Dana White has a “deep, dark secret.” In her hugely-popular blog, she tackles her hole-and-corner proclivity with honesty and practicality; picking herself up when she stumbles, identifying where things went wrong, and doing what she has to to get back on track. No, Dana isn’t an addict in the traditional sense. As a matter of fact, she’s not engaging in anything illicit at all. Dana is — by her own admission — a slob.
She recently started a podcast as a companion to her blog, A Slob Comes Clean, where she gives cleaning and organization tips that have worked for her. She’s intimately familiar with the struggles of housekeeping.
She keeps it light, even managing to make this series of bad habits, that plague so many of us, funny. Despite her busy schedule, she kindly dropped me a few lines last week.
- How did your “deslobification” process begin?
Four years ago, in August of 2009, I was desperate to start blogging but my home was a disaster. I couldn’t justify letting anything else take my focus away from it. I started A Slob Comes Clean as a way to focus on my home and get it under control while learning about blogging. I never intended for it to be my “real” blog.
- When and why the jump to podcasting?
In 2011, I finally grasped the concept that I didn’t just have a blog, I had a message. Only so many people read blogs. Others watch videos or listen to podcasts. This freed me to realize that I didn’t have to come up with completely new content for videos or podcasts. The goal was to get my same message into a different form so it could reach a new and different audience. I started making webisodes right away, but podcasting intimidated me so it took a lot longer (two years!) to take that step!
- Let’s talk about your “deep, dark secret.” Did people treat you differently after they found out about your blog? Could you tell when someone had discovered it?
For years, I told no one but my closest friends and family about it. Eventually, though, word got out about my blog/deep-dark-secret. It’s been interesting to see how people react. In many cases, it has helped some relationships because if someone reads my blog, they understand what a struggle this is for me. Most people aren’t horrified about my Slob Secret, but some are hurt that I kept my blog life a secret from them for so long.
- How’s your family handling the deslobification process?
A big part of the process for me was my commitment to be completely honest and stop making excuses. This helped me focus on myself and on what I was and wasn’t doing. That meant I didn’t try to shift blame to my family. As I developed routines to keep the house under control, I was able to bring them in on those routines. This worked SO much better than my pre-blog method of holding a family meeting and declaring that we were all going to change. Starting tomorrow!
- Do you think the blogging and the podcast help you to stay organized, sort of force you to be accountable? Or has the effort that goes into creating them fallen into the “life happens” category
The blog and podcast definitely help me stay focused. I’ve found the best way to cure writer’s block is to clean something! Also, my content is based on what I’m doing around my home, so that keeps me honest. But yes, when I get going on a new project like writing an e-book, my tunnel-vision kicks in and the house suffers. But then I write about that!
- Tell me about the “Three Strikes? You’re Donated!” rule.
I used to put too much value on “stuff.” When I first started decluttering, it was painful to get rid of things. I’ve come up with many rules that help me move through large amounts of clutter in as little time as possible. The three strikes rule is just one way I help myself make those tough decisions.
- What’s the biggest challenge those of us cursed with the slob gene face?
Our brains work differently. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, realizing this was a huge step for me. When people started reading my blog and saying that they shared my struggles, I began to see a common thread. They were all extremely creative people. When I realized that the creative part of my brain (which I love) was directly related to the slob part of my brain (which I don’t love), it helped me accept that this is part of who I am. That doesn’t mean I’m okay with a messy house, but it does mean that I don’t need to feel like a failure when an organized person’s “expert” advice makes no sense to me. I need to find ways to keep my house under control that work for MY brain and MY unique family.
- What has the response been to the podcast? Are fans of the blog warming to it?
They are. I’ve been surprised at how many have said they love it! It has also opened up a new audience of people who might not otherwise hear my message of hope!
- Where do you stand on having guests on the podcast?
I’m not against it, but I’m not ready yet. Mostly, I don’t have the time to figure out the logistics of that yet!
- What’s on the horizon for you and a Slob Comes Clean?
I’ve written several e-books, but I’m currently working on a book that will (hopefully) be traditionally published. My goal is to get my message out there to as many people as possible. There IS hope for your home!