Housekeeping for Writers

Want to see the scariest list in existence?

Look no further.  Behold… a professional housekeeping expert chores list. From Cheryl Mendelson’s Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House:


- Put soiled clothes in hamper and hang up other clothes
– Clean sinks and tubs after use (including drains and traps)
– Check soap, toilet paper, other supplies in bathroom; change towels if necessary
– Prepare meals and clean up afterward
– Put out fresh kitchen towels and cleaning utensils
– Clean floors in high-use areas (kitchen, entryway) by sweeping, damp-mopping, or vacuuming
– Make beds
– Refill vaporizers and humidifiers (and clean if necessary)
– Neaten; put away newspapers, magazines, and similar items
– Do interim marketing, when necessary
– Empty trash and garbage containers (evening)


- Housecleaning:

- Change the bed linens (once or twice weekly) and bathroom towels (twice weekly or as necessary)
– Vacuum rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, and lampshades
– Wash all washable floors
– Dust all dustable surfaces and objects, including pictures, mirrors, light fixtures, and light bulbs
– Wipe all fingerprints or smears from doorknobs, woodwork, telephones, computer keyboards
– Wash down entire bathroom: toilet, sink, tub, wall tiles, toothbrush holders and all fixtures, cabinets (exterior), mirror, floor
– Wash all combs and brushes
– Clean entire kitchen: clean refrigerator; wipe down stove and other appliances inside and out; clean sinks, counters, and tabletops; extra-thoroughly wash backsplashes; scrub floors
– Clean air-conditioner filters and humidifiers according to manufacturers’ recommendations
– Wash out and sanitize garbage cans

- Laundering
– Marketing for food and non-food items
– Odd jobs


And this doesn’t even include yard work!  Or putting pretty flowers in pretty vases!

Our upcoming move to Michigan launches our family back on our own, into our first house, with our first mortgage, and our first yard to maintain, by ourselves.  And I see my writing time dwindling as I consider these facts.  How will I manage it all?

Sunday School Answer:  One chore at a time!  Smiling for Jesus!
The Answer I’d Rather Have:  Merry Maids.

Good housekeeping helps my writing.  This space, our home, where we live and love, is my writing environment.  It is the place from which I draw inspiration and from which my imagination works.  Order and beauty without help order and beauty within, and order and beauty within lead to better writing.

Before I am a writer, I am a mother and homemaker extraordinaire.  (Okay, perhaps not so extraordinaire.  But I try.)  It is my aim that these vocations never conflict, that they instead continue to complement each other.

Which means, do the dishes.  And the laundry.  And put things away.

Then go write.

And there’s your guilt trip for the day.  Please, don’t mention it!

Image Credit:  MorgueFile

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12 thoughts on “Housekeeping for Writers

  1. Actually I find that list kind of reassuring. I manage most of the stuff on there and I’m looking after two little people who make a lot of mess and trying to write. I bet that professional is doing just the housework. So a little pat on the back for me. And seriously who actually cleans lampshades? ;o)


  2. Have you heard of the Fly Lady? You can sign up for her free emails and she breaks housekeeping into manageable pieces without making those of us who don’t come by clean houses naturally feel like failures. Caution: sign up for her 1 digest email, not her multiple emails throughout the day, or your inbox will be swamped!


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