I love homemaking! For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved “playing house”. I was the neighborhood kid who’d build a fort in the backyard, then draw lines on the ground to denote the various rooms inside, placing my Easy Bake oven in the kitchen and my doll’s cradle in the bedroom. I was the one at Girl Scout camp who’d sweep the dirt in front of her tent so it looked pretty, then create a walkway by neatly arranging rocks. I was the college freshman who, armed with cans of paint and a glue gun, decorated her wood and cinder block bookshelves with a nice scalloped edge of wrapping paper to match the paint.
Yeah, I’m a bit obsessive about this stuff.
I’m a self-taught housewife.
It’s entirely possible that my interest in homemaking arose because I was raised by a busy, single working mom in an era when most mothers didn’t work outside of the house. She worked during the day and went to college at night, and by doing so taught me an incredible work ethic along with the unshakeable belief that I could accomplish anything I set my sights on. But someone had to clean house and get meals on the table, and those tasks fell largely to me from a very early age. Which is not to say that my mom didn’t take care of the house, too; on the contrary, she’d get right in there and show me the best and most inventive ways to do a tasks, and help me until I’d learned to do it almost as well as her. Even back then, I liked doing the housework. She, however, did not.
I’ve had lots of practice.
Flash forward a couple of decades and, as a young bride of a military man, I finally had my own house to care for. It was a lot more work than the small condo my mother and I had lived in, and at times it felt overwhelming. I was working full-time, too, having graduated from law school, so it was important to me to learn the fastest, easiest ways to keep a clean house and make a nice meal. I used the study habits I’d learned in law school to read up on housekeeping, homemaking, laundering and cooking. Meanwhile, I taught my daughter the things I was learning, and showing her how to do them just as my mom had shown me.
Since my husband’s military career required us to relocate every few years, it was clear that my law practice had to take a backseat. At first, I wasn’t happy about that, but by the time our son was born I knew I needed to become a stay-at-home mom and full-time housewife. The rest, as they say, is history: I’ve spent the years since “playing house” full time and I love it! (Most days.)
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Where do I get my material?
Like many housewives, I’ve amassed a collection of scraps of paper, pages torn from magazines, index cards and other notes with all sorts of household tips. They’ve largely resided in boxes and binders in my kitchen cupboard, which means at times that I’ve had to rifle through them like a madwoman in search of that note about removing ink stains or that tip on making dried beans cook up creamy. Meanwhile, my daughter grew up and moved out on her own, so I turned her old bedroom into my home office. It wasn’t long before my boxes and binders — along with my growing collection of vintage books and magazines on homemaking — began taking it over.
So I got digital, transferring notes to the computer as I used them, or as my daughter called up needing advice on how to handle her latest domestic emergency. Going digital, of course, made things more searchable but still less convenient than I’d like. Then came the day when, having been blogging elsewhere for years, it dawned on me: why not start a blog about this stuff?
And thus, HousewifeHowTos.com was born!
So, are you a Martha Stewart-wannabe with an immaculate, perfectly-decorated home?
Oh, heck no. First off, Martha has a huge staff to execute her To Do lists, polish her silver, brush her dogs and weave baskets from their hair. I just have me, although my husband and son are pretty good about helping out around the house when I ask. And, yes, fifteen or so years ago my house was immaculate and freshly decorated. Then life happened and, you know what? It’s a lot more comfortable to live in a home where you can actually live in your home instead of feeling like you’re walking around a Museum of Housewifery.
All of which is to say that, yes, my house is mostly clean thanks to the housekeeping routines I’ve developed over the years. But sometimes — when I get busy gardening in the summer or there’s a marathon of my favorite reruns on TV — I let it slide. When you’ve got a firm grasp on how to clean house, get organized, do the laundry and whip up a family meal in a hurry, it’s perfectly okay to let things slide because you know how to get back on track again.
That’s what this site is for: to help those struggling to learn how to get their house clean, those looking for ways to streamline their existing routines, and those who — like me — just love this kind of stuff.