How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing

Written by:
Kc Davis
Narrated by:
Dr. Raquel Martin , Kc Davis

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
April 2022
3 hours 3 minutes
An NPR Best Book of 2022
USA TODAY Bestseller

This revolutionary approach to cleaning and organizing helps free you from feeling ashamed or overwhelmed by a messy home.

If you’re struggling to stay on top of your to-do list, you probably have a good reason: anxiety, fatigue, depression, ADHD, or lack of support. For therapist KC Davis, the birth of her second child triggered a stress-mess cycle. The more behind she felt, the less motivated she was to start. She didn’t fold a single piece of laundry for seven months. One life-changing realization restored her sanity—and the functionality of her home: You don’t work for your home; your home works for you.

In other words, messiness is not a moral failing. A new sense of calm washed over her as she let go of the shame-based messaging that interpreted a pile of dirty laundry as “I can never keep up” and a chaotic kitchen as “I’m a bad mother.” Instead, she looked at unwashed clothes and thought, “I am alive,” and at stacks of dishes and thought, “I cooked my family dinner three nights in a row.”

Building on this foundation of self-compassion, KC devised the powerful practical approach that has exploded in popularity through her TikTok account, @domesticblisters. The secret is to simplify your to-do list and to find creative workarounds that accommodate your limited time and energy. In this book, you’ll learn exactly how to customize your cleaning strategy and rebuild your relationship with your home, including:

-How to see chores as kindnesses to your future self, not as a reflection of your worth
-How to start by setting priorities
-How to stagger tasks so you won’t procrastinate
-How to clean in quick bursts within your existing daily routine
-How to use creative shortcuts to transform a room from messy to functional

With KC’s help, your home will feel like a sanctuary again. It will become a place to rest, even when things aren’t finished. You will move with ease, and peace and calm will edge out guilt, self-criticism, and endless checklists. They have no place here.
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This book made me cry. The words spoken were so genuine and it felt as tho the book was written for me specifically. As someone with cleaning trauma it was so refreshing to hear how by just shifting your perspective on cleanliness can make a world of difference in your daily habits and the pressure you put on yourself when everything isn’t “perfect”. I will be buying a physical copy of the book to annotate and to keep on hand when I need a reminder of what it means to be “clean”. Thank you Kc Davis, I needed this.

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I absolutely loved this book. So gentle and affirming

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Brought me to tears at points, and I couldn’t even fully relate as a child free person. I just have a lot of shame around my inability to keep my house perfectly tidy, and this book helped me release some of that shame. I learned that 1) my house serves me and not the other way around and 2) it’s okay to outsource tasks if I can afford it and if it helps to keep me sane.

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Very nice!

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Melissa B.

This book is affirming and offers emotional support while also sharing very real, practical steps every person can take, wherever they are in life. Ms Davis is careful to include marginalized people, people with disabilities, those with mental health issues, and brings in a woman of color to speak on matters that directly relate to women of color. Thoughtful, kind, super helpful book!

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The extent of my gratitude of this book, especially in audiobook form, cannot be put into words. Thank you for the permission to treat myself with kindness. ❤️

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I absolutely love this book and will be giving it a relisten in the future. The narration is really well done as well.

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Can’t say that I enjoyed this book, or the narrator. (I believe it to be one and the same). Personally, I’d rather read and listen to others in the field. They don’t seem to be nearly as cynical and seem to have quite a bit more nuggets of wisdom on the topic. She seems depressed herself, when listening, and when I’m reading a self-help book I like to be encouraged with some positivity.

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I love to read, all sorts of books. But this book was life altering; literally. So many times I laughed out loud- that laugh from deep within that says - ‘oh, I TOTALLY know that experience!!’ Or ‘MAN that resonates hugely!!’ She speaks my language!! It is THE best organizational concept, hacks and ideas I have run across anywhere. They’ve made an IMMEDIATE difference. I’ve already bought a friend a copy and plan on listening to this in the car with my neurodiverse family who struggles with executive functioning, ADHD and high functioning autism (though not high functioning when it comes to cleaning, prioritizing etc!). She doesn’t address what closing duties are until the end- so read that chapter specifically if you’re wondering early on……. And wearing gloves while cleaning the bathroom or kitchen has helped us A LOT as we have high sensory issues. And when it comes to clothes/ laundry, pro tip: my family got some 6 inch bar type handles that stick out from the wall. I hv about 8 of them in a happy configuration on my wall to drape skirts/ pants etc over rather than using any hangers. At days end, that’s all I can handle, just drape. Works for me! Finally- permission to be creative- we’re not alone at all!! Thanks KC for sharing care, experience and wisdom. And yes, I can cringe at paper plate usage too but seriously- we’re talking a tiny small affect on the world compared to any wedding, potluck, or business luncheon!! This is for the dire circumstances or seasons in a persons life, when it’s just plain practicable and life saving. Anyone still stuck on that (I see a review complaining about such) doesn’t really truly understand the audience she’s speaking to or life circumstances here. To all the neurodivergent or health challenged folks out there- these concepts will help you be independent and sane even when life throws you the overwhelming difficult sometimes. I’m rooting for you with this book!! An all time Best!!

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This book is something I’ve been searching for for years without knowing it. So much shame around not keeping a picture perfect house esp for women. It spoke to me so clearly. The one part I had some issue with was around the idea of normalizing disposable stuff when struggling. Eat a hotdog or sandwich or banana etc (stuff you can eat with your hands) and just reuse a water cup or if you really can’t do the dishes. Forget the rainforest, buying into this endless consumerism keeps you depressed and drowning in trash as an individual too, or at least that’s my experience.

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Melody H.

A life-changing book. I have told multiple friends about this book. The author makes you feel SANE and gives helpful, practice advice on how to get through life when you’re not at your best. Great for people with ADD/ADHD or anyone who struggles to complete basic tasks (and then shame yourself for it). I will listen to this book over and over again.

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Alley K.

insightful. helpful. quick read. well structured.

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I found this book very helpful. Cleaning tips without any judgement. I had ADHD and health issues, so cleaning can be a challenge at times.

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