How to Keep House While Drowning, by KC Davis

February 22, 2023 Book Reviews 3 ★★★★★

How to Keep House While Drowning, by KC DavisHow to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 26, 2022 (orig. self-pub. Oct. 31, 2020)
Genres: House and Home, Self-Help
Pages: 144
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Add to Goodreads


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.

Housekeeping as self-care

KC Davis’s approach to housekeeping is one of gentle, compassionate, nonjudgmental kindness and understanding — an attitude she both displays to her readers and recommends they take towards themselves. This is housekeeping as self-care, with a deep appreciation of the physical, mental, emotional, and circumstantial barriers that can stand in the way. Rather than prescribe rigid routines or impose strict standards that many of us find it impossible to meet, Davis offers both encouragement and permission to design a home, organizational systems, and rhythms/routines that fit your needs and abilities.

I came away from the book with several insights into why I struggle with what some of what Davis calls “care tasks.” I also identified several practical and attitudinal steps I can take to make things easier, and to be kinder to myself in the process (rather than shaming and berating myself for not being “perfect.”)

The author speaks from personal experience as well as her expertise as a therapist. She has ADHD and has suffered from severe postpartum depression. She is on TikTock (@domesticblisters) and Instagram and Facebook (@strugglecare), and started the Struggle Care podcast in 2022.

Challenges met: COYER Upside Down Chapt. 1; Library Love 2023; COYER “Love & Libraries” readathon.


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER Upside-Down 2023: Chapter 1
  • Library Love Challenge 2023

3 Responses to “How to Keep House While Drowning, by KC Davis”

  1. Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits

    Chores as a “kindnesses to your future self” sounds like a really good way to think of it. I saw someone on social media the other day mention “doing dishes tonight so that future me doesn’t have to do dishes tomorrow morning” and it sounds like that is the kind of thing mentioned in this book. I’ll have to look into this one… it sounds like a huge help.
    Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits recently posted…Book Review: Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)My Profile

  2. Katherine

    I like the sound of this and have this on my library list. My husband is super neat and ends up doing more of the housework than me but I would like to do more but struggle with actually doing it – especially in the last few years.