"Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook" details how to care for your home

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Someone should have told Martha Stewart that calling her cleaning manual "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook" was false advertising. It's way too big to grab while you're house-cleaning or making repairs. But at 745 pages, it is an encyclopedia of everything you would ever need to know for keeping up your home or apartment.

The book is not a "how to clean" book. It covers everything from how to equip your first kitchen to air quality issues in the home to living with pets. There's even a whole chapter on how to prepare for a move.

Every room in the house has its own section, and in each case, you'll find rules for furniture placement, lighting and traffic flow.

Looking to purchase new bedding? There is an A-Z guide on sheets, thread counts, mattress pads, toppers and even a size chart. Need to control humidity in the home? It's in there. Need a new lamp shade? A quick easy photographic chart walks you through the process in 1 minute flat.

The best part of all is the comprehensive 20-page index that makes finding information a snap. The first night I had it home, I went to make coffee and my coffee maker was just sputtering. Wondered what the book had on that. Turned right to the index and found "coffeemakers" and discovered it needed a quick clean with vinegar.

This book enables anyone to get a quick answer, get the job done and move on. Here's a tip for a wedding gift: Skip the bridal registry and give this instead. With a list price of $45 ($30 on Amazon.com) you can't go wrong and it will never, ever end up at a tag sale.

Rosa Colucci: 412-263-1661 or rcolucci@post-gazette.com


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