Right now, my entire life is packed full of boxes and chaos. Nothing in my house is where it’s meant to be. I’ve spent today pulling picture hooks out of walls and filling them back in, readying the house for the next people who move in. As I’m about to move this week, there’s so much to be done that I can’t even think about keeping on top of a cleaning schedule. In fact, with so many boxes piled up in my living room, I can’t even hoover the carpet.
I think that’s why I had such a negative reaction to seeing Mrs. Hinch’s Instagram account this week. My friends pointed her out to me, saying that they love watching her Instagram Stories and getting tips on how to clean their houses. When I took a look though, it seemed like her feed was full of everything that I just can’t get along with.
(Please note, I am in no way meaning to insult or do down Mrs. Hinch. Her feed is full of positivity and she’s very kind to her followers.)
Firstly, it was the house. Every room in her house is white and grey, perfectly polished, show home standard. If I visited her, I’d be scared to touch anything. Everything very clearly has a place. Her feed is an uninterrupted stream of white and grey, grey and white. It make me feel kind of itchy.
Then there’s her habit of calling cleaning ‘hinching’. This is a super personal irritation, but I can’t bear it. It’s so twee, it makes me gag. Plus, ‘hinch’ isn’t a frigging verb!
It’s the perfection that gets my back up. She has her house the way she likes it, and she takes a lot of joy in making it look good. It’s her house, she can do as she wishes. She can even put it on Instagram to show others, that’s very much up to her. Whatever she’s doing it works, as she has thousands of followers and even has a book coming out. The perfection scares me, though. What’s it like, living in a house like that?
She’s just one of many cleaning gurus that I’ve come across in the last few years. Firstly, of course, there’s Marie Kondo, she of the KonMari Method. Then there’s Jolie Kerr, who ran a cleaning column on Jezebel and wrote a book called ‘My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag’. There’s also Unfuck Your Habitat, run by Rachel Hoffman, who also wrote a brilliant book by the same name. I’ve devoured them all, soaking up tips and gathering the energy to make my space better.
What is it about them that doesn’t put me off, like Mrs Hinch does? It’s the fact they’re not asking for perfection. They’re not advocating buying expensive cleaning products (Unfuck Your Habitat is a big fan of the ‘drain volcano’, otherwise known as baking powder and vinegar to clean your drains). They just want you to be able to take care of yourself and your surroundings.
KonMari wants you to find a place for everything in your home, but she wants you to do that so you can find all the things that ‘spark joy’ for you. Unfuck Your Habitat just want you to spend 10 minutes clearing something, so you can actually see what you own. It’s manageable, it’s doable. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t need to be.
While Mrs Hinch is selling a lifestyle, it’s not a lifestyle to me. It’s too much. I’m not that much of an organised person to colour match my towels or perfectly place ornaments in my living room. I’m a bit chaotic, and I’m ok with that. I’m going to stick with my mismatching cushions and ridiculous character emblazoned mugs. I’m not one for ‘hinching’.