The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Housework,
Chores, Yardwork, Home Repairs, etc.

SEE ALSO:  HOME CLUTTER FAMILY LABOR WOODWORKING sometimes see a woman who would have made a Joan of Arc in another century and climate, threshing herself to pieces over all the mean worry of housekeeping. ~Rudyard Kipling

A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint. ~Erma Bombeck

Cleaning your house
While your kids are still growing
Is like shoveling the walk
Before it stops snowing.
~Phyllis Diller, "How To Get The Chenille Marks Off Your Face When The Doorbell Rings," Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, 1966

Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don’t do it. ~Author unknown

The year is divided into four seasons: Shoveling, seeding, mowing and raking. ~William D. Tammeus, in Kansas City Star, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1980

Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy. ~Author unknown

...there was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse. ~Quentin Crisp

Th' feller that owns his own home is allus jist comin' out o' a hardware store. ~Kin Hubbard ("Abe Martin")

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. ~Nancie J. Carmody

So women began going to work, and now nobody does housework... The obvious and fair solution to this problem is to let men do the housework for, say, the next six thousand years, to even things up. The trouble is that men, over the years, have developed an inflated notion of the importance of everything they do, so that before long they would turn housework into just as much of a charade as business is now. They would hire secretaries and buy computers and fly off to housework conferences in Bermuda, but they'd never clean anything. ~Dave Barry, "A Solution to Housework," Dave Barry's Bad Habits: A 100% Fact-free Book, 1987,  [essay was originally published in 1982 or 1983 —tg]

There's nothing to match curling up with a good book when there's a repair job to be done around the house. ~Joe Ryan, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1978

By then most of the leaves have fallen. That's the final job, those leaves. You can wait only for so long for the wind to blow them away. Eventually you have to get out the rake and go to work. ~Hal Borland, "Wild Goose Call," November 1967

Washing — 30 minutes
Drying — 60 minutes
Putting away — 7 to 10 business days
~Internet meme

We labor to make a house a home, then every time we’re expecting visitors, we rush to turn it back into a house. ~Robert Brault,

You may feel that you are only patching up the house a little, so that it will be more comfortable to live in, but what you are really doing is inviting good temper, cool judgment, a happy heart, and the joy of life to come and dwell with you. ~Franklin Berry

Plain Sewing and Cooking are so old-fashioned that they are fast becoming new Fads. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Bachelors and Old Maids, 1908

There must be a way to make ironing less dull. Zumba ironing? Ironing Pilates? Ironing yoga? Ironing while walking? While walking on a treadmill? While stepping? While climbing? Or an iron with a cold compartment for M&Ms. ~Donna A. Lewis, Reply All, 2016

Cleanliness is next to impossible. ~Author unknown

I always thought a yard was three feet, then I started mowing the lawn. ~C. E. Cowman, unverified

I am afraid I shall be too busy washing my dishes to pay many visits. The washing of dishes does seem to me the most absurd and unsatisfactory business that I ever undertook. If, when once washed, they would remain clean for ever and ever (which they ought in all reason to do, considering how much trouble it is), there would be less occasion to grumble; but no sooner is it done, than it requires to be done again. On the whole, I have come to the resolution not to use more than one dish at each meal. However, I moralize deeply on this and other matters, and have discovered that all the trouble and affliction in the world comes from the necessity of cleansing away our earthly stains. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1844

A new broom sweeps clean but the old broom knows the corners. ~Irish saying

I dusted once. It came back. I'm not falling for that again. ~Internet meme

The distant lawnmower scents the air with green. ~Derek Jarman (1942–1994), "Green Fingers," Chroma: A Book of Colour — June '93, 1994

The meal is complete
when the kitchen’s neat.
~Author unknown

Vacuums don't clean houses. People clean houses. ~Everybody Loves Raymond, "Humm Vac," 2001, written by Lew Schneider  [S5, E18, Marie Barone]

[A]s a child... we had such a bad vacuum. When you vacuumed the living room, it would groan and stop and you had to sit and wait for it to groan and start up, then vacuum like mad before it quit again, but it didn't have good suction either. You had to stuff the hairballs into it. ~Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon Days, 1985,  [My family had this same vacuum cleaner! —tg]

