I found a fascinating book, Simple Country Wisdom, by Susan Waggoner, when I was browsing at Joann's the other day. She starts off by expressing sorrow that somewhere around our mother's generation, women stopped learning how to take care of their houses. I can definitely identify. I don't know about you, but I kind of just expect my house to clean itself! (Hint: it doesn't actually work that way).
Susan teaches us, in a simple but not patronizing manner, how to care for our home. She covers everything from clutter control to how to get your laundry whites naturally brighter. It's all those little things that Grandma knew how to do, but that, for some reason, never got passed along.
She reminds us to infuse personality and joy into our houses, but also to keep them clean and uncluttered. This doesn't mean sterile, just un-dirty. A home should still feel lived in and like "you", but it also shouldn't embarrass you if someone stops by to visit unexpectedly.
She has a section on how to make your home welcoming to overnight guests, which I thought was pretty cool. She says to make sure they have a clean, comfortable, private room where they can unwind and relax. Set out some flowers and reading materials and let them have a little retreat away from home!
She also suggests setting up a clear desk space in the guest room for your visitors to lay their keys and purses. It's one of those little things that makes a room feel a little more inviting to someone who doesn't ordinarily live there.
There are all sorts of fun little tips and tricks in this book. For example, did you know that you can make your own room-freshening spray by mixing one cup of witch hazel (you can find it at the drug store) and a teaspoon or two of pure vanilla extract in a spray bottle?
Susan also talks about the "order of clean". In other words, when you clean a room, where should you start? (Hint: it's not the floor). She reminds us to dust (!) everything, including shelves, knick-knacks, and even door-jams! That's definitely not something I would've thought of.
Anyway, I'm about half-way through this book and am really enjoying it! In checking Amazon now, I'm realizing that I could've paid about a 1/4 of the price on there, but oh well. It was definitely worth buying nevertheless. I feel like it's my womanly duty to learn all this stuff! Now I just need a daughter to share it with. :)