The best homemaking books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about homemaking and why they recommend each book.

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Confessions of an Organized Homemaker

By Deniece Schofield,

Book cover of Confessions of an Organized Homemaker: The Secrets of Uncluttering Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life

This is a terrific book by a woman who has toured extensively lecturing on this topic. I love to include humor, and so does Schofield. You’ll be highlighting lots of her ideas, and wondering why you didn’t think of them sooner. For example, she keeps the can opener by the canned goods, to save steps. Duh, right? A mom of five, Deniece knows plenty!

Who am I?

I’ll admit it: I love the domestic arts. As a natural klutz, I knew sports would be out and I focused on organizing, cooking, gardening, cleaning, and decorating. My mother knew all the old-fashioned tricks and I collected the new ones. Today I have several thousand followers on my youtube channel, where I share life hacks, housekeeping hints, and even motherly advice as the Youtube Mom. One of my sons said that none of his buddies knew how to do laundry, cook, iron, etc., and suggested I have a channel to fill in the gaps for Millenials. Having hosted a TV talk show in Los Angeles, this appealed to me right away. And, you guessed it, lots of moms and grandmas write in as well, saying they never knew those tricks themselves. It’s truly gratifying to share these time-and-money-saving ideas.


I wrote...

Housekeeping Secrets My Mother Never Taught Me

By Joni Hilton,

Book cover of Housekeeping Secrets My Mother Never Taught Me

What is my book about?

There’s an easy way and a hard way to do almost everything, and the Youtube Mom, Joni Hilton, shares time-saving tricks, DIY secrets, and hundreds of tips to make your home more organized and beautiful—a place where you’re delighted to invite guests. Whether you live in a dorm or a mansion, this book will surprise you with clever ways to run your home. What’s the secret to laundry, cleaning each room, time management, and getting the family involved? Even moms and grandmas will love this book.

The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping

By Charles MacPherson,

Book cover of The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping: Expert Advice on Cleaning, Laundry and Home Maintenance

How to run a house is no longer part of our education system. The only way to learn this vital skill – one that helps make the whole of our lives run more smoothly - is by educating ourselves. This compact book teaches us everything from how to clean a room to how to fold socks to how to descale a shower head. It’s like having your own butler to turn to for advice whenever you need it.


Who am I?

Laura Calder is a recognized advocate for living well at home. She is the author of four cookbooks and received a James Beard Award for her long-running television series, French Food at Home.


I wrote...

The Inviting Life: An Inspirational Guide to Homemaking, Hosting and Opening the Door to Happiness

By Laura Calder,

Book cover of The Inviting Life: An Inspirational Guide to Homemaking, Hosting and Opening the Door to Happiness

What is my book about?

I wrote The Inviting Life as an exploration into how we can "get a life" at home, particularly through making a welcome home and hosting. More than a social activity, "entertaining" is a form of self-care. Done right, it can take us from coping our way through life every day to celebrating.

Stuff

By Randy O. Frost, Gail Steketee,

Book cover of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

Randy Frost and Gail Steketee have done groundbreaking research on hoarding disorder, and their work has helped shift the conversation away from the traditional shame-and-blame approach to the subject. In these case studies, they dig into what drives individuals to accumulate extreme amounts of clutter. Emphasis on individuals—each of these people has a unique, often fascinating story, and Frost and Steketee treat them with compassion and understanding. Stuff helped me understand that forced cleanouts and harsh interventions don’t solve the problem, they only inflict more trauma.


Who am I?

I didn’t choose clutter as a topic—it chose me. Around the time Marie Kondo became a tidying-up sensation, my mother suffered a breakdown and could no longer live in her dangerously cluttered house. I’m an only child, so it fell to me to figure what to do with it all. So much stuff! It got me wondering: How did clutter get to be such a huge problem for so many people? The books on this list helped answer that question and made me feel less alone in the struggle with stuff. I hope you find them useful too.


