book. Once you read her explanation I know you'll better under the magic a few simple habits and daily tasks can have on your home and life. There's also good information about how to create these positive habits and routines since she's right, it's so easy to develop bad habits but so hard to create and then stick with good ones.
Third, I know you're interested in decluttering and organizing, otherwise you wouldn't be here on this site. Dana's book is packed with lots of information and tips about decluttering. In fact, the topic of decluttering is a whole section of the book! I feel like what she's written is such a great companion to the Declutter 365 missions we do here on the site. There's lots of guidance for both the emotions we face to deal with our clutter and the practical tips for getting clutter out of your home.
And finally, and this is a big one, Dana's book has lots of practical information about how to maintain your home once it is functioning well. Because that's an elusive piece of the puzzle for many of us, isn't it? We can clean like crazy before a party or because we got on a cleaning tear, or we declutter like mad when we get fed up with the mess, but then we blink and in just a short amount of time it all seems to have become a mess again. But it doesn't have to be this way. While maintenance does take effort, and doesn't happen magically, there's great tips and advice in the book for understanding the necessary steps to maintain and keep things running smoothly in your home most of the time, and also how to quickly deal with small set backs before they become big ones to gain control again when the dreaded "life" happens.
I definitely recommend How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind to anyone who has tried to "get organized" or "get my house clean" before, but struggled to actually succeed, and you didn't understand why. Dana provides step by step actions to take, slowly, that don't seem like they'd make a huge difference, but you'll be surprised when they really do make a transformative difference in your day to day life over time.
You can find the book in bookstores across the country, as well as online, at places like Amazon. It also comes in several formats, including soft cover, Kindle, and as an audio book (read by Dana herself!). I've provided a link to several of the formats below, and I'd encourage you to get yourself a copy today!
Dana has also written another book, so here's my review of Decluttering At The Speed Of Life.
In addition, here is my round up of my reviews of books about organizing and decluttering in case you're looking for more things to read!
Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission which helps me provide this information to you for free, plus support my family. My integrity and your satisfaction are very important to me so I only recommend products I would purchase myself, and that I believe would benefit you. To learn more please see my disclosure statement.
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!