Warning: There Is No Secret

Heather says:

I should probably give all readers a clear warning before continuing:

I am a stressed out, hot mess of a person right now. This afternoon at 1pm PST I’m going on an internet show to pitch my startup SpinPicks. I am nervous as can be. The kids’ football season is in the chaotic mess of having two boys on different teams playing games on different nights in different places. Apparently, it’s Open House week and I just had to say to heck with that, between football and the shifts I work, there’s not a chance I can make it. (This is not a plea for pity, just a holy cow I’m stressed vent)

My tact button is broken.

Recently, it was requested that I share the daily chores from the post-it notes on the Home-Ec 101 Facebook Fanpage. So I’ve been doing just that.

The chores and clean house chore chart are a framework. I am purposely not specific with the names of rooms, what time, or how long a person should spend per room because frankly there is no way I can tell you it will take you 30 minutes to clean your living room.

What if you don’t have a living room? I was once asked, with no further detail, how long will it take me to clean my house? In my home, there is a FROG and a Florida Room, we don’t have a basement or a mudroom. We have a dining room and a family room, but no formal living room. My point is there are so many variables -what variables? Read the how long will it take post ^^^- that I could spend days writing up individualized plans, but -and this is selfish- I love y’all, but I just don’t have that kind of time or mental energy.

I’ve told you the secret to a clean home, it’s simple, there’s no secret: put your stuff away. This means the clutter gets put away, the trash goes in the garbage, the dirt goes down the drain, and the laundry gets cycled and put away. Do you not know how to get started with cleaning?

I will always happily answer any specific how to question, but I cannot make you do something you don’t want to do or make you read the content already on the site. If you want a clean house, you’ll work on it, a little each day. You can search the site for specific problems – why is there so much lint in my laundry room, how do I clean enameled cast iron etc. Maybe you’ll find value in the Cleaning 101 series. I don’t live in your home so I can’t tell you to pick up the socks under your bed. Honestly, I try not to stalk any of you, I’m a little weird, but not THAT weird.

Hang in there, I know it’s hard, especially when it feels like no one helps and it feels as though all you do is work and never get anywhere. I cannot emphasize enough how much I do understand. I know it seems like I sit here at the ready to answer your questions,doing nothing else, but I’m out there living life, too.  And life IS messy, I just help tell you how to clean it up.

Cross your fingers for me later today and I’ll continue to be here for you to the best of my ability.


  1. HeatherSolos on September 13, 2012 at 6:59 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=en&client=mv-google&v=rlt2d49G6Ag&feature=youtu.be&t=29m50s&nomobile=1 Well here’s the video from Tuesday, my segment starts right around 29:50. *eek

    • MicheleN on September 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

      HeatherSolos Loved your pitch!  I shared it with my husband–who happens to spend all day creating funny climate change-related graphics for a nonprofit.  He made an account and can’t wait to use it, once he figures out how to post/add/submit/whatever his group’s stuff! ;-)P.S. I think you’re way cooler with a dysfunctional tact button.

      • HeatherSolos on September 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

        MicheleN would he possibly be willing to create infographics for HE101, I’ll pay for them, naturally. 

        • MicheleN on September 13, 2012 at 11:19 am

          HeatherSolos I asked, but he doesn’t think he’s good enough because most of the things he/his coworkers create gets outsourced to their freelance graphic designer to “fancy them up” (didn’t know that; oops!).  He’s said he’s happy to forward you her contact information/climate change infographics, though! His NPO is small and new, and the designer is young, so she’s “probably pretty inexpensive”.

        • MicheleN on September 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm

          HeatherSolos (Meh, I can’t edit my post to add my afterthought.  Sorry!  I swear I’ll leave you alone after this.)I’m not sure if this is what you had in mind, but…  If you’re just looking for someone with free time who’s experienced with Photoshop, I’d be happy to try to help out for free/cheap/peanuts.  I’m not a professional graphic designer (don’t even play one on TV), but I figured I’d put the offer out there in case you get desperate for help at any point in the future. 🙂

