The first thing that you need to know about this book is that if you do what the author of this book says, your house will be clean. She very thoroughly outlines some of the reasons why "messies" (or people who aren't natually clean, neat and organized) are the way they are. I won't go into it here, but there are brief moments of genius, as well as brutal accounts of people who are probably just like you (if you're a messie). You might be slightly embarrassed and/or shocked as she accurately describes the odd reasons you do what you do. She then takes you through several steps and presents very well thought-out ideas for organizing and cleaning your home. Honestly, I'm ready to try it out when I get to Portland.
The second thing you need to know is that the woman who wrote this book, published it for the first time in 1975. After Twenty-three years of bad housekeeping AND reforming herself well enough to warrant writing a book. That being said, some of her views struck me as a little archaic and pre-feminist. The book is aimed at women, and even though she does state numerous times that husbands and children should put in their efforts to keep a house clean, clearly in her mind the woman is the default housekeeper. Which is fine, it's a little like taking advice from your grandmother. Great advice for cleaning but not really accurate at describing a modern lifestyle. For example, she talks at one point about cutting daytime tv out of your life, describing the people on judge shows and soap operas as "immoral losers." I wonder how she'd feel about people today with an internet porn addiction. Or wasting time on Facebook. Or Blogger. HAH!
The third thing you need to possibly consider is that this is technically a "Christian" book, and it is found at Christian bookstores. While she doesn't talk overwhelmingly about religion, you are going to have to mentally snip out the parts where she talks about "the Lord" if you're the kind of person this is bothersome to. Eh, just keep reading, its worth it.
A few things I kind of disagreed with, but they are probably moot points. In order to keep a clean house she sort of expects that people will make sacrifices such as not owning pets with long hair (fat chance) or even not baking a cake from scratch, which she describes as "old-fashioned" (side note: I baked 2 cakes from scratch this week, it wasn't a problem). I'm sorry, I'd rather be caught dead with a messy kitchen than with a BOX cake. Yuck. She also describes mixing your own cleaners as being too time consuming. Excuse me? How can pouring bleach or vinegar and water into a bottle together be time consuming? In addition, making your own household cleaners is safer for the environment and pets and about 400 times cheaper. I'd clean MORE if i had these quick and cheap cleaners on hand all the time.
All in all, its a recommended read for anyone who wants to change their habits of being messy or a packrat or both. The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton, Revell Books, 2005. ISBN 0800759796