I know, I know that I’ve yet to do a graphic novel this year. I think that must be some kind of record, and the sad thing is that I have two really cool ones waiting in the TBR wings: BAYOU Vol. 2 by Jeremy Love and GOOD EGGS by (fellow Smithie) Phoebe Potts. I’m going to get to those sooner than later, I promise. But this week, I’m going to review a book that’s like the total opposite of cool: SINK REFLECTIONS by Marla Cilley

Why I Decided to Read It: This post about my newfound obsession with cleaning should just about explain it. Basically Friend of FaN, Janice from Sew Girly mentioned that she had just started this system.

What’s It About: It’s a self-help book meant to make cleaning a quick and everyday part of your life, but it’s also a compendium of the information provided on the Fly Lady website. So if you don’t feel like spending the money or checking the book out from the library, you can get all this information for free HERE. But warning, the site is like 90s-level clogged and disorganized. I thought it was well worth the $10.20 the book cost just to have the information presented in an orderly fashion.

What Makes It Different: You know that saying, “Cleaning is next to godliness” — well, this woman really, really believes that. Also, it’s based on the theory that a clean house begins with a “shiny sink.”

What I Loved: I’m only six days into about 31 days of the getting-started “Baby Steps,” but it seems to be working. Not only is my house slowly but surely getting generally cleaner, but it doesn’t feel like I’m killing myself to get it that way. Unlike a lot of other books that I ordered from the library, this one was written by one woman, who has a family and husband. Therefore, unlike say, Real Simple’s CLEANING tome (which felt like it was written by a crew of people who think women have hours and hours to clean), SINK REFLECTIONS makes practical sense. And it feels like my house will indeed be unexpected-visitor ready in no time.

What I Didn’t Like: If you’re not religious, you might find the deeply spiritual language that Cilley uses throughout the book a little much. Actually even if you are religious, you might still find it a bit heavy-handed. Also, it skates the line of being anti-feminist. But even so, I found that like her tips, her instructions made a kind of practical sense. She advises against “whining” that your husband and your kids don’t help out with the housework and just doing it yourself. But then she goes on to point out that leading by example is the best method and that your loved ones will probably fall in line if you just work the system. Being a feminist, I married a fellow feminist, so CH and I don’t have housework-split issues. But even I was surprised by how quickly both he and my 20-month-daughter started pitching in within 24 hours of me quietly switching to the Fly Lady system. Wow.

Cleaning Lessons Learned:

Rinse off dirty dishes and put them directly into the dishwasher. This is so obvious, that I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it myself. But with everyone simply rinsing off their dishes and putting them directly into the dishwasher all day, we pretty much have no dishes at the end of the night. We just rinse off our dinner dishes after we eat and run the washer.

Set out your clothes the night before and shower first thing in the morning, put on non house-slipper shoes, and keep them on throughout the day. Now this is the piece of advice that has yielded the most surprising results so far. I usually squeeze in a shower somewhere between PRICE IS RIGHT, which goes off at 11am and DAYS  OF OUR LIVES, which comes on at 1pm. But this week, I’ve been setting out the clothes that I plan to wear the next morning down to my shoes. And to my surprise, that’s made me way more productive. It doesn’t take as much time or energy to get ready and I find myself starting my day earlier. I’ve also been following through with my gym plans a lot more, because if I get up and my gym clothes are waiting for me outside the bathroom door, then that’s what I’m going to wear, and I guess I don’t really have any excuse not to go to the gym. Nice!

15-Minute Cleaning Projects: Everyday I get an email with a new fifteen-minute cleaning project for the next day. This means you set your timer for 15 minutes, and then go at the day’s project for fifteen minutes and fifteen minutes only. This is really freaking awesome. On Monday, I washed my counters. On Tuesday, I decluttered the kitchen. On Wednesday, I wiped down all of the kitchen appliances. Today I’m going to clean the kitchen faucet with a tooth brush. With only fifteen minutes at stake, it feels more like a game than cleaning really. But the kitchen looks great!

To Whom Would I Recommend This Book: Surprisingly enough — Men. It’s really easy, and I actually think that they could use this information more than women. But other than that Stay-At-Home-Moms, Single Moms and Working Moms — okay, really just moms in general.

Click on the cover to buy the book at Amazon!