Book Review – Simplify Your Household

Simplify Your Household
Tara Aronson
Hardback (inside spiral bound)
Published 1998

I’m going to say right off the bat that I didn’t just sit down and read this one cover to cover.  IMO, it’s not that kind of book anyway.  You need a tip on saving time, you flip to that point.  You have clutter, go to that section.  So I flipped around for several days after I got this until I had looked at everything.

And I wasn’t going to review it, but I was so annoyed by it that, yeah, yeah, I am.

So the book has that now-common format where there is text and then a bunch of text boxes with icon coded tips.  Some of them are okay, I guess.  Others are the type of tips you’ve read in a magazine a thousand times or heard half your friends mention or are just downright dumb.

For instance, I understand the concept of “every time you buy anything, make sure you get rid of something else.”  But my problem with it is that it’s the type of blanket statement that I can come up with 10000 reasons not to.  Get new running shoes because the other ones are wearing out?  Yeah, get rid of the old ones.  Get new running shoes because you just took up running, then what do you get rid of?  Work shoes?  Dress shoes?  Get a job that requires dress clothes and you don’t have any, what do you get rid of then?  Pajamas?  Or what if you just actually want more of something?

And, yes, I’m the type of person who likes to keep things.  Someday, I’ll have a house with a dedicated library.  Does that mean that I can’t have any books in the meantime?  Or does it just mean I don’t have enough shelves…

Anyway, back to the book.

The tip that finally got me mad enough to nit-pick this book was the shower tip.  It’s a “time-saver” ladies and gentlemen.  They want you to “sprinkle” your tub cleaner (which implies you’re using a chemical powder like Ajax) in your tub when you get in to shower, so that when you’re “waiting for your conditioner to do its thing” you can “use your foot to move around a wash cloth and clean the tub” – um.  No?  First of all, any powdered chemical is going to irritate skin.  So while you’re standing there and your feet are all pruney and the normally harder skin is softened up a little, the author literally wants you to stand in chemicals and move them around the tub.  Dafuq?  Second of all, if you’re really in such a hurry that the sixty seconds you’re supposed to let conditioner sit on your hair is too much, here’s what you do…  shampoo your hair, apply your conditioner, use your shower gel while you’re waiting, then rinse hair and body at the same time.  It makes a hell of a lot more sense than showering with harsh cleaning stuff.

Another tip that was just bizarre.  “If you’re allergic to your pets… dust regularly, lock them out of your bedroom…”  Okay.  I don’t know anyone who keeps their pets when they’re such an allergy problem that they have to lock them out of certain rooms of the house.  If you’re so bad off that you can’t have them in your bedroom, you also can’t have them in your living room, dining room, kitchen or the like.  And I don’t know a single person who would bring in a pet he or she was allergic to.  My friend Monica is allergic to cats.  She doesn’t have a cat.  She also won’t come over to my house because I do have a cat.  If the allergy is so bad that she won’t visit, it means that keeping a cat in her living room but closing her bedroom door isn’t going to do anything.  Clearly the author doesn’t have allergies of her own.

While I think some of the tips in here (again, albeit common sense stuff) could potentially be useful, most of them are just weird.  When childproofing your house, the author would like you to install plexiglass along your stair rails.  She would also like you to keep all your shoes stacked in plastic bins (because when you get to time saving, it’ll be sooooo easy to get to them when you need them – how about a shoe rack?!), turn all of your clothing inside out to wash them (which then means right side out after you dry them, but she doesn’t bother talking about that), and a plethora of other things that are just weird.

Bottom line.  This is yet another book combining common sense and a bunch of “tips” that nobody I have ever met has used or heard of anyone using.  Do you squeegee your tub daily?  The author thinks you should.  I’ll give it a 2/5 for the layout and not much else, but as for buying it… what book do you have sitting around worth less than this one?  Remember, if you get something, you have to get rid of something else.

I’m going to get rid of this one.



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