  2. KeterMagick on September 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Good luck on your pitch!I agree there’s no secret.  Even at my age, I just had a revelation – which probably won’t work for everyone, so use with caution.I was raised to believe that it was polite to always involve others in the decision making about a shared domicile.  I kept waiting for my husband to make his decisions and to join me on sorting through, getting rid of, and putting away the stuff that was his to deal with.  I even made it easy for him by putting the stuff in boxes and putting them out where they were easy to get to.  I issued reminders, scheduled appointments to work together, etc.  And nothing was getting done; there was always something “more important” – and increasingly that meant looking up old friends of his on the computer and reminiscing about stuff they did in their youth.The revelation evolved over the past couple of months; I quietly stopped trying to include him.  I just started making the decisions that needed to be made and doing what needed to be done.  I haven’t asked for or received any help, and I’ve had some complaints about stuff that “disappeared.”  I answered these by saying “well, if you had put it away properly, you would know where it is.”  He knows that’s true and can’t argue.  And my house is looking better every day.  I even did some stuff he kept promising to do but never got around to…he’s had the same honey-do list now for two years so I just threw it away and started doing it myself.  It will become a challenge to maintain the peace when I get into cleaning out and organizing “his territory” in the garage/workshop, but I’m going to do it because I need access to the tools, too.I guess I finally faced the fact that for the past couple of years I haven’t had a partner, I’ve had a dependent.  That’s quite a paradigm shift, and not one to ever discuss with the one who has become the dependent.  But I had to do something – waiting for him had become a blocking issue that was threatening to turn the house into a candidate for that hoarding show.  So even those of us who usually have all our stuff in one sack still have times in which we have to relearn, make adjustments, and adapt.  I suspect from talking with some of my older friends that what I’m going through now is an adjustment many women have to make when dealing with an aging partner…but no one talks about it openly (except me, apparently).  I’m fortunate because I’m still strong and in good shape; some of my friends are having to deal with this while they have their own health problems.Heather, you might consider a few posts or even an e-book on cleaning/decluttering issues for older folks.  I know the problem is often more pressing from an immediate health/safety standpoint for families with small children, but there’s not much out there focused on the slower-paced issues of how to simplify a home filled with years of memories so it can be maintained by persons whose age affects how much they can do in a day (or at all).

  3. Jo-Lynne Shane on September 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    What they heck!? You mean you aren’t superwoman? Who knew!? ;-)Good luck this afternoon! You’re gonna rock it.

  4. rasmattaz on September 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I loved this post, Heather.  Thank you for all that you do, and for being so REAL!  🙂  May I recommend flylady.net for those who want more specific guidelines?  Have a super day – I’m sure you’ll do great.

  5. mperry8304 on September 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Best wishes for later today.  AND did you just make up a new tagline for your site?  “Life IS messy, I just help tell you how to clean it up.” 

  6. TheSewingLoft on September 11, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Heather, you are going to knock it out of the park. You did an amazing job at Type A and I suspect that this will be a breeze. Just relax, have fun and think about the other work later!~Heather

  7. TammyL on September 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

    You mean you won’t come clean my house if I ask you to, or worse yet, there really isn’t a cleaning fairy who will come take care of it for me?!?!?You do such wonderful work on this blog. Especially considering that you have the rest of your life to fit in around it, by all means, vent away! 

  8. amyeaustin on September 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Thank you for everything you do.  Home Ec 101 is a resource that I really value, and I have referred a lot of friends here.  

  9. MelissaTurnerJones on September 11, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Heather, I just want you to know that you (and Ivy, back in the day) have helped me immensely over the past few years.  I wasn’t taught how to clean (we were a “stuff it someplace and shut the door when company is coming over” kind of family), so it’s been a struggle to keep up with homeschooling, a part-time job, church commitments, and three kids 5 and under (plus a puppy, a cat, some fish, and a husband that works long hours to take care of our family).  Add the occasional bout of post-partum depression and it’s been rough at times.  But thanks to encouragement from sites like yours, I’m slowly getting on top of things, one bit at a time.Thanks!

    • HeatherSolos on September 11, 2012 at 10:38 am

      MelissaTurnerJones yep we are ALL busy in our own way, it’s part season of life, part our culture (and part our choices). My kids were 4, 2, and newborn that first year here, then came 3 years of homeschooling, and now we’re just about to hit 9, 7, 5 with the last birthday next week and really, I can tell you, it gets better. You’ll be busy, but it won’t be the same focus on the input and output of each kid, which I find relieving.

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