I wrote...

Clutter: An Untidy History

By Jennifer Howard,

Book cover of Clutter: An Untidy History

What is my book about?

Inspired by the painful process of cleaning out her mother’s house, Jennifer Howard sets her own personal struggle with clutter against a meticulously researched history of just how the developed world came to drown in material goods. In an age when Amazon can deliver anything at the click of a mouse and decluttering guru, Marie Kondo can become a reality TV star, Howard’s bracing analysis has never been more timely. Slim and compelling, Clutter is a book for anyone struggling to understand why they have so much stuffand what to do about it.

Breathing Room

By Lauren Rosenfeld, Melva Green,

Book cover of Breathing Room: Open Your Heart by Decluttering Your Home

I love the concept of being able to breathe easier in life and at home. The first part of this book is about getting clear on the intention of decluttering each room. I appreciate that each chapter offers a blessing for that room as well. The second part of the book dives into spiritual decluttering: heart, mental and emotional clutter, relationships, roles, and responsibilities. I particularly love the concept of passing your clutter through the three gates of meaning: "Is it true to my intentions? Do I use it? Is it kind to my heart and spirit?" I enjoyed the gentle nature of this book.


Who am I?

I speak from experience because within the decade of 20092019, I downsized from my enormous home and cleared out both of my parent’s houses. I felt like I was drowning in stuff when I added up all three houses. Lighter Living is a collection of my insights from, and candid reflections on, my journey of owning less. The benefits of lighter living are so broad and deep that they can’t be boiled down to one end result. My hope is that you will find the process of consolidation to be satisfying and fulfilling. That was my experience. My choice of a lighter lifestyle has brought me a greater sense of well-being. In a world that often seems stressful and chaotic, that’s a feeling I cherish.


I wrote...

Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.

By Lisa J. Shultz,

Book cover of Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.

What is my book about?

Clearing clutter is much more than cleaning out a closet crammed with things or getting rid of the contents of boxes piled in your basement, attic, or storage unit. Most of us have unfinished business that might make us feel like we walk around dragging a heavy ball with a chain connected to our ankle. When you declutter and possibly downsize, you can free yourself of weighty matters that tie you down physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Lighter Living explains why you might want to simplify your home and your life. It shows you how to declutter and then organize what you keep. Finally, you are given a vision for lifelong decluttering and how it can lead to well-being and peace of mind.

Waste and Want

By Susan Strasser, Alice Austen (photographer),

Book cover of Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash

How many times have you tossed something in the trash without thinking about it? That throwaway mentality would be unrecognizable to earlier generations of Americans, who reused and repurposed and made do, because they had to. As I went through the process of emptying out my mother’s overstuffed house, I wondered when our things had gotten the better of us. Susan Strasser, a historian who’s also written about housework and consumerism, explains how and why Americans’ attitudes toward trash have shifted so radically since the country’s early days.


Who am I?

I didn’t choose clutter as a topic—it chose me. Around the time Marie Kondo became a tidying-up sensation, my mother suffered a breakdown and could no longer live in her dangerously cluttered house. I’m an only child, so it fell to me to figure what to do with it all. So much stuff! It got me wondering: How did clutter get to be such a huge problem for so many people? The books on this list helped answer that question and made me feel less alone in the struggle with stuff. I hope you find them useful too.


I wrote...

Clutter: An Untidy History

By Jennifer Howard,

Book cover of Clutter: An Untidy History

What is my book about?

Inspired by the painful process of cleaning out her mother’s house, Jennifer Howard sets her own personal struggle with clutter against a meticulously researched history of just how the developed world came to drown in material goods. In an age when Amazon can deliver anything at the click of a mouse and decluttering guru, Marie Kondo can become a reality TV star, Howard’s bracing analysis has never been more timely. Slim and compelling, Clutter is a book for anyone struggling to understand why they have so much stuffand what to do about it.

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