Just recently I received an early inheritance (the best kind, because no one dies). It is a book that once belonged to my grandmother. Written by Peg Bracken, and published in 1963, it is entitled The I Hate To Housekeep Book – subtitled When and how to keep house without losing your mind.
It’s for women who don’t want to live in a pit of filth, nor be 24/7 spotless housekeepers, nor go about nursing grudges against all the housework they find themselves doing.
“Consider, for a moment, your spotless housekeeper. She housekeeps most of the time, apportioning various chores to different days: Tuesday morning is ironing morning. She calls this Not letting the House Get On Top Of Her. “But the occasional housekeeper doesn’t know she’ll be ironing that day, nor does she care to. It would depress her to know that this was the shape and colour of next Tuesday morning. She would rather just let it happen, should an ill-natured Providence so decree.”
Hands up who likes vacuuming! Yeah, me neither. We do have a vacuum cleaner. I do use it. But my husband carries it from room to room and up and down the stairs for me, because the thing is built like a tank and weighs as much as a small child, assuming said small child has been dining off a pile of lead bricks washed down with a draught of liquid mercury.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sight of a freshly-vacuumed carpet, it’s just the heaving around of the bellowing machines themselves, as they belch hot air in your face, that fails to appeal. Not to mention the way they need emptying and filter-cleaning and tangle themselves up in their own cords (there’s never anywhere really convenient to plug them in) and tend to let their removable fittings come apart just when you most need them to hold tightly together.
If only there was an alternative! Oh, wait – there is. Ladies and gentlemen: the carpet sweeper!