Art of Homemaking
Everything you need to know to run your home with ease and style
Prior to the magic of the Internet, homemaking reference books were pretty standard in every household. I even got one along with my basic Betty Crocker cookbook when I got married back in the early 1980s. Even though there are a disproportionate number of pages devoted to laundry, I am going to give the author props for acknowledging that one can drop their standards on housekeeping perfection.
I also got a kick out of the inside flap that reminds the ladies that regardless of your “liberated” status, you will have to keep house on some level. It also recognizes that even MEN (gasp!) might have to do some housework. Not everyone will be able to afford a maid, so you might need these skills!
This book is a bit better than most by suggesting that women dial back the perfection goals and that shiny floors are not the end all be all. It still does spend a disproportionate amount of pages on ironing and laundry, but unlike similar books of the period, they include basic electrical and plumbing repairs and some other chores that aren’t often associated with “women’s work.”
Submitter: The cover of this book was dirty, real dirty. It’s what caught my eye on the shelf. Reading through it, you can see how out of date the data is. Some of the costs are way off of from today. How useful is that? I wish my vacuum would last 18 years, as this book suggests. My Dyson died after just 6.
Holly: The topics listed on the bottom of the cover are a dead giveaway on how out of date the info will be. Property taxes and mortgage payments, utility bills, telephone charges…all are important for homeowners to know about, and all are very dependent on current data for accuracy.
Submitter: I work at a small high school in Ontario, Canada (approx 120 students) and they have not had a proper library since the school opened in 2000. I have been continuously weeding the collection in order to have a functional library and I found this book about living off the land from 1934! While it is really neat to handle a book 80 years old, it really has no use in a small high school library and is incredibly outdated (this book regards electricity as a luxury!). Thus I decided to weed it.
Holly: I have recently become obsessed with all the shows on the Discovery Channel about homesteading in Alaska. I can’t explain the appeal, but I will watch and read anything about homesteading.
Except for this.
It is a nice tribute to its time and place, but belongs in a museum or archive now – definitely not a public high school library! Wrong audience, wrong time, and wrong place. Weed this and buy something that shows the difference between the lifestyle of a homesteader today and that of someone connected to society. There are so many different considerations for those interested in this lifestyle today!