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


EDGMONT — Few people use the word “housework” in the same sentence as words like “happiness,” “laughter” or “smiles.” Colleen Ciavola, of Edgmont, is one of those select few and she is on a mission to change housework’s bad rap and transform most people’s negative way of thinking about it.

“Housework is not a dirty word, nor does talking about it need to be as dry as dust,” shared new author Ciavola in a recent interview.

“Dancing with Housework,” published through Amazon and a quick read at 46 pages, is a humorous and motivational guide to revamping people’s thinking to enjoy, not only doing the tasks needed to have a clean home, but also to revel in the sparkling results. The book also offers motivational tips and a cleaning plan that can be customized to each individual reader’s time and priorities.

“The book is intended to be easy to read and entertaining, and to offer helpful ways to get cleaning done as well as put a smile on the cleaner’s face or a laugh in their mouth,” Ciavola stated.

Author Colleen Ciavola demonstrates the joy she derives from using a set-up, intentional cleaning plan to accomplish her housework each week. She shares her motivational tips in a new book, “Dancing With Housework.” (PEG DEGRASSA / MediaNews Group)

“Dancing With Housework”  is organized into three parts. First, Ciavola describes her own childhood experience with housecleaning and the messages implanted. The second part covers psychological principles, applied to housework, such as acceptance and mindfulness, as well as motivation. Thirdly, “Dancing With Housework” provides what Ciavola terms “the book’s nitty gritty,” an organizational scheme of planning and structure that can be employed to make housework what each individual wants it to be.

Ciavola was born and raised in Somerset County, Pa. She attended University of Pittsburgh where she earned a degree in physical therapy, before beginning launching an early career as a physical therapist. After marrying and having two children, Ciavola enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, until she hit her 50s when she returned to school. Ciavola earned a master’s degree in professional counseling/psychology from Immaculata University.

Ciavola used her counseling skills and knowledge, going to work at 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 husband Michael, who is also retired from a long career as a teacher in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. The couple has two children, Valerie Ciavola of Media, and Suzanne Newman of Bethel Township.

Through her years of counseling, Ciavola couldn’t help but notice the high percentage of people who dread housework and came to recognize her own psychological motivation toward the task. With a background of psychology and counseling, and also a side gig as a standup comic, she decided to share what she knows, with the hope of motivating others through her lighthearted guide.
“I wanted to help other people organize their tasks and use psychological motivators to help them to think differently about housework,” the author shared.

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

“My Mother was a sweet person, who provided us with a home of love and kindness, but housekeeping was just never a priority,” Ciavola remembers. “My mom sat around and watched soap operas all day long. I remember the frustration of my father when he couldn’t find a bill or important paper because of the mess in our house. We lived in disorganized chaos!”

As an adult, Ciavola responded to her upbringing by going into direct opposite mode. She mopped and dusted until her whole house shined. When she found out her in-laws were coming for a visit, Ciavola would spend days making sure there wasn’t a crumb or speck of dust to be found.

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

“My obsessive housecleaning made me very cranky,” Ciavola explained. “Perfection is not good in any area of life. It took me time, but I have finally reached a happy medium. I now have a more relaxed attitude toward my housework. My home is still very clean, but not 100 percent spotless.”

Ciavola says that she now cleans her home twice a week, spending a total of four hours to put away clutter and perform basic cleaning tasks like vacuuming, dusting, bathtubs, showers, floors and the kitchen area.

“Every person is different in how clean they want their home,” Ciavola stated. “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 judging if there are insects, cats licking off plates or dog poop on the floor. There’s absolutely no excuse to live in a filthy home that breeds disease.”

The author shares motivators and tips, like listening to favorite music, organizing cleaning supplies, self-talk, and giving yourself a small reward when each small task is complete. The prioritized and customized plan even includes room for “annual tasks,” like windows, basement and garage. The author adds a “bonus chapter” to the book about daily meal prep, making it more organized and efficient.

“Having a clean and organized house makes you feel good, saves a great deal of time looking for items and gives order to our lives,” Ciavola said. “My book has funny parts and useful parts. I combined my background in psychology and stand-up comedy in hope of helping others change their mindset about housework.”

For more information about “Dancing With Housework,” visit or email Ciavola at

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