My 5 Favorite Quotes From How to Keep House While Drowning

My first read of 2023 was How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis. This book had been on my wishlist for a while because that title really speaks to me!

This is a small, short book (144 pages) and I thought I’d breeze through it in one or two sittings. I found that after reading a couple chapters, I needed to put it away and take time to absorb what I’d read.

I felt seen and understood while reading this. I have spent so much of my life feeling like I am a bad wife, bad woman, because I’m not good at cleaning the house. Now, I am going to give myself permission to focus on making my space functional for my family as opposed to aesthetically pleasing or thinking about what other people think of my home.

The book is meant for anyone who struggles with maintaining their home and body in any way. I love that the author points out in her introduction just a few examples of reasons people have trouble with these tasks: executive dysfunction, feeling overwhelmed, procrastination, perfectionism, trauma, motivation, chronic pain, fatigue, depression, lack of skills, lack of support, the list could go on and on.

Also, I like how she replaced the word “chores” with “care tasks,” to remove some of the feelings associated with that word and to emphasize that these tasks are all part of self care.

After reading the book once, I went through it again and wrote down lines that resonated with me strongly, or that emphasized the core concepts of the book.

  1. “You don’t exist to serve your space; your space exists to serve you.”

I’ve commented to my husband on many occasions that I feel like our house owns us and not the other way around. Changing that thinking has made an immediate difference in how I view my space when I look around me. I’m now motivated to make changes to serve me and my family.

2. “You are worthy of care whether your house is immaculate or a mess.”

We all need to hear this, especially on our worst days. I appreciate the reminder that I deserve to rest, shower, eat, whatever, regardless of the state of my home.

3. “It would be such a kindness to future me if I were to get up right now and do _____.”

I was first inspired by this concept of “future me” when I read about it in Gretchen Rubin’s work about habits. Since then I have used my future self as motivation to go to the gym when I don’t want to. Now, I can see how using that concept will work when I think about how I might want the house to look/feel when I arrive home or wake up in the morning. Already I’m tidying things and folding blankets so that it’s appealing to me when I next enter the room.

4. “You do not need to have children for your struggles with care tasks to be valid.”

The author has two small children and discusses her post part struggles at length. As someone without kids, I often feel like I “should” be able to keep up with the house better for this reason. But my struggles are still valid.

5. “The best way to do something is the way it gets done.”

This makes so much sense when you think about it. How many of us have been taught how to “properly” fold a fitted sheet? *eyeroll* Well I have and that’s not how I do it. I do it the easiest way that gets it from the laundry basket to the closet. I am now looking for other places I can apply this method. The author gives some examples of running the dishwasher half full or only washing a few pairs of underwear at a time. Whatever I need, that helps me function, is the way I need to do things

These quotes, along with the general tone and content of the book have truly changed the way I think about maintaining my space. I don’t have to do all the things at once in order to feel like I’ve accomplished something. Now maybe I clear off one kitchen counter at a time, instead of tackling the whole room at once, which often overwhelms me and prevents me from even starting.

I hope some of these lines connected with you as well and I highly recommend this book. I promise it will change your relationship with you home and tasks.

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