The best housekeeping books

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

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

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.

The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping

By Charles MacPherson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone's favourite butler is back! Get your home spic and span with Charles MacPherson's expert tips and tricks for everything from polishing silverware to organizing the garage.

After over 30 years as a professional butler and household manager, Charles MacPherson knows a thing or two about keeping a home clean and organized. He has poured his vast knowledge and expertise into this pocket-sized volume, perfect for easy day-to-day reference or to guide your next marathon cleaning session.

Everything you need to know is here. With step-by-step instructions for cleaning, organizing, and maintaining every room in your home, The Pocket Butler's…

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.

Book cover of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

The surest way I’ve found to break the cycle of materialism is to develop an aesthetic for less, then face head-on the results of past consumptive behaviors. Marie Kondo’s book is the best there is on this subject. When stepping out of the rat race, many folks have a tendency to hoard as a fear reflex. Kondo’s words and wisdom, even if you can’t bring yourself to follow every last dictum, will help you see and feel the effects of materialism, and naturally shed that compulsion to “have more.”  I was always an “anti-consumer.” But it felt like a strict diet — I was resisting a compulsion to acquire more. 

After this book, then following her recommendations, that compulsion went away for good. I didn’t just think less was better. I felt it down to my core. My savings grew, my house got cleaner (relatively speaking), and I became far…

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

By Marie Kondo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Marie Kondo will help you declutter your life with her new major Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Transform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with the incredible KonMari Method. Japan's expert declutterer and professional cleaner Marie Kondo will help you tidy your rooms once and for all with her inspirational step-by-step method.

The key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once - and quickly. After that for the rest of your life you only need…


Who am I?

I’m an entrepreneur, chef, homeschooler, and third-generation farmer living in the northern Catskill mountains. With that many passions, I had to remove all other distractions from my life so that I could put my attention on what mattered most. My writing has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and national television. During the growing season, I broadcast The Hearth of Sap Bush Hollow podcast, chronicles and lessons from a life tied to family, community, and the land. You can also taste my cooking by coming to my restaurant, Sap Bush Cafe, on Saturdays, 9-2 (I’m too busy living the good life to be open the other days).


I wrote...

Redefining Rich: Achieving True Wealth with Small Business, Side Hustles, and Smart Living

By Shannon Hayes,

Book cover of Redefining Rich: Achieving True Wealth with Small Business, Side Hustles, and Smart Living

What is my book about?

Redefining Rich is the ultimate quick (and funny) go-to guide to help you get started on a life where less is more, whether you want to start your own business, live off the land, quit a job, or just build a life more resilient and pleasurable than your current rat race.  Drawing on research & personal experience, it shows readers how to identify their core quality-of-life needs and dreams, then build a personal, family, and economic survival strategy that works for everyone in the household.

The Undomestic Goddess

By Sophie Kinsella,

Book cover of The Undomestic Goddess

Corporate attorney Samantha Sweeting is on the cusp of partnership at her London law firm, until she makes a colossal mistake that costs a client millions of pounds. Dazed by the realization, she walks out of the office, boards a train, and ends up knocking at the door of a mansion to ask where the nearest hotel is, but she’s mistaken for the new housekeeper. This novel is one of the best examples of Kinsella’s trademark humor, where her heroines find themselves in crazy situations, and is why she is one of my favorite comedic authors when I’m looking for an escapist read. Her books are lighthearted and refreshing, and this one is a charming story with laugh-out-loud moments and romance. 

The Undomestic Goddess

By Sophie Kinsella,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Undomestic Goddess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Funny, fast and farcical. I loved it' JOJO MOYES

The hilarious romantic comedy from NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR Sophie Kinsella

Samantha thrives under pressure. A high-powered London lawyer, all she can concentrate on is taking the next step in her career; eating, sleeping, seeing friends - even taking a breath - will have to wait.

But just when she's about to get everything she has ever wanted, Samantha makes a mistake. A fifty-million-pound, career-destroying mistake. Unable to face the consequences, she does the unimaginable and runs away...

