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The companion to Smart Housekeeping!

Smart Housekeeping
Around the Year

An Almanac of Cleaning, Organizing, Decluttering, Furnishing, Maintaining, and Managing Your Home, With Tips for Every Month and Season

Book cover graphic

By Anne L. Watson

In this expansive companion to Smart Housekeeping, Anne L. Watson presents tips on cleaning, organizing, decluttering, furnishing, maintaining, and managing your home, as you’d face those tasks around the year. Travel with Anne through the calendar as she deals with every aspect of keeping the things around you just the way you want them. New homemakers will gain skills and perspective, while even veterans will find unique tips and insights. All delivered with a wit and frankness not seen in housekeeping books since the days of Peg Bracken.

Anne’s almanac also features the return of her photogenic family of felted mice. After their brief introduction in Smart Housekeeping, Lady Mouse and the rest now return, joined by even more critters, to help Anne illustrate many of her tips and add a touch of whimsy for readers’ delight.

Anne L. Watson is the author of several soapmaking manuals, a cookie cookbook, a book on “living apart together,” and many literary novels. She is also retired from a long and honored career as a historic preservation architecture consultant. Anne and her husband, Aaron Shepard, live in Friday Harbor, Washington.

Shepard Publications

Ebook ~ 2017

Audiobook ~ 2022
(Google Play and Kobo only)

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Book cover: Smart Housekeeping Around the Year


A New Start



First Impressions



Living Rooms

Home Systems


Thoughts about Clutter: Why Keep Things?


The Mice Step Out! January Fun


Dining Rooms

Dining Room Design and Use

Dining Room Arrangement

Dining Tables

Dining Chairs


Serving Carts





Centerpieces and Candles


Housekeeping Talk

Thoughts about Clutter: Instant Housekeeping

The Mice Step Out! Valentines and Puppets


A Place to Rest?

Shopping for Bedding

Bed Frames

Buying a New Mattress

Mattress Types

Mattress Care




Comforters and Featherbeds

Bedside Tables

Chests of Drawers

Household Management

Thoughts about Clutter: Selling and Donating

The Mice Step Out! A Visit from the Grandmice


Outdoor Housekeeping with the Seasons




Outdoor Furniture




Ladder Safety

Thoughts about Clutter: Safe and Sound Disposal

The Mice Step Out! The Children's Birthdays


Work Rooms

Craft Rooms

Home Office Furnishings and Design

Home Office Organization Books

Papers and Filing

Caring for Furniture

Thoughts about Clutter: "Pull Dates"

The Mice Step Out! The Mouse Public Library


Kids' Rooms and Playrooms

Toy Storage Solutions

Just Shut the Door?

Housekeeping with Pets

Training Pets

Pets' Belongings

Keeping Your Pet Healthy

Pet "Accidents"

Cleaning Floors

Flooring Materials

Floor Care Tools

Thoughts about Clutter: School Clutter

The Mice Step Out! A Trip to the Farmers' Market



Bathroom Design and Organization

Cleaning Bathrooms

Bathroom Ventilation

Towel Bars


Interior Painting

Thoughts about Clutter: Bathroom Clutter

The Mice Step Out! Going to the Lighthouse


Laundry Day


Collecting and Storing Laundry




Laundry Room Tips

Summer Laundry

Care of Laundry Machines

Safe and Healthy Housekeeping

Thoughts about Clutter: Why Is Clutter?

The Mice Step Out! Summer's End



Built-In Storage

Storage Furniture

Basements, Attics, and Garages

Yard Sales

Storage for Others

Storage Tools

Special Storage Problems

Special Storage Needs

Cleaning and Cleaners

Cleaners, Natural and Otherwise

Handheld Cleaning Tools

Thoughts about Clutter: Storage and Clutter

The Mice Step Out! Apple Picking


Guest Rooms

Setting Up a Guest Room

Preparing for Guests

What to Provide Guests

Information for Guests

Childproofing for Visitors

Holidays and Occasions

Storing Holiday Items

Mistakes to Avoid with Gifts to Kids

Thoughts about Clutter: Holidays and Clutter

The Mice Step out! The Mice's Halloween Celebration


Work Zones and the "Kitchen Triangle"

Countertop Housekeeping

Countertop Materials

Kitchen Tables



Garbage Disposals and Garbage Cans

Major Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen Tips

A Few Recipes

Easy Handcrafted Gifts

Thoughts about Clutter: Countertop Clutter

The Mice Step Out! Storytelling


Kitchen Storage

Kitchen Storage Units

Small Appliances


Smart Marketing

Thoughts about Clutter: Clutter in the Cabinets

The Mice Step Out! The Mice's Holiday

Sample Text

Housekeeping has gotten a bad rap. Somehow, the subject has shrunk to discussions of clutter control and cleaning, a bit like when your mom told you to pick up your room.

But that’s the dull part. Necessary, of course—I wrote a book, Smart Housekeeping, that’s mostly about getting to a state of order. But housekeeping is no more about clutter control than gardening is about weeding. Yes, you have to do some of both—but why stop short of the interesting stuff?

Housekeeping is making yourself comfortable in your home, whatever that takes. A lot of housekeeping is about what you do, and why you do it, after you’ve taken care of the obvious chores. How do you set up a guest room? Unclog a sink? Keep garbage odors out of the kitchen? Arrange toy storage so that the kids will use it on their own? What’s the best way to wash a family quilt? To be safe on a ladder? To choose appliances?

Housekeeping isn’t just housework—it’s setting the stage for your whole life at home—which includes play, enjoyment, and creativity.

This book is arranged as an almanac because the more skilled housekeeping tasks tend to follow the calendar. We do what we need to for seasonal celebrations, and we try to get the weather on our side when we paint a room, air dry a comforter or get the carpets steam cleaned. Other tasks and concerns are less linked to the seasons, but also don’t need to be revisited often, once you’ve arranged things to please yourself. So considering them on an annual basis is probably about right. You may want to use this book as much as a reference as a read-through, especially if your seasons are different from mine, or even nonexistent.

Smart Housekeeping featured felted white mice, at least on the cover. As mice will do, they have now taken over the house, and are shown throughout this book, doing their chores, handling household crises, and entertaining other small animals. And they “step out” each month, enjoying adventures together and just having fun.

I recommend that for all of us.

Anne’s Housekeeping Books

Book cover: Smart Housekeeping Book cover: Smart Housekeeping Around the Year

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