These 10 books will make you a better homemaker! I’ve read many homemaking books, and these are some of my favourites for decluttering, decorating, routines, and intentional living at home. They’d make an excellent addition to any homemaker’s reading list.
One of my greatest pleasures in life is keeping house. I don’t mean cleaning, necessarily (especially not cleaning bathrooms). I mean all of it–the holistic art of making a home, that hub and center for all our comings and goings and life pursuits. Homemaking is satisfying because it has direct bearing on the lives of the people who matter most to us. It’s rhythmic work, and challenging, and provides scope for creativity.
Every now and then I pick up a new book on housekeeping or decorating or organizing: these books give me a fresh flow of ideas and make me better at my job. Today I’ve compiled ten of my top homemaking books for you. I love recommending these because they’re both useful and enjoyable to read cover-to-cover, not just skim.
If you want to dig a little deeper into the old-fashioned art of homemaking and find some new ideas you can use today, read on…
10 Best Homemaking Books for an Intentional Home
1. The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer
First published in 1971, this book is a unique gem that’s unlike any homemaking book I’ve ever read. The “Art” in the title is literal: Schaeffer explores how we can weave the arts of music, drama, painting, decorating, and more into our homes and daily lives. It’s about using your creative gifts and developing new ones, not with a goal of perfection or performance, but to bring delight to yourself, your family, and your own Maker.
2. Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
This book is meant as a daily read; it contains 365 short essays, nicely grouped by topics and seasons. Together, the essays aim to help you cultivate beauty, order, and gratitude in your life and home. There are countless ideas for savoring the seasons and making traditions, as well as finding contentment in daily lives and tasks.
3. Your Simple Home Handbook by Elsie Callender
It’s hard to enjoy time at home when your space is jam-packed with clutter. If you can get that clutter out the door then your home can breathe, and you’ll be more at peace in it. I wrote this book as a whole-house walk-through to help you hone your perspective of everything you own. The goal is to keep, as William Morris says, only what you know to be useful or find to be beautiful.
4. The House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark
Many housekeeping and organizing books seem to recycle the same ideas you’ve already read a dozen times. This book is refreshing because it doesn’t! It offers out-of-the-box thinking that helps you adapt your home’s environment to suit your family’s needs and personality.
5. Home Management: Plain and Simple by Kim Brenneman
Homemakers wear many hats, and it can be quite a challenge to balance it all and keep your home running smoothly! Kim Brenneman knows this as well as anyone, as a farmer, nurse, and mom of nine kids! She has so much practical wisdom in these pages for setting up systems and routines in every aspect of your homemaking, no matter how many people are under your roof. I appreciate her very learned-from-life approach, and have implemented many of her ideas over the past few years (such as this theme-day homemaking routine).
6. Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo is better known for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I actually gleaned more from this sequel! It contains many quick wins and actionable tips, and is more fun, realistic, and down to earth. (It’s interesting to note that Kondo wrote it after she had kids!).
7. A Colorful Home by Susan Hable
This book was a serendipitous find while browsing at the library. I love it because it taught me to see color in a completely new way. Susan Hable helps you look at ordinary objects, tease out the subtle play of colors in each, and then translate those colors into your home in a way that brings delight to every space you inhabit. I poured over this book and wanted more…I hope she’ll write a sequel!
8. How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White
This book covers a lot of ground, from cleaning routines and housekeeping habits to decluttering and organization. Dana White’s writing style is relatable, funny, and wonderfully practical. It makes this the sort of book you want to read cover to cover, rather than just dipping in and out for “tips.”
9. Memory-Making Mom by Jessica Smartt
When my kids grow up, I want them to feel nostalgic and secure and happy when they think of home. And family traditions are key for cultivating those associations. Memory-Making Mom is all about creating those traditions, in very mundane ways and in the bigger, holiday-centered ways. What I love is that Jessica shares all this from a very realistic, in-the-thick-of-parenthood perspective. There’s no guilt, just doable, gentle, inspiring ways to plant seeds now that will yield rich memories in the years to come.
10. The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith
At first I thought this might be just a book with pretty pictures and not much actionable advice for non-DIY types like me. Instead, I discovered it to be very empowering. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t “do much” with your home due to finances, lack of talent, or because of a less-than-ideal living space, you need this book. Myquillin Smith teaches you how to work with what you have and to find joy and playfulness as you create beauty from imperfection.
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