Understanding Housekeeping Basics

The Expectations of Housekeeping

Cleaning and tending house plants
Garry Wade/Taxi/Getty Images

Housekeeping can have various meanings for different people. For some, housekeeping brings up memories of a perfect childhood home. Others view housekeeping as a lost art that the present generation doesn't appreciate. Still, others consider it a throwback to when only women participated in housewifery. For many, housekeeping is a chore. It means doing something you have to ​do, when there is so much more you'd rather do.

Housekeeping encompasses all of these things and so much more.

Basics of Housekeeping

1.  Cleaning: Keeping and caring for a home does involve some cleaning. Most home cleaning tasks are divided into one of three categories: maintenance cleaning, thorough cleaning and seasonal cleaning. To be successful at the cleaning part of housekeeping, it is essential to choose the right supplies and develop a schedule. Once you have these two down, the rest will fall right into place with a little elbow grease and commitment.

Housekeeping Resources: Cleaning

Basic Cleaning Supply List
Create a Cleaning Schedule

2.  Organizing: To really keep your home in the best shape, some organizational strategies are necessary. You'll need to be aware of clutter control, storage issues and filing needs. Most organizational issues in a home revolve around these three elements. Organizing is a vital part of housekeeping, because no matter how clean or well decorated your home is, a cluttered home is poorly kept.

Housekeeping Resources: Organizing

Create an Organizational Plan
Begin Organizing

3.  Decorating: Decorating is a necessary component of housekeeping. Decorating allows you to personalize your home for yourself and your family.

Housekeeping Resources: Decorating

Quick Tips for Decor
Top Decorating Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

4.  Basic Home Repair: Occasionally, housekeeping will require minor repairs to your home to maintain its condition and function, whether you do these yourself or supervise the completion of work by someone else.

Housekeeping Resources: Home Repair

How To Paint a Room
10 Common Paint Problems

Housekeeping Tips From the Pros

If you work, have children or pets and find it hard to carve out time to clean (all of us!), having a housekeeper would be a dream; unfortunately, it's not always conducive to our budget. Cbsnews.com reported on The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen who visited the Starkey Institute for Household Management which trains people on how to housekeep for celebrities. The Institute's lead instructor, Bill Altoff, worked for three presidents and he has several housekeeping tips for those of us struggling to keep our abode in order.

  • Keep your cleaning supplies fully stocked. Common products will get the job done, whether you're cleaning an apartment or the White House, but if you don't have them on hand, cleaning won't happen and your work will build up.
  • Learn the right technique for the task at hand. For example, a Swiffer works just fine for cleaning floors, but make sure you sweep side-to-side to maximize the amount of debris you pick up. Learn the proper technique for other more tedious tasks like cleaning the oven and bathtub tile to make the most of your efforts.
  • Learn how to make your bed like the professionals, which is actually rather time-consuming with the smoothing, de-wrinkling and tucking required! But when you climb into sheets at the end of a long day, even if your house is a mess, you bed will feel like a little oasis.