Read: 21 March, 2013
“Slovenly” would be a very kind word to use for my housekeeping skills, particularly when I first moved out from under my parents’ feather duster. I got a lot better when my son was born and I was on maternity leave – not only because I had a lot more time on my hands, but also because I had an added incentive not to let yummy edible dust bunnies accumulate. Still, though, there were/are a lot of gaps in my knowledge about how to properly take care of a home.
So I took to one of my parent groups and asked if anyone could recommend a good “quick and dirty” beginners’ guide.
I’d tried to flip through a few housekeeping books in the past, but they all assumed a level of proficiency that I just didn’t have. They would skip over the basics, or they’d just go into so much detail that I felt overwhelmed.
The first response in my request was that I should pick up How Clean Is Your House? A few people offered practical advice of their own but, mostly, everyone agreed that I should pick up Woodburn and MacKenzie’s book.
Unfortunately, it seems to be out of print, at least in Canada. But I did find a really cheap copy on Amazon’s “New & Used” section.
And it’s exactly what I needed.
I think that it would be far too simplistic for someone who has already been caring for their home for a while, since they really do only cover the very basics. In fact, the amount of text in the book is quite limited – most of the page space being taken up by photos of Woodburn and MacKenzie wearing rather ostentatious rubber gloves and posing as they look in disgust at something off-screen, or close-up photos of cleaning implements or objects in need of cleaning.
If I’d paid more than $10 for the book, that might upset me. But considering that I paid less than $4 including shipping, it’s not a big deal. And, in fact, the focus on only the most vital information was precisely what I had asked for.
The book is divided into sections for each room in the house, plus a bit about “getting started” and a special section for all the lovely messes pets make. Some sections have a little information about how to deal with the big accidents, but the focus is mainly on what to do for normal day-to-day maintenance (plus a bit in the “getting started” about what to do when conquering a house that hasn’t been cared for in a long time).
Perhaps the most useful part of the book is the section where they break down a daily, weekly, and monthly routines, plus a checklist of those special “once a year” type of chores. This was perhaps the most helpful section for me in the entire book.
I think that this book would make a fantastic gift for someone about to strike out on their own for the very first time. I wish someone would have given it to me so I wouldn’t have spent all of five years wallowing in my own filth!
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