A Handy Handbook for Cleaning Up Messes

Posted 16 April, 2014 by Allison Hiltz in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction / 9 Comments

A Handy Handbook for Cleaning Up MessesMy Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag . . . and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha by Jolie Kerr
Published by Plume on February 25, 2014
Pages: 256
Genres: Non-Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours

From Goodreads: The author of the hit column “Ask a Clean Person” offers a hilarious and practical guide to cleaning up life’s little emergencies

Life is filled with spills, odors, and those oh-so embarrassing stains you just can’t tell your parents about. And let’s be honest: no one is going to ask Martha Stewart what to do when your boyfriend barfs in your handbag.

Thankfully, Jolie Kerr has both staggering cleaning knowledge and a sense of humor. With signature sass and straight talk, Jolie takes on questions ranging from the basic—how do I use a mop? —to the esoteric—what should I do when bottles of homebrewed ginger beer explode in my kitchen? My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag proves that even the most nightmarish cleaning conundrums can be solved with a smile, the right supplies, and a little music.

SourceTLC Book Tours

Every time I come across a handbook for cleaning, I remember this interview I watched with Kirstie Alley. In it, she explained that nothing cleans a bathroom better than  vodka, (the implied added bonus is that you can drink while you work). If you’re like me, then you’re always looking for a quick fix to household chores (although I haven’t tried the vodka trick yet). For some, this is because they are busy with kids and a career, but for others like me it’s because you hate cleaning so much it’s just easier to busy yourself with things other than chores. Regardless of which camp you fall into, My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag… And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha by Jolie Kerr will offer some great little gems for some of the more delicate aspects of cleaning up after yourself.

tlc logoLike most handbooks, this one covers the basics, such as how to defrost a freezer, clean your ceiling fans without standing on a wobbly stool, and what to do with your makeup brushes. What makes this one different is that Kerr addresses some of the less-talked about problems that people tend to encounter, such as gym clothes that never smell clean, brassiere maintenance, and how to fix a self-dye job. In a candid style that is filled with personal anecdotes, Kerr’s how-to book is both helpful and funny, which is a nice combination when the topic is grout and toilets.

I recommend this book for anyone who’s looking for some easy shortcuts in their daily cleaning routine and/or have no idea what they’re doing.

Click here for the full tour


What’s your #1 cleaning tip?



Allison Hiltz
Allison is a voracious reader, Law & Order aficionado, serial napper, shark conservationist, and crazy coffee drinker. She is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Public Policy and lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two rescue dogs. She can be contacted at allison(at)thebookwheelblog(dot)com.
Allison Hiltz

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  • http://thebookmusings.com/ Melinda @ The Book Musings

    Because I don’t like the activity, I probably won’t like the book :)

    • The Book Wheel


  • http://www.LoveAtFirstBook.com/ Love at First Book

    A whole book on cleaning? Sounds like one I’ll skip. But it does sound like it would be a good go-to guide if it’s written in a format where you can do that.

    • The Book Wheel

      It is. I didn’t read it in one sitting, I used it more as a reference book but mostly read through it in order. It’s definitely not a novel.

  • HeatherTLC

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  • Pingback: Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag, on tour March/April 2014 | TLC Book Tours()

  • http://fromisi.wordpress.com/ Isi

    Hi Allison!
    My only tip for cleaning is this: clean while you listen to an audiobook. That way you don’t suffer that much because you are doing something you like and something you don’t at the same time, not only something you don’t like 😀
    I have no more tips so, as you can imagine, this book might be helpful in my case!

  • http://booksspeakvolumes.com/ Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

    I don’t really like vodka (rum and whiskey are my liquors of choice), but cleaning your bathroom with it seems like such a waste!

    This sounds like a really useful book! I know a few people who are getting married this summer, so maybe I’ll tuck a copy in with their presents.

    • The Book Wheel

      It’s a good gift for a new home owner or a newly married couple, for sure. I’m a wine girl, so I don’t know that I’d ever even buy the vodka!