In her book Dancing with Housework, Colleen Ciavola ’08 M.A. writes, “I would like to change your mind about seeing housework as a horror…and make it an instrument of living well and at peace.” She earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Immaculata and combined that knowledge with her sense of humor to offer these motivational and practical housekeeping tips.

  1. Accept your tendencies, whether you prefer a spotless home or are more laid back. Think about how much cleanliness suits you.
  2. Look at the time you want to spend cleaning and the housework you can tolerate doing.
  3. Plan which days you will do specific chores and how often—daily, weekly, biweekly, seasonally or annually. My weekly tasks include:
    1. Examining the refrigerator for ghosts of meals past and giving them a decent burial.
    2. Cleaning the bathroom and lifting out the stopper in the sink’s drain. Under it lives a blackness worthy of a Steven King novel. I scrub it out with bleach.
  4. Spend five minutes on “down and dirty” room cleanings. Do it in small chunks so it does not seem like misery unlimited.
  5. Choose one “room of emphasis” (ROE) to clean well every one or two weeks. Use a tchotchke to remind you which is the ROE and then move it to the next one in the rotation.
  6. Admire the clean area. Appreciate how it contributes to your feeling of well-being.
  7. Evaluate your cleaning plan periodically because there is no Goldilocks cleaning plan.