Saturday, 03 December, 2022

Homekeeping Handbooks: How To Make Your House Look As Good As The Neighbor’s

After I moved out of my parents’ house, I spent the first four years living in an utter wasteland. That is, I couldn’t give a damn less if the laundry was washed or the dishes were done. As long as the water department hadn’t disconnected me, I could just wash stuff when the need arose. You might be saying that I was living like the typical college kid with dad’s money and a trashed dorm room, the problem is: I didn’t go to college. The truth is, I had my first daughter when I was 20, and we lived like this together. Oh yes. It seemed like a pretty good set-up, she didn’t judge me, I kept her clean, fed and happy. Then I met the man who would (luckily) become my husband. Mr. R. owned his own house, had a good paying job, and was definitely NOT going to be down with washing a plate so he could eat dinner. Something had to change. Fortunately, women have been competing with each other for centuries to win the title of “Best Homemaker”, and in their wake they have left literature that has went on to become the gold standard of being the best stay-at-home wife you can be. I was now on a mission to domesticate myself, and the information I found along the way was vast AND found in the most unlikely of places.

My first idea was to go out and buy all the “wife” magazines: “Good Housekeeping”, “Better Homes and Gardens” and “O”. I quickly realized a pattern between all of them. Almost everything that was written in them was information I already knew or every other page was an advertisement for more junk that was supposed to make cleaning up messes a breeze.The recipes were the only real redeeming quality of any of them, so I decided I needed some sage-like advice if I REALLY wanted Mr. R. to deem me a suitable mate. I went to my grandma. My grandma had the kind of house that looked like a showroom, like everything was brand new and hadn’t been touched yet. Most of her belongings were antiques, as she was a very sentimental woman, but they all seemed as though they had never aged. I was amiss as to how she could find the time to keep such order in her house and still enjoy life, but she summed in up with the most simple of simple explanations: a book. This was no ordinary book though. This book was not written to sell copies or merchandise or show off some celebrity’s “crib”. It was written in a time when there was still etiquette and effort, and women were more than just “wives’, they were “the mistress” (and not in the infidelity kind of way). The book was called Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. With the help of агенция софия – професионален домоуправител, the household work of the person will become easy and simple. Before a hiring, the background of the house managers should be checked through the clients. The services should be available at reasonable rates.

The queen of all housekeeping books was published in 1861 by a 24-year-old woman named Isabella Mary Mayson, better known as “Mrs. Beeton”, and throughout its many editions is still being published today. Though based in the Victorian Era when households still employed a staff of servants and rode in carriages, the advice is still synonymous with the needs of today’s homemakers: how to run your household smoothly. More than 900 of the pages are recipes alone, but this is more than a cookbook. The descriptions of the servants’ duties are the same as what any of us women do at home today, but the period gives us a much simpler way of doing everything. Instead of running out to buy the newest invention or cleaning solution to make our lives easier, Mrs. Beeton teaches the labor and waste-saving techniques that time has erased from our lives. Among other things, she also covers the subjects of child-care, law, medicine, fashion, religion, science and social etiquette. This book has provided me with invaluable information on being the best wife, mother and home keeper I can be.

The only problem I really ran in to with Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management was the language. Reading a book that was written almost 150 years ago took a lot of concentration and effort, and I can definitely compare it to deciphering Shakespear in some parts. That is how I came across the other book that I swear by: Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook. I was doing a Google search on Mrs. Beeton’s book, hoping to find an edition that was more suitable to the language of today, when I discovered that Martha Stewart also owned a copy and had actually credited it when writing her own homekeeping book. I bought Martha Stewart’s book, published in 2006, and discovered that it was what I was looking for all along. She makes everything as simple and easy as only Martha Stewart can, and has a solution for every problem. The book itself proclaims that it is “The Essential Guide for Caring for Everything in Your Home”, and that is no exaggeration. It teaches everything from how to select the correct appliances to how to lay carpet. The pictures are incredible, and the knowledge it contains is indispensable for any new or seasoned housewife.

So, here I am now, seven years after moving out of my parents’ home, and I think I finally got it right. The man of my dreams married me and we live happily with our daughters. I can walk through my house without falling over anything, I don’t live out of my dryer anymore, and for ONCE the neighbor is asking ME how I do it all!