It may not come as a surprise that my recent obsession with the best way to remove a lipstick stain was inspired by a book. I have a long history of domesticity reading enjoyment. It’s not just the comfort of reading about house and home that draws me in—it’s the philosophy around small tasks and care-taking that inspires me.
Many of these books mix personal stories with practical tips and how-tos, while others focus on the philosophy of domesticity. I revisit their pages when I encounter a tricky cleaning project or when I simply need a dose of calm.
Whether you need advice, motivation, or inspiration, I hope you find a title to enjoy today. (And I’d love to hear about your current, or planned, household projects!).
“Quotidian” means “ordinary,” or “everyday,” and in this slim volume (88 pages!) Norris affirms the inherent worth of the mundane tasks that consume our everyday–the cooking, the cleaning, the dishes, the diapering. “What is it about repetitive acts that makes us feel that we are wasting our time?” Norris asks. Yet she insists that our daily activities are anything but trivial, and have the power to shape our souls, if we let them. More info →
Why is it so soothing to read about other people's household routines? This is the best book you've never heard of on housekeeping. Mendelson's enthusiasm for housekeeping is delightfully contagious and occasionally veers in unexpected directions: I still regularly pull the book off the shelf when I'm not sure how best to tackle a household task and read it just for fun every once in a while. More info →
Pinsky, a professional organizer by trade, was accustomed to storing her clients' things out of sight in handsome cabinets and pretty baskets. Then she had a child with ADHD, and her typical approach just didn't work. After years of trial and error, she discovered what did work for her highly distractable and easily overwhelmed child. In Pinsky's world, simple is more important than pretty, practical is more important than aspirational, and clutter is the devil. I come back to this again and again (despite my lack of an ADHD diagnosis), especially when my home begins to feel like it's spiraling out of control. More info →
I adore Berry's evocative, deceptively simple style. Reading his poems and essays makes me feel grounded and grateful. This collection of gentle advice isn't specifically about the domestic arts like laundry, cleaning, or mending but it certainly applies to all of the small chores and tasks that make up our lives. Berry questions our modern consumer culture and presents proverb-like musings on the nature of work and leisure. More info →
This book isn't exactly about how to accomplish household chores (not at all!), but Vanderkam offers tips for getting it all done without feeling stressed, which makes me feel better about enjoying a fifteen-minute audiobook-and-folding-laundry session. She examines highly productive people who—despite their commitments, obligations, and successful enterprises—feel like they have all the time in the world, and investigates what exactly they’re doing that causes them to feel that way. The seven mindset shifts presented here are full of stories about real people, which makes this both helpful and fun to read. More info →
There's no one I trust more for guidance on making my home livable, welcoming, and beautiful. Myquillyn's new book walks you through the seasons of the year, highlighting simple and gratifying ways to decorate (yay) and host (eventually) in tune with the rhythms of the year. Even before I finished Welcome Home, I was putting Myquillyn's principles into action—and enjoying the process. (Note: this would make a lovely gift book for HGTV fans or new home owners.) More info →
Mendelson's enthusiasm for housekeeping is delightfully contagious. Visually, she loves the look of freshly folded clothes and ironed linens. The tactile act of caring for your various woven and knitted home items is more than practical: it's comforting joy-filled. Mendelson combines practical tips with personal narrative and philosophical musings. I reach for this book when I need a reminder of how to care for a specific type of fabric or when I need a quick dose of soothing advice. More info →
I read this back in October and loved it from page one. So much so that you'd better believe it'll make an appearance in the upcoming Summer Reading Guide (really!). There’s so much STORY bound up with laundry, who knew? When he writes about laundry, Richardson must also discuss Kentucky ancestry, or the family barbecue sauce legacy, or the time he was called to the church to scrub a Sharpie stain out of a bride’s dress. I experimented with his ways of doing things—like washing athletic clothes, or even sweaters, right in the washing machine. And when my clothes got really dirty, I found myself flipping to Richardson’s notes over and over again to figure out what to do. I never thought I'd get so much satisfaction out of doing laundry. Coming March 30. More info →
Kennesha Buycks' blog has provided me with design inspiration and vicarious project completion (so satisfying), and now her book sits on my coffee table for whenever I need a dose of soothing home decor images or practical tips for a new improvement project of my own. With advice for creating inviting spaces for your friends and family (that also make you happy), Buycks helps you feel at home wherever you live, no matter your budget or design goals. More info →
Has a book ever changed your mind about a routine, habit, or method? I’m eager to see your recommendations in the comments.