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Cleaning hacks for the home

The author of “Unf—k Your Habitat” shows you how to manage the mess in 2017.

Get the best of your mess in 2017 with the help of a new book, "Unf—k your HabitISTOCK

Rachel Hoffman wants to help you get your home in order for the new year.

“One of the problems with housekeeping in general is that people just get so overwhelmed,” she says.

Her new book, “Unf—k your Habitat: You’re better than your mess” offers a manageable system for tidying where you live. And it’s not Marie Kondo 2.0.

“Paring down is great, but if you’re constantly on a quest to get rid of everything, you’re never going to be satisfied with what you have,” says Hoffman. “I like to look at the whole picture of how to live in your home comfortably and happily and maintain that on a regular basis.”

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Five years ago, the Rhode Island resident started the blog Unf—k Your Habitat—also available as an app—to help both herself and her friends get a better handle on their living space.

“Everybody has that moment of, ‘I have to do xyz, but I don’t feel like it,’” says the 38-year-old. “So I started pestering people to do that thing — get off the computer for 10 minutes and throw that load of laundry in the dryer.”

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Here’s to a clean slate — and a cleaner living space — in 2017.

“20/10s”

Set a timer and clean for 20 minutes, followed by a ten minute break. Repeat as needed. “It’s a way to break down any household project into more manageable chunks of time,” explains Hoffman. “Taking that break is really important to keep you from looking at something as a giant, overwhelming task that you have to marathon through.”

Set mini-challenges

For when your house is a total mess and you don’t even know where to start, set a timer for five or ten minutes and hone in on one specific task — clearing off your desk, collecting dirty dishes and putting them in the sink or the dishwasher. “Then you look around and say, ‘Wow, that didn’t take any time at all. Now I can check one thing off the list,'” she says.

Take before and after pics

When you’re in the middle of a home improvement project, you can’t always see the progress you’re making. Comparing before and after pics will prove to you what you've actually accomplished — and serve as a reminder, later: “You did it once, you can certainly do it again," she says.

Make your bed

No one likes being told to make their bed. Yet, the small task, which takes maybe one or two minutes, is an easy first step to a tidier room. Forget hospital corners, says Hoffman; just pull the blankets up, smooth it out, and you’re done. “A made bed can be a big spot of calm in an otherwise disastrous room,” she says. Plus, who doesn’t love the feeling of getting into a made bed at the end of a long day?

 
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