Catching the first train she can, she finds herself in the countryside, outside…


Who am I?

I’m an attorney who formerly practiced intellectual property law at large firms in Chicago and San Francisco. Even while I was practicing law, I had dreams of becoming an author. I’ve always been drawn to Chick-Lit, Rom-Coms, and Women’s Fiction, and even more fascinated by other lawyers who made the leap from lawyering to writing in these genres. My debut novel was about a PR executive, but for my sophomore novel, The Trials of Adeline Turner, I couldn’t help but revisit law firm life. While I enjoy reading and writing about lawyers, my favorite thing about these books is their message of following your heart to live your best life. 


I wrote...

The Trials of Adeline Turner

By Angela Terry,

Book cover of The Trials of Adeline Turner

What is my book about?

Thirty-three-year-old corporate attorney Adeline Turner has built her adult life around stability. Her professional life is thriving, but her personal life... not so much. Deep down she wants more, but finds it’s easier to brush aside her dreams and hide behind her billable hours. That is, until a new client and a chance encounter with her high school crush have her taking leaps she never planned. Suddenly, unadventurous, nose-to-the-grindstone Adeline finds herself moving across the country from her predictable life in Chicago to San Francisco, falling into messy romantic situations, and trying to unravel an office-sabotage plot before it ruins her career.

Book cover of Kuma-Kuma Chan, the Little Bear

These small, sparsely illustrated books are so charming and quirky! At the surface, there seems to be very little going on, but there is a soothing quality to the simple text that allows you to contemplate the little wonders of life. The naïve artwork works so well with the quiet, short musings by Kuma-Kuma chan and the narrator.

Kuma-Kuma Chan, the Little Bear

By Kazue Takahashi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kuma-Kuma Chan, the Little Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This lovingly rendered, meditative book on friendship is sure to find a permanent place on the bedside table

With sparse text and a deceptively simple, beautiful design, Japanese author/illustrator Kazue Takahashi brings to life the world of Kuma-Kuma Chan, which loosely translates from the Japanese as “cute little bear.” Making its first appearance in English, this charming book for preschoolers and readers of all ages poses the question, “How might my friend, a solitary bear, choose to spend his days?” The soft, almost dreamlike illustrations are accompanied by single sentences making it easy for emerging readers to follow along. Daily…


Who am I?

My parents were both born and raised in Japan but met in New York and eventually settled in Los Angeles, where I grew up. My first language was Japanese and as a nisei (second generation), I am deeply steeped in my Asian heritage. I am continually inspired by the art and storytelling that originates from Japanese culture and love to incorporate them into my own work.


I wrote...

Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl

By Sanae Ishida,

Book cover of Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl

What is my book about?

Meet Little Kunoichi, a young ninja in training! On a "super-secret island" in a "super super secret village," Little Kunoichi, is struggling at school. Inspired by tiny Chibi Samurai’s practice and skills, she works harder than ever and makes a friend. Together, they show the power of perseverance, hard work, and cooperation, and they wow the crowd at the Island Festival. Through beautiful watercolor illustrations and a funny and endearing story, Little Kunoichi will capture the imagination of young ninjas-in-training.

The endnotes contain additional information about sumo wrestling, ninja training, and other aspects of Japanese language and culture. More adventures can be found in the Little Kunoichi series with Chibi Samuari Wants a Pet and Ba-chan The Ninja Grandma. And don’t miss the companion baby board books about Little Sumos!

Swordheart

By T. Kingfisher,

Book cover of Swordheart

This is the first T. Kingfisher book I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. The main characters, Halla and Sarkis, hooked me right from the start. Halla, in particular, drew me in because she’s not the usual heroine for a fantasy romance; she’s a widow in her thirties, a little sheltered, but brimming with curiosity about the world she’s never really seen. But because she’s not a child, she’s got a good head on her shoulders and a wonderful perspective. Her relationship with Sarkis, a warrior trapped in a magic sword, is delightful, and their time together on the road brings them deliciously close. Harrowing travels make for fabulous romance!

