EDGMONT — Few people use the word “housework” in the same sense as words like “happiness,” “laughter,” or “smile.” Colleen Ciavola, from Edgmont, is one of the few and she’s on a mission to change the bad rap of housework and change most people’s negative mindset.
“Homework isn’t a dirty word, and talking about it doesn’t have to be as dry as dust,” new author Ciavola said in a recent interview.
Published via Amazon and a quick read in 46 pages, “Dancing with Housework” is a humorous and motivational guide to renewing people’s minds for enjoyment, not just performing the tasks required to create a clean home. at home, but also to enjoy the sparkling results. The book also offers motivational tips and a cleaning plan that can be tailored to each individual reader’s time and priorities.
“The book is intended to be easy to read and entertaining, and to provide useful ways to clean and to put a smile on the cleaner’s face or a smile in the mouth,” Ciavola stated.
“Dancing With Housework” is divided into three parts. First, Ciavola describes her own childhood experience of cleaning the household and the implanted messages. The second part deals with psychological principles applied to housework, such as acceptance and mindfulness, as well as motivation. Third, “Dancing with Housework” provides what Ciavola calls “the heart of the book,” an organizational scheme of planning and structure that can be used to make the household what each individual wants it to be.
Ciavola was born and raised in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a degree in physical therapy, before embarking on an early career as a physical therapist. After getting married and having two children, Ciavola enjoyed being a stay at home mom until she turned 50 when she returned to school. Ciavola holds a master’s degree in professional counseling/psychology from Immaculata University.
Using her counseling skills and knowledge, Ciavola joined Life Counseling in Paoli and Springfield Psychological in West Chester as a mental health counselor. Now retired, she babysits her only grandchild once a week and enjoys life with her husband Michael, who is also retired from a long career as a teacher in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. The couple have two children, Valerie Ciavola of Media and Suzanne Newman of Bethel Township.
Through her years of counseling, Ciavola noticed the high percentage of people who hated housework and began to recognize her own psychological motivation for the task. With a background in psychology and counseling, as well as performing as a stand-up comedy, she decided to share what she knows, hoping to motivate others through her light-hearted guide.
“I wanted to help other people organize their tasks and use psychological motivators to help them think differently about housework,” the author said.
Ciavola said she started her own life as “an overly, too good housekeeper.” As a child, she and her older sister were too embarrassed to invite friends to their home because their mother was such a poor housekeeper.
“My mother was a lovely person, who gave us a home of love and kindness, but housekeeping was just never a priority,” Ciavola recalls. “My mother was watching soap operas all day. I remember my father’s frustration when he couldn’t find a bill or important paper due to the clutter in our house. We lived in disorganized chaos!”
As an adult, Ciavola responded to her upbringing by going into the opposite mode. She mopped and dusted until her whole house shone. When she heard that her in-laws were coming to visit, Ciavola spent days making sure there wasn’t a crumb or dust in sight.
“My obsessive cleaning made me very cranky,” Ciavola explained. “Perfection is not good in any area of life. It took me time, but I’ve finally reached a happy medium. I am more relaxed about my housework now. My house is still very clean, but not 100 percent spotless.”
Ciavola says she now cleans her house twice a week, spending a total of four hours clearing out clutter and performing basic cleaning tasks such as vacuuming, dusting, bathtubs, showers, floors and the kitchen.
“Everyone is different in how clean they want their home,” said Ciavola. “I rarely judge other people. Everyone has their own personal preference in how clean or unclean they can tolerate and live with. However, I do draw the line and begin to assess whether there are bugs, cats licking dishes, or dog poop on the floor. There is absolutely no excuse for living in a filthy house that causes disease.”
The author shares motivators and tips, such as listening to favorite music, organizing cleaning supplies, talking to yourself, and giving yourself a small reward when each small task is completed. The prioritized and customized plan even includes space for ‘annual tasks’ such as windows, basement and garage. The author adds a “bonus chapter” to the book on daily meal preparation, making it more organized and efficient.
“A clean and organized home makes you feel good, saves a lot of time looking for things, and brings order to our lives,” says Ciavola. “My book has funny parts and useful parts. I combined my background in psychology and stand-up comedy in hopes of helping others change the way they think about housework.”
For more information on ‘Dancing With Housework’, visit http://amazon.com or email Ciavola at [email protected]/.