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.