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Sidetracked Home Executives

We long for peace and harmony in our homes and the freedom to say, “Come on over!” when an old friend calls. Too often a house that’s a screaming mess stands in the way of peace, harmony, and freedom. With Attention Deficit Disorder, sometimes it is difficult to implement a housecleaning plan. It is hard to do things that are distasteful and time-consuming. Trying and failing to keep an orderly house can cause deep-seated frustration. When you have reached the end of your housecleaning rope, call on the “Slob Sisters!”

Pam Young and Peggy Jones are the authors of Sidetracked Home Executives. More than thirty years ago, Pam Young and Peggy Jones were tired of the way their homes looked and the chaos in their lives. These “Slob Sisters” created a system for bringing organization to the most disordered homes. Then, they wrote a book to tell the world about their system.

Sidetracked Home Executives is a collection of humorous stories and poems that demonstrate just how out of control their homes were. Illustrated in cartoons by Jim Shinn, this book takes a subject that is laden with a lot of angst for many people, and shows readers the lighter side of bringing order to a messy home. Honestly, I can identify with the stories. I start out to clean the bedroom, and I find an issue of “New Scientist” that I haven’t read. An hour later, I resume cleaning, but I have to have a play session with the birds. After that, the cats need attention. You get the idea. Pam Young and Peggy Jones’ stories can make anybody feel better about their lack of housecleaning skills.

This book goes beyond funny anecdotes. Chapter 4 gives a complete blueprint for organizing a home. Organization is done with 3 x 5 index cards in different colors. Supply lists are given. The instructions are detailed, so that they are easy to understand. Examples of the cards are provided.

In the book’s Appendix there are Activity Lists that tell basic household and personal chores that are routinely completed in an orderly home. These lists are organized by the rooms in homes and personal activities that people should schedule. Each room has a list of chores and suggested frequencies for doing the chores. The householder lists each chore individually on a card that is color-coded according to the type of chore and how frequently it needs to be done. The cards are organized in a box. A basic weekly plan is made that keeps you on track with your plan. Make a menu plan. If you have children, decide which chores are right for them to do. Make cards for everything you want or need to do. Include personal chores for each person in the household.

Implement your plan by doing the chores that you listed on your cards. A basic weekly plan tells which days that you do heavy cleaning and which are used for shorter jobs. Mini jobs that take less than ten minutes can be done during those short spans of time that we all have. The menu plan correlates closely with the type of cleaning day that it is. Choose easy meals on heavy cleaning days. After the chore is done, pencil in the date that it was completed. What about those busy times in your life? You may skip a chore twice. After that, it moves to the top of the pile. As a priority, it has to be completed the next time it comes up. Chapter 4 is the heart of the book, and it gives step-by-step instructions on how to work the system. I can testify to the usefulness of this book. Years ago, it took our home from chaos to organization as we prioritized chores and cleaned on a regular schedule.

This book is short enough to read in a day. Many people will find the stories, poems and cartoons engaging and hilarious. Sometimes, I think the authors get a little too cutesy and corny. Their alternative personas can become slightly tedious. I will say though, I can identify with many of the stories that they tell.

The authors never mention Attention Deficit Disorder, but this book is geared toward the highly distractible householder. It gives a concrete method to move from chaos to organization. Sidetracked Home Executives gets my seal of approval. Years ago, I bought this book. Recently, I borrowed the updated version from the library to compare the two. They are very much alike. If you bought this book some years ago, dig it out and work the system. As a person who embraces my Attention Deficit Disorder, I recommend it for calming this aspect of the chaos that ADD can bring to our lives.

Per the FCC disclosure rules, I borrowed this book from the library and was not compensated for this review.

Sidetracked Home Executives gives a step-by-step method for going from a screaming mess to an orderly household.

Sidetracked Home Executives(TM): From Pigpen to Paradise

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