Swordheart

By T. Kingfisher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Swordheart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle's estate… and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws… and the sword itself may prove to be the greatest threat of all.


Who am I?

As a hardcore introvert, I often find it difficult to open up to others, especially new people. But somehow, it’s easier to do so when traveling or at least out of my normal routine. So it’s no surprise that I gravitate to stories that feature characters traveling and forming bonds of friendship and romance while on the road. Add some magic to the mix, and I’m almost definitely hooked!


I wrote...

Catalyst Moon: (Incursion – Book 1)

By Lauren L. Garcia,

Book cover of Catalyst Moon: (Incursion – Book 1)

What is my book about?

A magic-torn world. Mages, held captive since magic first manifested in the world, seek to break their chains. Sentinels, warriors with an unnatural immunity to magic, are oathbound to keep the magic-users prisoner - at any cost.

Two hearts, shattered by grief, bound together by fate. Kali, a mage fleeing her painful past, travels to a healer in Whitewater City, hoping to mend more than her broken heart. One of her sentinel escorts is Stonewall, a man left with only his faith after the death of his brother. But when monstrous bandits destroy Kali's other escorts, Kali and Stonewall must join forces to survive the demonic creatures…and a dangerous magic never seen before. Two hearts. One destiny.

The Joy of Less

By Francine Jay,

Book cover of The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify

This was the very first book I read after being introduced to the idea of minimalism and it got me off my couch and decluttering my cabinets pronto! Jay breaks down decluttering with her simple streamline method, and since I had no methods of my own at the time, I happily borrowed hers. One of the best tips I learned from this book was to empty spaces that you want to declutter. I’d never done that before and now this is something I ask all my clients to do. I’m so grateful to Francine Jay for getting me started on the minimalist path! 

The Joy of Less

By Francine Jay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Joy of Less as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An inspiring read for anyone wanting to downsize, finally park the car in the garage, or just clear out a few closets." -Rachel Jonat, TheMinimalistMom.com

Having less stuff is the key to happiness: Do you ever feel overwhelmed, instead of overjoyed, by all your possessions? Do you secretly wish a gale force wind would blow the clutter from your home? If so, it's time to simplify your life! The Joy of Less is a fun, lighthearted guide to minimalist living:
* Part One provides an inspirational pep talk on the joys and rewards of paring down.
* Part Two presents…

Who am I?

In 2012 I started a minimalist journey, inspired by my 1,500 square foot house that could no longer comfortably contain the possessions belonging to me, my partner, and our then 2-year-old triplets. I was a full-time working mom with little time to declutter, yet I knew that if I didn’t change our home, the stress of our stuff would rob us of valuable space and time to enjoy our young family. Over a period of eight months, I let go of about 70% of our possessions, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve since taught hundreds of thousands of busy parents how to do the same through my blog, book, TEDx, keynotes, classes, and coaching.  


I wrote...

Less: Minimalism for Real

By Rose Lounsbury,

Book cover of Less: Minimalism for Real

What is my book about?

In Less, Rose Lounsbury--simplicity coach, keynote speaker, and still-sane mother of triplets--takes a practical, hands-on approach to decluttering your home and simplifying your life. Based on her own life-changing experiment of “going minimalist,” Rose provides a realistic guide to reducing your excess stuff and reclaiming your hard-earned free time.

Less offers attainable steps that you can take to achieve the clutter-free, functional home you crave. Through candid stories from her life as a minimalist blogger-turned-businesswoman, Rose will inspire you to stop spending your time dealing with your stuff and start living a better life with less.

Less

By Rachel Aust,

Book cover of Less: A Visual Guide to Minimalism

From the cover to its contents, Rachel Aust’s beautifully illustrated book, Less, lives up to its promise of minimalism. It is an excellent introduction to dive into living with less. She is fun and quirky and with her book’s guidance, you’ll be organized and decluttered, physically and mentally, in no time! 

