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Is There Life After Housework?

Is There Life After Housework?: A Revolutionary Approach to Cutting Your Cleaning Time 75%. Don Aslett.
Adams Media, Avon MA 2nd edition. October 2005. 248 pages.

"Over three million DON ASLETT books sold!" screams the cover.  "America's #1 Cleaning Expert".  Wow!  I prepare to gobble up this book immediately and change my life forever.  There are charts ("Annually---wash walls").  Methods (7 steps for How to Mop a Floor).  A comprehensive index (14 entries under "vacuum").  Time management suggestions:  "Take mood, energy, and motivation into account when you're scheduling and organizing."  This is terrific stuff.

But wait: 3 million books sold!  That number really catches my eye.  I had never even heard of Don Aslett until recently.  Who would those other readers (millions of them!) be?  Script the Philosopher, Marketing Whiz and Bookkeeper identifies six possible target audiences...

Group C'N'N: Cleanies 'N' Neatniks

The ideal readers: people who want to learn the absolute best way to choose a vacuum cleaner, prevent mildew, and clean the oven.  These super-motivated folks yearn to Discover More ("this essential guide chock-full.....").  Clean Better ("professional secrets").  Finish Faster ("a revolutionary approach to cutting your cleaning time by 75%").  They will buy this book.

Group TLC: Tool Lovers and Collectors

Don has just the stuff for you!  Forget the second-rate ("Don't go to the local supermarket or discount house and buy a squeegee").  No!  Search out the janitorial supply centres in your community.  Buy professional cleaning products ("quaternary type disinfectant, dilute as directed.")  Follow his instructions on how to sew your own cleaning rags.  Read his advice on choosing planks at the lumberyard ("redwood is good because it is light and rot resistant").  Combine plank with 2 stepladders and an extension ladder: and voila, your very own scaffold!  13 illustrated pages on materials.  Cool!  I am impressed.

Groups ASH: Average Successful Home-Managers

These good folks, not quite as enthusiastic as the above two categories, will nevertheless treasure this book as a useful reference guide to anything and everything.  If they ever want to know the different techniques for cleaning plexiglas, thermal panes, and regular window glass, Don has the information.

Group PP: Poor Perfectionists

What?  You mean you've been washing closets weekly?  Well!  Now you have the final word from "the head of one of the nation's leading professional cleaning companies."  Who thoughtfully provides several pages on "Cleaning you can cut back on."  You have Don's permission to relax: "You're a human being not a machine."  Read the inspirational final chapter first: "Remember... that a house is to live in, not live for."  You have my permission to skip the preceding 16 sections.

Group RRM: Recently Recovered Messies

This is the group to which I reluctantly belong.  At first I enjoyed Don's practical "you can do it style", and the entertaining anecdotes from the career of "everyone's favorite cleaner".  The introductory material was so inspiring: "You are entitled to a life of love, fulfillment and accomplishment."  Then I moved into the practical cleaning advice and the guilt started.  "Repair every leaky or dripping fixture."  What would Don say if he knew that my bath taps leaked for 5 years?  "Alter any surface or appearance you don't like."  What?  I have lived happily with an ugly unpainted laundry room for 25 years!  There must be something wrong with me...

Group SS: Serious Squalorees

Do not read this book.


No one's time should be wasted cleaning needlessly or inefficiently. ~ Don Aslett, Is There Life After Housework?