Housekeeping refers to the management of duties and chores involved in the running of a household, such as cleaning, cooking, home maintenance, shopping, laundry and bill pay. These tasks may be performed by any of the household members, or by other persons hired to perform these tasks. (Wikipedia)
Housekeeping involves cleaning, cooking, home maintenance, shopping, laundry and bill paying (or budgeting). These tasks are all skills. Housekeeping is a combination of various skills and so housekeeping is a skill.
Housekeeping is natural to some people
We all know people who have magazine perfect homes. I’ll name this person Betty. You don’t seem to notice Betty tidying and cleaning, but her home always looks perfect. Betty walks into a room and if there is an item out of place she will pick it up and put it away. The Betty’s of this world clean-up without even thinking about it!
Housekeeping is not natural to all people
These are the people who have homes covered in magazines. I’ll name this person Jane. For Jane, housekeeping is an uphill battle. It is a constant struggle in which she is fighting against her inner person. Jane is forcing herself to take notice of the mess in front of her and forcing herself to do something about it.
Jane gets side-tracked. She will pick up an item of clothing to put it in the wash-basket. As she picks it up, she finds one of her child’s toys underneath. Jane picks up the toy and returns it to the child’s room. The bed is unmade, so Jane puts down the toy and starts making the bed. One of the bottles is in the bed. Jane picks up the bottle to return it to the kitchen. The sink is full of dishes, so she starts washing them. 12 pm arrives and Jane starts making lunch. 2 pm and she has not started the laundry yet. Wait, Jane started collecting clothes for the laundry at 9 am, “what happened to my morning?” asks Jane.
Does that sound familiar?
Housekeeping overwhelms a person it is not natural to. Jane looks at a messy room and doesn’t know where to start so she doesn’t do anything.
Then there are people that are completely blind to the dirt. These don’t notice a spider web in the corner table until their house becomes the set of the Addams Family.
There is good news…
You can learn housekeeping
You cannot be a perfect housekeeper
I say that my goal is to master housekeeping, but mastery is not perfection. There will always be a way that you can improve yourself. Think of our favorite artists, none of them feel that they have reached perfection. Every one of them feels there is an artist that is better than themselves.
The trick to housekeeping is to not beat yourself up about not being perfect. All you have to do is try to be a little better at it today than you were yesterday. If you are able to do that then you are on your way to being a great housekeeper.
Why is housekeeping a lost skill?
Housekeeping in the past…
In era’s gone by, a good housekeeper was a key element in a wealthy household. When a household was not wealthy enough to have a housekeeper, the wife had to fill in. Being a good housekeeper was a sought after characteristic in a wife.
The Charles Dicken’s character (and book) David Copperfield is an example of this. David loved Dora with all his heart, but he never felt at home in their house. Dora was a terrible housekeeper.
After Dora passed away, he married a long-time friend, Agnes. While he was never infatuated with Agnes, he admired her housekeeping skills. He felt at ease with her and loved her in a more mature way.
In today’s world, the majority of women have careers outside the home. It is normal to encourage girls to take on male careers that do not need too much muscle power. These careers include academics, sciences, medicine, law, technology, managerial roles and so on. All these careers need long working hours.
It is wonderful that a woman isn’t limited to the traditional female roles. But, equal emphasis is not placed on training men to build housekeeping and child care skills.
People do not learn the necessary housekeeping skills. Why? Because they are building career skills instead.
Why is housekeeping important in the modern world?
Discovering the lost skill of housekeeping
Spoiler alert: I am NOT a perfect housekeeper. I am NOT a master housekeeper yet. Housekeeping is not a natural skill of mine. I am able to cook and budget, but I do not have the other skills. Handling children is also not a natural skill of mine. I have learned to handle children out of necessity (I have a baby and a toddler).
My house will never be perfect, but this is a practice. I will practice this skill until I have mastered it.
This is the start of my public journey to master the skill of housekeeping.