Less

By Rachel Aust,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Less as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Simplify life and amplify living by mastering the fundamentals of minimalism through this visual guide to embracing a minimalist lifestyle.

How can living with less contribute to a greater sense of fulfillment? It seems contradictory, yet the minimalist lifestyle, which focuses on scaling back your possessions and simplifying your life to just the essentials, achieves just that. Adopt minimal living, and you'll find that less is more:

More time because you don't waste it caring for and organizing stuff.
More space because you don't fill it with objects of marginal value.
More money because you don't spend it on unnecessary…


Who are we?

After specializing in minimalism and zero/low-waste in luxury residential design, Lori Dennis Inc. was tapped to author two books on Green Interior Design. The mission is to make sustainable design and living fun and accessible. Both Lori Dennis and Courtney Porter discovered their passions for design at an early age, spawned from resourcefulness and creative resstaint. Having lived in NYC and LA, Lori and Courtney have a love of cities, community, and the great outdoors.


We wrote...

Green Interior Design

By Lori Dennis and Courtney Porter,

Book cover of Green Interior Design

What is our book about?

Green Interior Design is the most comprehensive guide to sustainable building, designing, and decorating on the market. This beautifully illustrated guide covers every detail of your home—from the drywall to the finial on the curtain rod—and how to find the most environmentally friendly versions of products and décor. This second edition of Green Interior Design is meant as much for the budget DIYer as it is for the luxury homebuilders looking to dip their toes into sustainability.

We hope readers carry this reference guide with them as they decorate apartments, furnish their first properties, and build their dream homes from the ground up. “Going green” is more than just a trend: It’s a global economic and social necessity.

The Door

By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (translator),

Book cover of The Door

It’s mid-20th century, Budapest, and the narrator, a Hungarian writer named Magda, interviews Emerence about cleaning her house. I fell in love with this book early on, when Emerence makes it clear that she, not Magda, will decide whether she’ll take the job. To this day, Emerence haunts me. She’s a peasant, illiterate, an anti-intellectual, tall, and powerfully built. And she’s a relentless gift giver, a caretaker of the sick, and a tireless worker, sweeping the snowy or leaf-stricken street for the 11 buildings on the block. The contradictions and inconsistencies pile up, which is why she continues to roam around in my brain. And there’s the lovely mystery, which only reveals itself toward the end, as to why she’s never allowed anyone into her house. 

The Door

By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This 1987 Hungarian novel in the modernist tradition combines emotionality and literary quality in the story of two women, a writer and her housekeeper.

Who am I?

When I was 12, I was given The Book of Questions by Neruda Pablo. “Tell me, is the rose naked or is that her only dress?” It was the perfect book for me, with an abundance of questions. As I got older, the questions turned more serious: what are these forces restricting women to a narrow strip of being? To a slim wedge of psychological existence? How did the definition of female pare down to only a fistful of traits—nurturing, accommodating, object of desire, etc.? I’ve found solace in books, with fully dimensional female characters who refuse society’s common assumptions. It’s these females I try to create in my work. 


I wrote...

The Translator

By Nina Schuyler,

Book cover of The Translator

What is my book about?

When renowned translator Hanne Schubert falls down a flight of stairs, she suffers a brain injury, a rare but real injury: the ability to speak only the language learned later in life—Japanese. Isolated from the English-speaking world, she goes to Japan for refuge, only to be confronted by a Japanese writer who accuses her of mangling the translation of his novel. 

Devoted to her work, Hanne seeks out the inspiration for the man’s novel to redeem her good name, an unemployed Japanese Noh actor named Moto. Through their contentious and sexually charged interactions, Moto finds his way back on stage and Hanne begins to understand how she mistranslated not only the novel, but also her daughter.

Book cover of The Housekeeper and the Professor

This is the tender and intriguing story of a brilliant math professor with a peculiar problem--ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. The other main character is a young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him. Each day, the characters are reintroduced to one another, while the Professor’s long-term memories open up new directions for them all, creating close bonds and a strange familiar unit. It’s a simple story but it has remained with me for some reason – perhaps because memory is so key to who we are but somehow, in this book, the characters are drawn together and create something despite that. I also loved the inter-generational friendships. 

