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Housekeeping refers to the management of duties and chores involved in the running of a household, such as cleaning, cooking, home maintenance, shopping, and bill payment. These tasks may be performed by members of the household, or by other persons hired for the purpose. The term is also used to refer to the money allocated for such use. By extension, it may also refer to an office or organization, as well as the maintenance of computer storage systems.
A housekeeper is a person employed to manage a household and the domestic staff. According to the 1861 Victorian era Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, the housekeeper is second in command in the house and "except in large establishments, where there is a house steward, the housekeeper must consider his/herself as the immediate representative of her mistress".
Housekeeping includes housecleaning, that is, disposing of rubbish, cleaning dirty surfaces, dusting, and vacuuming. It may also involve some outdoor chores, such as removing leaves from rain gutters, washing windows, and sweeping doormats. The term housecleaning is often used also figuratively in politics and business, for the removal of unwanted personnel, methods, or policies in an effort at reform or improvement.
Housecleaning is done to make the home look and smell better and to make it safer and easier to live in. Without housecleaning, lime scale can build upon taps, mold grows in wet areas, smudges appear on glass surfaces, dust forms on surfaces, bacterial action makes the garbage disposal and toilet smell and cobwebs accumulate. Tools used in housecleaning include vacuums, brooms, mops and sponges, together with cleaning products such as detergents, disinfectants and bleach.
Removal of litter
Disposal of rubbish is an important aspect of house cleaning. Plastic bags are designed and manufactured specifically for the collection of litter. Many are sized to fit common waste baskets and trash cans. Paper bags are made to carry aluminum cans, glass jars, and other things, although most people use plastic bins for glass since it could break and tear through the bag. Recycling of some kinds of litter is possible.
Over time dust accumulates on household surfaces. As well as making the surfaces dirty, when the dust is disturbed it can become suspended in the air, causing sneezing and breathing trouble. It can also transfer from furniture to clothing, making it unclean. Various tools have been invented for dust removal: feather dusters, cotton, and polyester dust cloths, furniture spray, disposable paper "dust cloths", dust mops for smooth floors, and vacuum cleaners. Vacuum cleaners often have a variety of tools to enable them to remove dirt not just from carpets and rugs, but also from hard surfaces and upholstery. Dusting is very important in hospital environments.
Removal of dirt
Examples of dirt or "soil" are detritus and common spills and stains in the home. Equipment used with a cleaner might include a bucket and sponge or a rag. A modern tool is the spray bottle, but the principle is the same.
Many household chemicals are using in cleaning, scrubbing, and washing surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.
Brooms remove debris from floors and dustpans carry dust and debris swept into them, buckets hold cleaning and rinsing solutions, vacuum cleaners and carpet sweepers remove surface dust and debris, chamois leather and squeegees are used for window-cleaning, and mops are used for washing floors. To ensure safety, protective apparel including rubber gloves, face covers, and protective eyewear are also sometimes used when dealing with chemical cleaning products.
A home's yard and exterior are sometimes subject to cleaning. Exterior cleaning also occurs for safety, upkeep, and usefulness. It includes the removal of paper litter and grass growing in sidewalk cracks.
While housekeeping can be seen as an objective activity that can be done by either men or women, some people have argued that housekeeping is a site of historical oppression and gender division between men and women. Housekeeping also has a role in maintaining certain parts of the capitalist economy, including the division of home and work life, as well as industries that sell chemicals and household goods.
A survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014 came to the result that approximately 43 percent of men did food preparation or cleanup on any given day, compared with approximately 70 percent of women. In addition, 20 percent of men did housekeeping chores (including cleaning and laundry) on any given day, compared to approximately 50 percent of women.
The Swedish practice of döstädning ("death cleaning"), a simple living ethic and aesthetic with the primary focus of not burdening your heirs with your belongings, is a permanent form of householding organization which also focuses on keeping only strongly valued possessions.
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- "housekeeping" Oxford Dictionaries Online. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "housekeeping" The Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "housekeeper" Oxford Dictionaries Online. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management Web version of the book at the University of Adelaide Library. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Retrieved 2011-01-23
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- DiGiulio, Sarah (2017-11-02). "What is 'Swedish death cleaning' and should you be doing it? Go ahead. Clean your closet like there's no tomorrow". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-08-18.