Friday, February 24, 2012

I Hate to Housekeep: Part One in a Series for the Reluctant Homemaker

As we are about a month away from the equinox and the turning of the winter into spring, I thought it would be a good time to introduce you to the vintage wisdom of the sarcastic and smart Peg Bracken, author of The I Hate to Housekeep Book:  When and How to Keep House Without Losing Your Mind. 

Each year I welcome spring, and each year I could do without the dreaded Spring Cleaning that I feel compelled to do each year regardless of how much I hate it.  I figured that some of you probably feel the same way.   Let's stay sane together during the Big Clean-up.

There are three kinds of housekeepers.  There is the spotless housekeeper, who won't stop, and there is the spotful housekeeper, who won't start.  Then there is the occasional or random housekeeper, whose book this is.

Peg's books about cooking, household, and etiquette, written in the early 1960s, filled a empty niche and became runaway bestsellers.  Heloise and Emily Post have their place, but it was Peg who offered useful advice to women who were honest enough to admit that they had better things to do than be Housekeeper of the Year.  And her books were charmingly illustrated by the incredible Hilary Knight, whom you may recognize as the illustrator of the Eloise books.  I have three of them because I adore her snarky wit.

This book is not for the Betty Crocker types of the 1960s or the Martha Stewart-wannabes of our modern day.  Peg wrote this book for the women, as she described them, who set the automatic timer on the oven to start dinner -- and then forget to put the food in.   Women like me.

You never heard another woman say, "I simply adore Marcia, she's the most meticulous housekeeper!"
Before we delve any further into Peg's genius for housekeeping without tears, there is some very important advice for you and I to keep in mind:

 Act immediately on whatever housewifely impulses come your way.

As Peg states, "...forget the old cliche that anything worth doing is worth doing well.  This isn't true.  When you're going at a high lope, a fast swipe at the sink is a lot better than no swipe at all."

My thoughts exactly. If I'm in the mood to do a load of laundry I had better NOT ignore it, or we run out of clean underpants around here.

I will share more timeless advice next week.  In the meantime, stop polishing those copper pots and give your dust catchers tea cozies to charity.

1 comment:

  1. I love Peg Bracken!! (I did not realize her illustrator was the same who drew Eloise though.) I'm sort of amazed I do not have her books but I do have Phyllis Diller's book on Housewifery!


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