Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Finding my inner housekeeper
After a few weeks of anticipation, my interlibrary loan finally came in: Home Comforts, by Cheryl Mendelson. At one and a half inches thick, this book tells you just about everything you could ever want to know about running a household. From laundry to insurance, from grand pianos to fine crystal, Cheryl Mendelson has assembled an amazing resource written in a delightfully personal style.
I have only gotten 56 pages into the book so far, since I am interested in most of the topics addressed! But already I have found it helpful. Before I cleaned the house with my sister yesterday morning, I read the chapter on "Vacuuming, Sweeping, and Dusting." Realizing that I had some extra flannel in the sewing room, I serged up some tidy little squares to mist with water for dusting. I folded them into quarters so that as soon as one surface of the cloth got dirty, I could fold it to reveal a clean surface. They worked wonderfully, and are certainly much more thorough than the Swiffers we have been using. I'm ready to cut out even more now!
However, this book has much more than oodles of good housekeeping tips. More importantly, the philosophy of homemaking that is presented is satisfying and encouraging. I've never liked the books that try to tell you how to clean your home as quickly as possible -- perhaps because they only reinforce the idea that housecleaning is a drudgery that should be gotten out of the way. Instead, Home Comforts presents the idea that our homes are havens for our families, and taking good care of our homes is really a labor of love for the ones that we love -- and that labor can be fulfilling if we do it well. Amazingly, I didn't find myself wondering how quickly I could get done. I actually enjoyed seeing the results of my work (especially with the new techniques I learned!).
Perhaps the very fact that I have done an entire blog post on cleaning is evidence in itself of how much I like this book!