Housekeeping 101: Simple Tips Your Mom Might Have Forgotten to Tell You

There’s a lot to learn in this life. Reading, writing, arithmetic. How to balance a budget, book an airline flight, and change a tire. Cook a gourmet meal, plant a garden, sew a seam.

And sometimes, housekeeping skills fall by the wayside. Perhaps Mom was busy earning a wage and didn’t have time to pass on homemaking skills. Perhaps she didn’t know the ins and outs of housekeeping herself. Perhaps you really didn’t think you’d need to know those things and just ignored her.

You can still learn it.

Wherever you fall on the housekeeping continuum, there’s hope. Thanks to the information age, we can reclaim these skills and even improve on the ones we have. I have learned so much swapping ideas with other people and learning from wiser woman.

Here’s a peek at some of the housekeeping topics we’ve covered on LifeasMOM over the years:

How to Make a Bed

Folding Fitted Sheets

Cleaning the Refrigerator

Using Plastic Boxes for Organizing

How Often Should You Vacuum?

How to Fold a Bath Towel

Spring Cleaning & Organizing Stuff

Recovering the Lost Art of Handwashing

The Power of the 15-Minute Blitz

What housekeeping skill do you really wish you had?

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Comments

  1. My mom was a terrible housekeeper/hoarder so, I had to learn EVERYTHING on my own. So, when I get the knowledge, I share…like yesterday:-)

    http://susieshomemade.blogspot.com/2011/03/spring-cleaning-part-1.html

  2. I think I have most of the skills, now a bit more disciple in getting the housework done first would be great!

  3. My mom is wonderful! When she was growing up she had to care for the house and siblings. She didn’t want us to miss our childhood like she did and taught us nothing. We had a lot of fun when we were young but we are all paying for it now.

  4. I wish I knew how to sew. I see so many things I’d love to make for my girls. But truthfully, I probably would not have the patience for it. I enjoy quick results and would probably get bored if it took 5 days to make something. LOL!

    • @Amanda, OH me too. My grandma did teach me a little bit when I was younger, but I’ve forgotten most of the skills. And I do remember it taking a lot of patience. I have her old (read-antique) Singer Sewing Machine in my closet. No idea how to even set it up…

  5. Excellent tips and reminders!

  6. I wish my mom had passed me all her great cooking, but she never allowed us to step into the kitchen when we were growing up….now I am married…I panic whenever there are guests visiting…because I do not know how to cook a decent meal!!!

  7. My mom had the same experience growing up as Michele’s. Her mom didn’t want her to spend her childhood doing housework like she did. Therefore, my mom isn’t a great housekeeper and she passed even few skills down to me. I’m definitely going to check out “how to fold a fitted sheet” since mine usually end up just being wadded up the best I can and stuffed into the linen closet.

  8. I wish I knew how to iron properly. I can’t iron my husband’s dress shirts for my life. I would rather clean 100 toilets than iron.

    • @Jenny, Hah! That’s why we now purchase the Nordstrom brand “Smart Care” shirts! They are a little more $, but you literally pull them out of the dryer as soon as they are done and presto, perfect shirts. My husband is an attorney, so he’s always in suits. I refuse to iron or run to the dry cleaner. So I throw them in the laundry and tell him he needs to throw them in the dryer and he takes it from there! Works for me :)

  9. I wish my dad had let me actually help in the kitchen, instead of letting me “help” when I was little and then taking over.
    I also wish my mom had shown me how to clean a bathroom. I can scrub a tub like nobody’s business, but the rest of it? Not so much.
    At least I can make a bed with hospital corners!

  10. I wish I learned how to care for appliances in the home, and when a professional is needed.

    It took my awhile to figure out that you were suppose to pull out your dryer and clean the vent.

  11. Ironing well, was an art I’ve never learned, I think it’s not to late, right?

  12. My mom always had everything cleaned, and was/is a fantastic cook.

    One thing I wish is that she would have taught me how to plan it all. How to set up a cleaning schedule of some kind. I am totally lost.

  13. Thanks for this list! One thing that I never learned how to do was the laundry. I have no idea how that slipped by under the radar, but now that I am married and have a baby I am having to learn mostly by trial-and-error (and sheepishly asking my husband for help…) Even my younger brothers who are in high school and college somehow learned! I have no idea why I didn’t…

  14. What housekeeping skill do you really wish you had?”

    The skill that everything stays clean once you clean it. :P I never understand how 2 people can do the same thing and only 1 of those people seem to only do it once. :P Its kind of unnerving.

  15. My mom has always kept a very clean house. My sister and I always had chores and learned the how-tos of housekeeping. What I missed out on was the planning process behind it all. It has taken me several years to learn how to create a housekeeping schedule; before I started this it was so hard to keep the house in order since it all seemed so overwhelming. My mom helped me prioritize and plan out my cleaning so its manageable. I now even have a special spring cleaning task list!

  16. I feel like I am lacking the TIME to do things properly, rather then lacking the skills. Dinner always seems over cooked because I am also tending to a newborn who needs to nurse NOW or breaking up a disagreement between my 4 and 6 year old. Trying to finish up a science lesson or straighten up the house before Daddy gets home.

    I just hired a cleaning service to come two times a month. It is a major splurge and I am making financial sacrifices else where to do it. It is only temporary until I am feeling more like “myself” (after just having a baby and starting to home school).
    It has relieved me of the guilt that I was feeling of not being able to get it ALL done and also allows me to really clean/organize areas of our home that REALLY had been overlooked in the last few months.

    One thing I would LOVE to learn is how to sew….you know, when I have an abundance of time on my hands :)

  17. My mom was a clean freak. I remember endless Saturdays of chores-chores-and-more-chores. Yet she always got mad about how we did those chores, so it was totally not a fun way to grow up. So I came away with a serious dread of housework, feeling like if I didn’t have eight hours to devote to it, then I wasn’t doing it right. Not that I could do it “right” anyway, apparently.

    It’s taken me a long time to put together a routine for getting housework done, a little bit each day. As for the “right” part of it, well I realize it might not be “her-right” but it’s working for me and that’s a relief.

  18. Pamela J says:

    I wish I knew how to knit or crochet. My mother did not have these skills to pass on to me. Otherwise, I have no excuses…I know how to clean…I just don’t do it often enough. :)

  19. What skill would I like to learn? Getting my husband and father to listen to me for once! I may not know everything but I think taking your shoes off before you come stomping through the house is a good step to keeping the floors cleaner.
    Especially when you live on a farm! With three dogs and a toddler.
    And if you have any tips on keeping that dirty diaper smell to a minimal would definitely get the men off my back!

  20. My mom was a reluctant wife and mother. She gave us chores as soon as we were big enough not to hurt ourselves. When I was 8 she asked me if I could jump on the washer and hit the buttons. I did so and she told me if I ran out of underwear it was my own problem. Housekeeping was usually a punishment so I’ve no real love for it. Training involved being tossed into the middle of a disaster area and being threatened with violence if it wasn’t cleaned up. I have tried to get over it without much success. sigh

    • Ooh. That is hard. It’s hard to redeem something that’s been misused like that. But, when you can pull it off, there’s a lot of peace — plus a clean house. :) Can you find ways to beautify your home that bring you pleasure?

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