The Housekeeper and the Professor

By Yoko Ogawa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Housekeeper and the Professor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is one of those books written in such lucid, unpretentious language that reading it is like looking into a deep pool of clear water...Dive into Yoko Ogawa's world and you find yourself tugged by forces more felt than seen' New York Times

Each morning, the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to one another. The Professor may not remember what he had for breakfast, but his mind is still alive with elegant mathematical equations from the past. He devises clever maths riddles - based on her shoe size or her birthday - and the numbers reveal a sheltering and…


Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by the idea of memory. What sticks in your mind, what is lost, what can be manipulated, how you see things in different ways to others, and how sometimes you can’t trust even your own memories. I studied psychology at A-level and that sparked an interest in me, especially in terms of repression and learned behaviours. I studied creative writing to MA level at university, where I wrote my first thriller, which also focuses on memory. I’m always searching for reads that make me look at human nature differently, or break me out of routine and can offer a surprise. Surprises keep things interesting! 


I wrote...

VOLTA

By Nikki Dudley,

Book cover of VOLTA

What is my book about?

When Briony Campbell confesses to killing her boyfriend, a straightforward crime soon turns into a baffling mystery. Haunted by demons from his past, lawyer SJ Robin is assigned to the case. But as confusion - and the body count - rises, he's forced to question who is guilty and who is innocent. Can he see justice served and hold on to the woman he loves?

A psychological thriller where no one is what they seem.

Mrs. Jeffries Rights a Wrong

By Emily Brightwell,

Book cover of Mrs. Jeffries Rights a Wrong

Many of the women in my family worked in domestic service. I do know that their work lives were not easy and their employers were often quite demanding. Still, each time I wander into the Victorian era where Mrs. Jeffries is housekeeper to Inspector Witherspoon of the Metropolitan Police, I imagine that my grandmother or my aunt is one of the household staff who Mrs. Jeffries organizes to do a “behind the scenes” investigation and provide the Inspector with the right clues to solve his cases.

Mrs. Jeffries Rights a Wrong

By Emily Brightwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mrs. Jeffries Rights a Wrong as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mrs. Jeffries is back in the New York Times bestselling Victorian Mytery series, perfect for fans of Downton Abbey.

Thomas Mundy checks in to London’s Wrexley Hotel, but he never checks out. The maid finds him on the floor of his room, bludgeoned to death by his own walking stick. Inspector Witherspoon is soon on the case and learns Mundy had a reputation for being polite, charming, and diligent—an unlikely victim for such a violent crime.
 
But Mrs. Jeffries and the household staff uncover that Mundy was less an amiable businessman and more a duplicitous con man with enemies on…

Who am I?

My parents were avid readers and mysteries were a perennial favorite for all of us. By my early teens I moved from Judy Bolton and Nancy Drew to the Golden Age of mystery writers such as Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. Clearly addicted to mysteries without undue violence or gore, I discovered some wonderful television series as well. It won’t surprise you to learn that my favorite is Murder, She Wrote. 


I wrote...

Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court

By Jessica Fletcher, Terrie Farley Moran,

Book cover of Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court

What is my book about?

Jessica Fletcher is delighted when her nephew Grady invites her to spend a few days with his family in an oceanside New York bungalow. She packs her bags and heads down to the city, ready to spend some quality time with Grady, his wife, Donna, and their young son, Frank. 
 
But the morning after Jessica’s arrival, Donna finds her boss dead on a tennis court, and Jessica’s dreams of a relaxing visit are quashed. Everyone in the small beachside community is a suspect, and the local authorities—headed by an old colleague of Cabot Cove sheriff Mort Metzger—have asked that no one leave town. Will Jessica be able find a killer and salvage the rest of her trip? 

Or, view all 11 books about housekeeping

New book lists related to housekeeping

All book lists related to housekeeping

Bookshelves related to housekeeping