In summer of 2000 I found myself with $20 of birthday money to burn up. I walked into my local B&N and saw this book on display at the front of the store. I bought it.
It became my second favorite reference book (after the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Treatment) and, when I finally moved out of the college dormitories a year later and had a little apartment to preside over, my housekeeping inspiration. Because of Cheryl I buy all-white, all-cotton sheets and towels. Because of Cheryl I bought a lot of dish towels so I could put fresh ones out every day (a habit I have only acquired in the last month, but I HAD THE TOWELS). Cheryl was the only reason I managed housework on a regular schedule. When your house needs cleaning and you don’t feel motivated to clean it, you can either watch an episode of Hoarders or you can pick up this book… and I know which I prefer.
This book is hyper-comprehensive and seems to aspire to a higher level of housekeeping than anyone, including Cheryl herself, actually has. She admits this in the preface. You have to take her word that the instructions and lists of chores are meant to be suggestive and inspirational, and that each household must pick out its own personal standard of “good enough”. Like Cheryl says, if the kitchen is sanitary, the bedrooms are dusted and the sheets and towels are fresh–you are doing well. I’m glad she says that, because there’s no way I’m going to wash the inside of my refrigerator every week, or wash walls just for jollies.
Now that it’s my job to keep the house, I’ve taken this book off the shelf for the first time in several years, and using it as a real reference. How to take care of urethane-finish floors? Thank you Cheryl! How to take care of wool rugs? Thank you Cheryl! I put little felt pads on the furniture in the great room yesterday, so I can safely move it and clean under it. I’m… almost excited.
PS, the meal plan for this week is:
Monday–Salmon, beets, salad (never bought the salmon last week)
Tuesday–Barbecue pulled pork, cole slaw, corn bread (pork’s all ready for cooking)
Wednesday–Lemon chicken, zucchini fritters, salad
Thursday–Pork chops, mashed potatoes, salad
Sunday–up in the air