Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Likely Stories - How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by KC Davis

KC Davis is a counselor and speaker who lives in Houston. In her book, How to Keep House While Drowning, Davis outlines practical and compassionate instructions on how to keep life running when you feel like you are flailing.

KC Davis is a counselor and speaker who lives in Houston. In her book, How to Keep House While Drowning, Davis outlines practical and compassionate instructions on how to keep life running when you feel like you are flailing.

Reading this book felt like chatting with a smart older sister who has it all figured out. Someone who is gentle, compassionate, and efficient. She gives clever advice that literally makes life easier and more manageable. This is a short book. It is designed to be accessible and offers concrete solutions to everyday challenges, such as doing the dishes, or keeping up with hygeine when these simple tasks feel insurmountable.

To say that this book changed my life, is not hyperbole. I read "How to Keep House While Drowning," after having my daughter, and reread it when a surprise second baby arrived 18 months later and I found myself with two under two.

I adopted many of Davis's housekeeping strategies - For example, she introduces the five things tidying method - there are only five things in each room you must manage, trash, dishes, laundry, things that have a place, and things that do not have a place. When you break down a messy room into these five things, suddenly the chaos is not as overwhelming.

Davis speaks with kindness as she teaches gentle skill building, and addresses complicated issues, like division of labor in the household. Most importantly - this book taught me to treat myself and others with greater grace and empathy. Davis argues that care-tasks (her term for household chores) are neither good nor evil, right nor wrong and there are no rules when it comes to housekeeping. It is okay to make your own system, for example, I no longer put my kids' clothes away in each of their rooms separately, we moved all our dressers in the room next to the laundry room and we put everyone's clothes away at once.

There is no shame in cutting corners - Davis says, "Your space should serve you, you do not serve your space." I recommend "How to Keep House While Drowning," if you are, or ever have felt like you are drowning in the simple day to day tasks of being alive, for example, when a new baby arrives, when you suffer a loss, or when you or a loved one, are faced with a mental or physical health crisis.

I also recommend this book to those supporting someone who is struggling. How to keep house while drowning will teach you to be kinder and gentler with yourself and others. My husband and I listened to the audiobook together, and agreed, if people could be this kind to themselves and each other most of our problems would be solved."

Unfortunately, Davis has yet to design a system for keeping a car clean, so mine stays messy.

Likely Stories - A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is the first book in the Monk and Robot series by Becky Chambers. This charming novella won the Hugo award in 2022 - the Hugo recognizes the best science fiction or fantasy titles of the previous year.
Likely Stories - The Art Thief by Michael Finkel
The Art Thief, by Michael Finkel, is a true story about a young couple who stole $2 billion worth of art - that's with a B- for more than seven years across Europe, totaling a treasure of more than 300 pieces.
Likely Stories - Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
"Under the Whispering Door" is a book I had been eyeing for months because of its intriguing cover. It is written by TJ Klune, the same author who wrote "The House in the Cerulean Sea.”
Likely Stories - American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott
War is hell. And what comes after war, when soldiers return home, is often its own version of torment, one that takes exceptional patience and grace from everyone--those who love the soldiers as well as the soldiers themselves.
Likely Stories - The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E Davis
I’m Joe Riley with KWBU. I’ve loved Likely Stories from the beginning, and always looked forward to hearing Jim McKeown’s recommendations. Now I’m grateful for the privilege of sharing one of my recent reads.
Likely Stories - Biography of a Phantom: A Robert Jonson Blues Odyssey
For someone who's been the subject of more than a dozen books, there's not a whole not that's definitely known about the blues musician Robert Johnson.
Likely Stories - Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Dominicana is a novel I cannot stop thinking about.
Likely Stories - The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli
You may not think that an Episcopal priest is the most likely candidate to review a book on theoretical physics by someone who describes himself as "serenely atheist," but Carlo Rovelli's The Order of Time, which I just read for the first time this year, has quickly become one of my favorites.
Likely Stories - All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Earlier this year I read Anthony Doerr's novel All the Light We Cannot See. I had a copy of it for years and now, I wish I had read it sooner.
Likely Stories - The Long And Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
I wanted to bring a backlist selection that I only recently discovered. That is The Long And Faraway Gone by Lou Berney.

Heather White grew up in Waco, left after high school, and returned in 2019 to teach Art History classes at Baylor. Before lecturing at BU, she worked as a museum educator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and taught for local organizations in DFW, Houston, and OKC. She lives in Woodway with her husband and three kiddos.