Delco woman offers cleaning tips and motivation in new book ‘Dancing With Housework’ – Daily Local

EDGMONT – Few people use the word “housework” in the same sentence as words like “happiness,” “laugh,” or “smile.” Edgmont’s Colleen Ciavola is one of those chosen few and she’s made it her mission to change the bad reputation of housework and change the negative way most people think about it.

“Housework isn’t a dirty word, and talking about it doesn’t have to be bone dry,” new author Ciavola shared in a recent interview.

Published on Amazon and a quick read at 46 pages, Dancing with Housework is a humorous and motivational guide to reshaping people’s thinking so they enjoy not just doing the chores that make for a clean required at home, but also to enjoy the brilliant results. The book also offers motivational tips and a cleaning schedule that can be customized to suit each reader’s time and priorities.

“The book is intended to be easy to read, entertaining, and provide helpful ways to get the cleaning done and put a smile on the face or a laugh in the mouth of cleaners,” said Ciavola.

Author Colleen Ciavola demonstrates the joy she finds in using a set, intentional cleaning schedule each week to get her chores done. She shares her motivational tips in a new book called Dancing With Housework. (PEG DEGRASSA / MediaNews Group)

“Dancing with the housework” is divided into three parts. First, Ciavola describes her own childhood experience of cleaning the house and planting messages. The second part covers psychological principles applied to housework, such as acceptance and mindfulness, and motivation. Third, Dancing With Housework provides what Ciavola calls “the essence of the book,” an organizational planning and structuring scheme that can be used to organize housework the way each individual wants it.

Ciavola was born and raised in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a degree in physical therapy before beginning an early career as a physical therapist. After getting married and having two children, Ciavola enjoyed being a homemaker until she reached her 50s when she returned to school. Ciavola earned a master’s degree in professional counseling/psychology from Immaculata University.

Using her counseling skills and knowledge, Ciavola worked as a mental health counselor at Life Counseling in Paoli and Springfield Psychological in West Chester. Now retired, she babysits her only grandchild once a week and enjoys life with husband Michael, who is also retired after a long career teaching in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. The couple have two children, Valerie Ciavola from Media and Suzanne Newman from Bethel Township.

Through her years of counseling, Ciavola couldn’t help but notice the high percentage of people who fear housework and recognized her own psychological motivation for the task. With a background in psychology and counseling and a side job as a standup comic, she decided to share her knowledge in hopes of motivating 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 shared.

Ciavola said she started her own life as “an over-the-top, too-good housekeeper.” As a child, she and her older sister were too embarrassed to invite friends over to their house because their mother was such a bad housekeeper.

“My mother was a sweet person who gave us a loving and kind home, but housekeeping was just never a priority,” recalls Ciavola. “My mother sat around all day and watched soap operas. I remember my father’s frustration when he couldn’t find an invoice or important papers because of the clutter in our house. We lived in disorganized chaos!”

As an adult, Ciavola responded to her upbringing by shifting into direct opposite mode. She mopped and dusted until her whole house was sparkling. Whenever she found out her in-laws were coming to visit, Ciavola would spend days making sure not a crumb or speck of dust was to be found.

Gloves on, broom in hand, Colleen Ciavola is ready to tackle her chores.  The retired mental health consultant and stand-up comic shares tips and inspiration in her new book. "dancing with chores," available at  (PEG DEGRASSA/ MediaNews Group)
Gloves on, broom in hand, Colleen Ciavola is ready to tackle her chores. The retired mental health consultant and stand-up comic shares tips and inspiration in her new book, Dancing With Housework, available at (PEG DEGRASSA/ MediaNews Group)

“My obsessive house cleaning made me very moody,” Ciavola explained. “Perfection is not good in any area of ​​life. It took some time but I finally got a good middle ground. I now have a more relaxed attitude towards my housework. My home is still very clean, but not 100 percent spotless.”

Ciavola says she now cleans her home twice a week, spending a total of four hours clearing clutter and doing basic cleaning tasks like vacuuming, dusting, tubs, showers, floors and the kitchen area.

“Everyone is different in how clean they want their home to be,” Ciavola said. “I rarely judge other people. Everyone has their own personal preference as to how clean or unclean they can tolerate and live with. However, I draw the line and begin to judge if there are insects, cats licking off plates, or dog poop on the floor. There is absolutely no excuse for living in a filthy home that breeds disease.”

The author provides motivators and tips, such as listening to your favorite music, organizing cleaning supplies, talking to yourself, and giving a small reward when each small task is completed. The prioritized and tailored plan even includes space for “annual tasks” like windows, basement and garage. The author adds a “bonus chapter” on daily meal prep to the book, making it more organized and efficient.

“A clean and organized house makes you feel good, saves a lot of time searching, and brings order to our lives,” says Ciavola. “My book has fun 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 or email Ciavola at [email protected]/.

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