Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: Cleaning Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin

Publishing Information:
Title – Cleaning Plain & Simple
Author – Donna Smallin
Publisher – Storey Publishing
Date Published - 2005
# of pages - 320

Genres & Themes:
Nonfiction, Ready Reference, Cleaning, Basic Knowledge, DIY, Green solutions

GoodReads – 27 Ratings, 4.15 Average Rating – 6 Reviews, 5.0 Average Rating

My Rating: 5/5


Writing especially for the busy person, Smallin begins by asking “What’s your cleaning style?” Super cleaner? Speed cleaner? Green cleaner? Occasional cleaner? No matter what the style, she has tips for how everyone can be successful at achieving and maintaining a clean, inviting home environment. She covers every imaginable situation, with special advice for dual-career families with busy travel schedules, pet owners, families with small children, allergy sufferers, and homeowners with large outdoor living areas.

Endorsing the motto “clean smarter, not harder,” Smallin makes practical suggestions for cleaning routines for each area or room of the house, and breaks down the big tasks into simple, doable pieces with varying timeframes. She builds on her organizing roots and suggests a combination of plain & simple organizing practices combined with daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning practices to keep the home environment clean and clutter-free—leaving more time to enjoy life.

While keeping things simple, Smallin knows how to get into the nitty-gritty of cleaning. She can talk mops, squeegees, vacuuming, and the most effective products for cleaning, disinfecting, deodorizing, and decluttering with the best of them. She has special tips for cleaning everything from flatware to computers, couch cushions to countertops, shower stalls to stereo speakers, and, of course, the kitchen sink.

Beyond the living areas, Smallin ventures into the basement, attic, and garage to address keeping storage areas orderly; cleaning bikes, skis, and other recreational equipment; and even the best ways to wash and wax the car, clean the battery, tires, engine, and air filter. Out in the yard, she tackles patios, decks, driveways, sidewalks, outdoor furniture, grills, garden tools, pools, gutters, siding, and trash cans.

Never before has cleaning been covered so comprehensively—in such a plain & simple way, designed to appeal to every style of housekeeper.

What I thought:

This is the best cleaning reference book for ordinary people I've ever found. Smallin's advice is simple and looks very easy to follow. She doesn't just tell the reader how to make a cleaning routine (although, yes, she does do that too). She lays out "plain & simple" how to clean various household objects. What I really like is that most of the "recipes" for cleaners only have baking soda or vinegar, and water in them. For some reason that makes cleaning seem a lot less serious and a lot more do-able to me. I love that Smallin is practical in the objects she chooses to discuss as well. Kitchen appliances and surfaces, bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, baby nurseries, outdoor spaces, laundry, and computers (she even tells you how to clean up your files in your computer) all receive an equal amount of attention with focus on objects you're actually likely to find in those areas in an ordinary house.

I made some notes from my library copy but I need to buy this book for myself so that when I need advice on how to clean something up I'll have it handy!

Disclaimer:  Library copy. This is a cross-posting of my review from Goodreads. I reviewed it last year (2010) but had not figured out this blog yet. I am posting it here for the first time.

Recommended to:  Everyone! Specifically, to those starting out on their own for the first time, people who know little about cleaning, or people wishing to make cleaning simpler in their lives.

Where you can purchase this book:

Add this book to your tbr list:
Visit the Cleaning Plain and Simple Goodreads page.

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