Homemaking may not be the first thing you think of when considering French culture. Food, fashion, wine, lifestyle? Yes. But let’s dig in and see what we can learn about homemaking French style.
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It’s easy to find lots of information about French fashion. Food and wine, also. But how do the French keep house? How does the French culture influence life in the home? These topics aren’t written about nearly as much.
I did some research and here is some of what I found:
- They aren’t as into scented cleaners and believe a clean house shouldn’t smell of anything. I grew up with a mom who loved Pine-Sol and for me, that scent will always smell like a clean house to me.
- They clean in moderation. Keeping up on a daily basis rather than major cleaning sprees.
- They do their cleaning in the morning. Then they can enjoy a clean house all day.
- They don’t think of cleaning as a chore but simply as part of what it takes to have a beautiful environment. The French phrase for “cleaning your house” is faire le ménage which means “to make the household”.
Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory.
According to a survey by The Independent, the French do less housework than any other nation – less than 16 hours a week. They maintain tidy homes by doing a little at a time, often, so things don’t pile up, not worrying as much about disinfecting everything, and cutting out the clutter that can make a home look messy.
This article highlights half a dozen tips from the book, Home Sweet Maison by Danielle Postel-Vinay. I read this book and found it really enjoyable. I also reviewed it chapter by chapter in my Facebook group, French Chic which you are welcome to join.
The French have smaller wardrobes but often of higher quality pieces. Perhaps that is why they take such pains with their laundry. Careful stain removal, air drying, meticulous ironing…clothing looks better and lasts longer when well cared for.
These products aren’t available in the United States (or at least I couldn’t find them) so this is more for curiosity than any real help.
This is what author Tish Jett has to say about French homemaking:
When it comes to French homemaking, I see it as a combination of three elements: art, science and tradition. Cooking, entertaining and decorating are the art. Science comes in with the cleaning, maintaining, and organizing of the home. Finally, tradition is that very special ingredient each family brings to the whole by adding its unique mix of culture, heritage and customs. When all those components are in harmony, households run smoothly and pleasantly while providing a restorative retreat for all within. The homemaking chapter looks at everything from linen closets and a well-stocked larder to decorating and cleaning tips.
If you’d like to delve a bit deeper into this topic, here are a few books I found that you might enjoy: