Book Review: How to Keep House While Drowning

Title: How to Keep House While Drowning
Author: KC Davis
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Pages: 160
Publisher: Simon Element
Date Started: February 18, 2022
Date Finished: February 23, 2022
Format: Digital

*I would like to thank the publisher, author, and NetGalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

As I’m writing this review, the dishes aren’t done, there is laundry piled in every room of my house, and don’t even get me started on the state of the kids’ playroom. But it’s all okay. None of this is a failure on my behalf, and How to Keep House While Drowning helped me immensely in my perception of that.

This is not one of those normal self-help books that gives you ways to organize your stuff into the perfectly functioning, spotless house. Davis is clearly one of us. She is not only a licensed counselor, but struggles with executive functioning. She had a toddler and an infant during the pandemic. How does she do it? Well, this book lays out her “secret.”

Well, what is her secret? Is her house spotless? Is she a cleaning organizing guru? No!! She lets the laundry pile up. She has dirty dishes on the counter. She struggles to brush her teeth. But you know what is different for her? She has rid herself of the guilt associated with not completing these tasks. Her main message through the book, one that I have been repeating over and over since reading it is that care tasks (like cleaning) are morally neutral. You are not a bad person or a failure for not doing them.

Taking this message, that care tasks are morally neutral, Davis expands the thought exercise to all aspects of keeping a house and existing as a person. Realizing that self-worth is not tied to the appearance of your house is a huge step in mental health. And that is what she is advocating, a healthy mind in approaching living.

This book is relatively short and easy to work through in a few sittings, even with a busy schedule. The chapters are bite sized and tackle different elements of the home. (For example, the chapter on cleaning the car is simply: I don’t clean my car.) I have read several self-help books of a similar vein, but nothing has ever stuck before. I’m encouraged by this book and technique, and hope this time something will be different going forward. Part of that is that it entails a frame of mind and a way of thinking instead of actions (though there are some action steps included as well for those that like that), I’m hoping for long term change. Fad cleaning and organizing tend to drop off with energy and motivation level, but this method does not require motivation or energy. I’ll take it.

Overall, 4.5/5 moose

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