Reviews for Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, by Cheryl Mendelson

mnreece's review

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4.0

I found this book to be extremely delightful- though I didn't read it cover to cover. Good argument for why we should all learn these "homemaking" skills, no matter our gender or occupation.

bookworm_mommy's review

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I stumbled upon this book while reading a magazine article on spring cleaning, and if it has anything remotely to do with the home, chances are it is covered by this book. I found parts of it rather interesting (or gross - like the bedbug/dust mite discussion). I enjoy details and minutia. It was inriguing to read about how I've been doing laundry wrong all these years and how long leftovers really are good for. \n \nHome Comforts covers every area of the house from the kitchen to the bathroom to outdoor storage. And ever facet of home care: papers, safety, cleaning, book care, fabrics, lighting, laundry, etc.\n \nWhile I don't recommend reading this book cover to cover as I did, it would certainly make a great reference book. I plan on ordering it (the one I got was from the library) to keep on the shelf for those times when I would like to look back at it.\n

usedtotheweather's review against another edition

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A reference book, so not one to ever “finish.” But keeping it on my shelf.

cycato's review against another edition

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5.0

What to know how to clean everything? What to feel incredibly bad about your housekeeping skills? This book is for you. A fabulous reference book for how to maintain a house, even if you don't actually do most of it and don't love bleach as much as the author. Still I find it very relaxing to read it and imagine I live in HER house :)

kinderny's review

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4.0

As a part of a cohort with parents who were in the first generation of economically middle class with a great percentage of women working outside the home, an interest in “home-making” for my generation is atypical if not outright subversive. While Cheryl Mendelson certainly writes from what she perceives as a female perspective, the wisdom and information she shares in Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House is universal and in no way gender specific.
Mendelson breaks down the uses of each room in the house and how best to maintain the cleanliness and comfort of it, but even more she philosophizes on what is important in life. To encourage orderliness in the home, she posits her “broke window theory”; she notes that if there is a broken window that is not fixed, the social contract appears to be broken and a location is more likely collect more signs of neglect from debris to graffiti. She connects this to behavior in the home- if a room is picked up, then it is more natural to pick up the teacup and bring it the sink or place a food wrapper in the trash. Once the orderliness is compromised, it is much easier to let the cleaning-up go, resulting in a messy living place.

Now most of us do not aspire to the author’s level of meticulousness. It is unlikely that many of us will change our pillowcases twice a week, nor clean our drains weekly either. However, Mendelson gives us reasons based in efficiency, and even more convincing- science, why many of the routines she recommends can improve our lives. And who wants to argue with reasons why we shouldn’t make our beds every morning? (Dust mites, that cause allergies, are more likely to die if the bedclothes are pulled down and everything allowed to air out). Also invaluable is a chart addressing the best means for stain removal and general cleaning. Environmentally sensitive solutions are of interest to many, so Mendelson’s recommendations for hot/cold water or baking soda, lemon juice or vinegar as cleaning agents in lieu of chemicals are useful. This is not a “green” book per se, but those interested in sustainable living could find much of interest in this book.

jenniedee's review

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4.0

Incredibly detailed and a great resource, but also highly likely to induce feelings of extreme inadequacy. Proceed with caution.

cherichandler's review against another edition

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5.0

This is a great gift for a person just getting out there in the world. Kids going to college, people moving in together. It is basically a house keeping textbook. How do you get that weird stain out of the carpet? Cheryl knows. What light bulb should I buy for the kitchen vs the living room? Cheryl knows!

I think most of this information is googlable, but this would be a great handy reference to keep in the kitchen or with the cleaning supplies.

I like the way it reads and her explanations for various treatments and preferences of this over that. Her background is as a lawyer, so her clear and logical writing appeals to me.

aliciamae's review against another edition

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5.0

A solid, all-encompassing reference for all things housekeeping.

turae's review against another edition

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5.0

It's so good I bought a copy. I plan to just start reading the parts that intrest me. It's so chocked full of good information on keeping a house and how to keep a house running in a pleasant way.

felinity's review against another edition

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5.0

When we moved into our first house I bought this book and read it from cover to cover. It was awe-inspiring in the amount of detail about everything. I think of this as the sort of book previous generations probably didn't need because they learned everything from other people.

Anyone responsible for a household will find useful information here, whether it's how to set about spring cleaning or what thread count (and fabric type) actually means or how to hang your washing on a line or how to fold fitted sheets or how to store food or what those arcane pictures on clothing labels really mean...

I now use it as a reference guide, occasionally pulling it out to read an entire chapter but more often than not to look at the laundry section (where I leave my bookmark) to find out whether a certain item really *needs* to be dry-cleaned or whether I can carefully use the delicate cycle on my machine. I wouldn't be without it.