Housekeeping: Beginning the journey to housekeeping mastery


Housekeeping involves cooking and baking
What is housekeeping?  And why do I say it is a skill?  Wikipedia gives a perfect description of housekeeping::

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

A person can learn to play an instrument or paint, a person can learn to be a master in housekeeping.
It may take more practice for some than it does for others, but you can still learn the skill.  The less skilled you are in housekeeping, the smaller the baby steps that you will need to take.  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.

Housekeeping today…

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.

There are men that do their fair share (and more) in raising children and housekeeping. Being a stay-at-home dad is becoming more common. But, there is an underlying tone in our society that housekeeping and raising children is a job for women. Society feels that feminine personality is more suited to childcare and housekeeping. Society may be right.
Men I have spoken to admire women who can keep a well-maintained household. But, it is almost impossible to live on a single salary and keeping a similar standard of living as our parents.

People do not learn the necessary housekeeping skills. Why? Because they are building career skills instead.

Why is housekeeping important in the modern world?

Wherever you live, that place still needs to be clean and safe.
If you and your family are alive, you still need to eat healthy food.
We still need to make repairs on our living spaces and maintain them in other ways.
We still need to buy products.
Laundry never seems to end, we must still wash, dry and put away.
We are still responsible for paying our bills on time.
If we are not willing to do these things, we need to hire somebody to do it for us.
Housekeeping has never gone away. But, the skill seems to have disappeared.  To prove a point, how many schools do you know of that teach Home Economics?  I’m sure it is less than it was in the 1950s.

Discovering the lost skill of housekeeping

Housekeeping is a skill that is close to my heart.  My main goals in life were to own a house, get married and have children.  I would be lying if I said I had a career goal when I was younger.  For me, my career path didn’t matter as long as I enjoyed what I did and it allowed me to achieve the 3 goals above. It has.
I see the need for housekeeping in our modern world. I know that housekeeping is a skill which both men and women lack.
Like many women, I work 8 hours a day in my career.  I have children and I am married.  I also have a household that I need to care of.
Unlike many modern women, I am fortunate to have my mother living with us to help.

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.


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