When most of us think of housekeeping, we think of hotels and hospitality establishments, but because the word “housekeeping” has the word “house” in it, it actually refers to the home. The online etymology dictionary states that housekeeping is “management of domestic concerns”. Housekeeping has taken on a wider scope in modern times. It also refers to offices and workplaces.
Some years ago, when a colleague, who was a manager, was picking up bits of cake from the floor of the conference room after a birthday celebration, I commented to him that he was always the only one doing it. He replied that the office is an extension of home. We spend a greater part of our day at work than at home, so we should take care of our workplace as if it were our home. We should switch off the lights when rooms are not being used, and save costs where we can. He was doing things so naturally and quietly that his good deeds could have easily gone unnoticed. It was one of the many lessons I learnt on my visits to India.
I did an online workplace safety and health course last year. Good housekeeping was emphasized. If the basics of good housekeeping are observed, a lot of dangers can be avoided. I ran an informal survey on homemaking recently. Most of the respondents had never thought about safety and health in the home. Perhaps this is understandable. I might stand out as being a bit unusual because I have been in a building that was on fire; in a house when there was an attempted break-in; and in another house when there was a flood. Probably the strangest dangerous experience I have ever had was being in a house when the pest control technicians found a cobra in the CPU of a desktop. It had gone into the CPU to lay eggs and was keeping the eggs warm.
Homemaking implies creating a safe and healthy environment for everyone at home, which starts off with ensuring that there is order in the house and that it is clean. The home has to be safe from intruders, pests, harmful chemicals, and electrical and structural faults. Homemaking includes maintaining the home in good condition by taking care of repairs and maintenance. My father was always seeing to these things. Somehow I had learnt from his example.
For a house to be truly a home, it has to be safe and clean, and this requires constant effort, that’s why we talk about housekeeping because we have to keep doing the same tasks to keep the house a home.
By Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 9 January 2021