I’ve been reading and collecting books about homemaking ever since I was a new bride. Even after 34+ years of marriage I still enjoy reading about homemaking. I don’t always get around to putting it all into practice on a regular basis but I do love a good housekeeping book. Especially the old fashioned, out of print ones.
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Over the years I’ve bought a ridiculous number of books about keeping house and read many others from the library. I thought I’d share some of my favorites. These are ones I own and have read repeatedly.
- Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson – This is probably the best and most comprehensive of them all. It’s not the sort of book to sit down and read cover to cover but when you need to know how to remove a wine stain from a tablecloth or how to store fresh herbs, you’ll find the answer here.
- Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise by Pam Young and Peggy Jones – I actually read another book by these two sisters first, “The Happiness File”. I loved it so much I just had to read the book about how it all began. Pam and Peggy are hilarious and their story of how they went from being total slobs, albeit creative ones, to competent managers of their homes is rather inspiring.
- Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley – The FlyLady – These days everyone knows who The FlyLady is but back when I first discovered her she was just sending out a bunch of daily emails from Yahoo Groups. Actually, I think it was still e-Groups at that time. Did you know that her methods were inspired by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, the authors I mentioned above?
- Mrs. Dunwoody’s Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping by Miriam Lukken – I love this book. It’s a great mix of old-fashioned homemaking charm and practical, modern information.
- Keeping Up With Keeping House by Mary Kaltman – I found this at a library book sale many, many years ago. It was published in 1971 but feels like it could have been written even earlier. The author served as the Food Coordinator and Housekeeper for the White House for four years. Her advice about home management is excellent.
- How to Have All the Time You Need Every Day by Pat King – My little paperback copy of this was used when I bought it and is even more “used” now. I have no idea how many times I’ve read it. The author, a mother of TEN children, packs so much wisdom and practical advice into this small book.
- Totally Organized the Bonnie McCullough Way by Bonne McCullough – If I had to pick just one homemaking book which has been the most helpful to me over the years, this would be it. The author’s daily routine which she refers to as “Minimum Maintenance” is worth the price of the book alone.
After I started writing this I thought it would be fun to search for some new homemaking books to share (and add to my Amazon.com wishlist!). I came up empty-handed. I didn’t find a single book that I really, truly want to read. Either they are very, very basic and geared toward the inexperienced homemaker or they are written from a rather heavy-handed religious viewpoint. I’m a Christian myself but I don’t think every aspect of keeping house needs a biblical parable or accompanying Bible verse. I’m certainly not opposed to Christian references. “How to Have All the Time You Need Every Day” was written by a Catholic woman and there are plenty of references to this within the book. However, the wisdom and practical advice she shares make it a true gem and I think non-Christians would find plenty of value in what she writes.
If you have any book suggestions please leave me a comment. I haven’t had a new homemaking book in ages and would love to have one to curl up with on a chilly afternoon this winter.
P.S. I’m writing this Tuesday afternoon and just this minute found out that today, November 3rd, is National Housewife’s Day. National Sandwich Day was all over Facebook yet I’ve only seen one reference to National Housewife’s Day (and that was by my daughter). That says it all, doesn’t it? Oh, well. We know the value of homemakers, right?