Friday, July 29, 2016

The Art of Homemaking

At some point during the last 3 years, I've found myself drawn to more domestic activities. I've taught myself to crochet, started a garden (with the help of my wonderful husband and father-in-law) and have spent many hours "reading/studying" the art of keeping house. Typically I've done this through blogs (especially the Like Mother Like Daughter blog) but also through a few books I've picked up along the way. I started with Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook, but it was massive and often felt like I was reading reference material. I found myself using it whenever I needed to tackle a job around the house, and wanted to know how to do it. Shortly after that, I found Cheryl Mendelson's "Home Comforts" which rivaled Martha Stewart's handbook in size and scope, but really delved into the history of homemaking, and focused not only on cleaning, but the overall management of the home. I read almost all of it, and it really is a lovely book. The thing I found most useful, I think, was the concept of there being an order to cleaning. Top to Bottom, Wet to Dry, Inside to Outside. For example, if you were going to clean your entire home in one day, you would start with the upstairs (top) bathrooms (wet) before moving on to the bedrooms upstairs. You would clean the inside of the home before moving outdoors to sweep off your porch. Perhaps other folks have a different methodology, but it helped to have any methodology at all, rather than flitting about from room to room getting 20 things a 10th of the way finished, rather than completely finishing one room. I also really appreciated the more secular feeling of this book. I'm not a super religious person, and don't even attend church (not that I would mind going if I found the right place) but it was nice to read a book on homemaking from a non-religious perspective.

That was all that I had for awhile in regards to homekeeping literature. I'd still periodically look for new blogs that addressed the subject matter, and I even found a few you tube channels that focused on the more intricate details of cleaning - not just "clean your bathroom on Saturdays" but "this is how you actually scrub a toilet." What I found slightly disheartening in a lot of these video's, however, is that they seemed to be vloggers that were getting paid to endorse particular products, and I longed for more simplicity and not a closet full of cleaning chemicals. Then, not too long ago I found an E-book called "The Lost Art of House Cleaning" by Jan Dougherty. THIS book is a hidden gem in a land of self published ebooks. Jan runs a home cleaning business, and she has a finely tuned process for getting a home clean enough to eat off the floor. Her list of products is short, and even more importantly, her list of recommended tools include everyday easy to find and use products that are affordable! Jan introduced me to Krud Kutter, and for that I am forever in her debt.

Even though I had a lot of information at my disposal by this point, I still felt like I was missing something. I often lamented that my own mother (who cleaned houses for a living, ironically) had never instilled in me not only the "how to" but the "why I should" of running a home. It is a long story for another blog post, but my mother was a feminist and when we discuss things like child rearing and family life in my early adult years, she encouraged me to keep my family small and focus on my career. I'm grateful that I wasn't overly concerned with my mother's approval in this arena!

Finally, I stumbled on another blogger that recommended a book called "The Ultimate Career" by Daryl Hoole (a lovely LDS woman). This book was actually a modern rewriting of the book she had written in 1962 called "The Art of Homemaking." In the 2005 version, she says that she was updating the original version to make it applicable for today, but i ended up purchasing the 1962 version, and it is now hands down my favorite homekeeping book of all! To me, the 2005 version seems like it moved from a "take care of your house and family because you should and this is why and this is HOW" to more of a religious text with little bits and pieces thrown in about tools and cleaning, and a lot focused on raising children. Yes, I believe that is important, but I feel like the book should have basically been a reprint of the 62 version with the extra stuff from the 2005 version added.

Anyway, I've absolutely devoured the 1962 version of "The Art Of Homemaking" and I have determined that I would really like to begin implementing all that I have learned in the art of managing a home, and I thought it would be even more fun to blog about it and bring current (and future) readers along for the ride. I know it isn't fashionable to be interested in these archaic concepts of home management, child rearing and other domestic arts - but maybe it will be again someday, in which case I'll be ahead of the curve for once!

So, more blog posts to come about this subject matter - it feels exciting to tackle this and share what I've learned with the blogosphere.

No comments:

Post a Comment