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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a Modern Mrs. Beeton, July 4, 2007
By Dana Kramer-Rolls (Richmond, CA USA) –
This review is from: Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home (Hardcover)
We have finally reached the stage where many of our mothers and even grandmothers were professional women, not homemakers passing their skills to their daughters (and maybe sons). The shadows of the Depression and WWII rationing are gone. We are a convenience society, using everything from prepackaged salad to throw away mops. This is not a Good Thing. But how many of us know the tricks of keeping a cozy, tidy house, without all those conveniences and products, and how to protect the things we own and love from wear and tear?
Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook is the answer, a wonderful encyclopedia of everything you need to know about keeping a house. Covering a wide range of topics, from how to remove stains to how to buy a sofa, this well illustrated volume offers clear instructions and suggestions for all aspects of home care. Well organized, there are sections for each room in the house, for cleaning and maintenance, and for home safety. Granted, there are parts that are a little “over the top” for most of us, for example, how to sort your children’s toys, compete with labeling. Good luck! But there are invaluable things, like how to iron that shirt (saving money on a professional cleaner, to boot), and how to fold those impossible fitted sheets into neat bundles. There are even sections on how to fix a lamp, unclog a sink, and start a compost heap. Some things are just touched on, flower arranging, for example, while others are fully treated, such as how to restore a metal lawn chair or what constitutes the basic equipment for a kitchen. And there are pages of resource materials. If you haven’t a clue what that stray funny-looking sterling fork you inherited was for, you will find your answer here.
What impressed me the most was that this was not an exercise in product placement. Wherever possible, natural, simple solutions were suggested, like using rubbing alcohol to remove ballpoint pen stains and using lemon juice and salt to clean your good copper pots.
Not everything in this book is for everybody. It is, after all, an encyclopedia. My tool shop is far more complete than Martha’s suggested basic tool set. My library is totally organized, but many parts of my home are an exercise in memory retention, and that is enough organization for me. And I didn’t need to be told how to set the dials on my washer and drying, but I’ll bet somebody who is on their own for the first time (some young man entering college, let’s say) needs this sort of information. On the other hand, laundry stains are my Nemesis, and I went staight to Martha for help. And I needed all the basic housecleaning help I could get. I think this book is wonderful, and I expect to make good use of it for years to come.
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110 of 118 people found the following review helpful
excellent, November 18, 2006
By Amazon Customer (VA USA) –
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
I’ve been waiting for years for Martha Stewart to write this book and I’m very pleased. It is expansive, tells you plainly what to do and what never to do and it has pictures (granted they are in black and white) rather than tiny artsy line drawings like the Home Comforts book. After reading Homekeeping I have finally discovered the easy way to clean my stove top and their is a noticeable difference in my kitchen. It was clean before but now I think it could pass a restaurant health inspection. I own other house keeping books but this one outclasses them all and I think it’s really all a person needs. Thanks Martha.
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Not for Flylady’s, November 17, 2009
By West Villager (New York, NY United States) –
This book is only for two kinds of people: those who care about the materials in their home and/or those who missed this part of the parent/child experience. If bleach, any all-purpose cleaner or just baking soda/vinegar are your steadfast weapons of choice for housework, this will be a waste of time. For everyone else this is a comprehensive manual about which products and methods to use to best clean, maintain and care for your home inside and out. There’s also advice about organization, decorating/room layout, pet care, preparing for a baby and even a thorough moving checklist. The level of detail could be considered overwhelming; it’s better to think of this book as an encyclopedia rather than a “10 steps” self-help kind. Though completely accessible, it’s really a home reference source — from the varied types of cloth used for washing and drying glasses and bed linen thread counts to the best way to mop wood, vinyl and stone and repairing a torn screen.
Near the beginning she says, a clean house doesn’t smell like cleaning products but fresh flowers, what’s for dinner or simply the absence of any odor. I realize Martha Stewart is an aspirational teacher but instead of just telling you how to clean a stainless steel sink, for example, she also explains why bleach is the worst choice. A home is one of the most significant financial investments we make and where we spend a good deal of time. It might as well look and feel the best it can for as long as it can.
When I renovated my home a few years back, I searched everywhere for information about how to maintain the flooring, appliances, windows, etc. Most sources centered on the quickest, the least expensive or the easiest. This book centers on pride first while still offering efficient, cost-effective choices.
I may not always wash a dish from the center outward like Martha and my mother, but I’ll never struggle with a fitted sheet again.
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