Our post about trying to figure out how to clean a thick wool rug ourselves reminded us our favorite reference book about anything to do with keeping a home: Cheryl Mendelson’s Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House. The fact is, there IS science behind all the things you might want to know about getting spots out of different fabrics, caring for linen, unclogging drains, dispelling mildew in a country house. Most of us never were taught how to tend to these matters. Mendelson researched the science and reports, in a curiously-compelling way, what you need to know to take care of your space — NOT Martha Stewart-style cute line-your-shelf-with-hand-stamped-paper — but REAL person info. As with anything, once you have the basic understanding of how something works, you can start solving — and improvising — solutions on your own.
We’ve found this to be a great wedding gift, AND a great house gift to young friends moving into their first apartment.