The best way to keep teenagers out of hot water is to put some dishes in it. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

This mess is a place! ~Author unknown

There were times, indeed, when the vigor she put into her work was more of a relief to her feelings than it was an ardor to efface dirt... ~Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna, 1912

I like hugs and I like kisses,
But what I really love is help with the dishes!
~Author unknown

The trouble with living alone is that it’s always your turn to do the dishes. ~Author unknown

...this endless struggle without victory over the dirt... Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day. ~Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1949, translated and edited by H. M. Parshley, 1953

...housework, if it is done right, can kill you. ~John Skow, about the message of Erma Bombeck’s early columns in the 1960s, "Erma in Bomburbia," in Time, 1984

...old Houses mended,
Cost little less than new, before they're ended...
~Colley Cibber, The Double Gallant: or, The Sick Lady's Cure, 1707

Spring Cleaning! A most idiotic name! Any man could tell you it's actually spring dirtying. All the dust that has settled down quietly, and doesn't show and only asks to be left alone, germs and all, is stirred up. Everybody is choked and as far as possible infected. Instead of being under the carpet, it's on your furniture and in your food. There's nowhere to sleep and nothing to eat; nowhere even to sit down. The moment you try disaster comes. You are told to get out of the way; you are pushed here and there; you step in things you are warned to avoid; you—oh, confound it all!... It's not till the next spring cleaning comes round that you find your most treasured possessions, and then the cleaner sees to it that you lose them again instantly. ~Edward Burke, "How Wives Are So Untidy," My Wife, 1917

The Storm abates where Walls are Weatherproof;
The Deluge pours upon the Leaky Roof.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Buildings," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

You know what really upset me about our house? When I heard a termite refer to it as junk food! ~Robert Orben, 2400 Jokes to Brighten Your Speeches, 1984

Thank God for dirty dishes,
they have a tale to tell;
while others may go hungry,
we’re eating very well.
~Author unknown

One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop. ~G. M. Weilacher  [Sometimes I'm asked about this author, but unfortunately I have no information. This quote was submitted to me in 2002 by an anonymous visitor and my research to find the original source has yet to come up with anything. —tg]

I am an immaculate housekeeper. I'm clean, but the house is a mess. ~Phyllis Diller, "How To Get The Chenille Marks Off Your Face When The Doorbell Rings," Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, 1966

Always keep your home presentable, assuming you keep a home for purposes of presentation. ~Robert Brault,

So the bottom line is that home centers are even worse than lumberyards as a source for lumber. The only really good place to buy lumber is at a store where the lumber has already been cut and attached together in the form of furniture, finished, and put inside boxes. ~Dave Barry

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. ~James Dent, in The Charleston Gazette, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1994

Leaf-blowers: Loudly making yardwork someone else's problem since the 1960s. ~Christopher Patrick, 2017

A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule. ~Michael Pollan, Second Nature, 1991

Well, housecleanin' time is with us once more;
And, landsakes alive, it's an awful chore!
What with scrubbin', rubbin', and washin' paint,
It's not any picnic; you bet it ain't!...
For it has to be done each Spring and Fall:
The attic and cellar, bedrooms and hall.
Each room, in its order, gives up its dirt,
Till I am weary and my back does hurt!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Housecleanin' Time," 1940s

The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but you still have to mow it. ~Author unknown

I fought the lawn and the lawn won. ~Internet meme

I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges or scrub the floor. ~D. H. Lawrence, 1913

Please don’t feed the dust bunnies. ~Author unknown

DUST  Mud with the juice squeezed out. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

Dust is particles of the past. If you clean, you're wiping away all those good memories. ~Terri Guillemets

There's one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor's. ~Clyde Moore, unverified

Houses are the opposites of ourselves, and begin their existence by being skeletons. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

My neighbor asked me if he could borrow my lawnmower. I told him he could — as long as he didn't take it out of my yard. ~Author unknown

Maggie:  Oh, Henry, you finished raking those leaves already.
Henry:  Well, you can never really finish raking leaves.
Maggie:  Why's that?
Emily:  Because God made too many of them.
~Alena Smith and Ken Greller, "I am afraid to own a Body," Dickinson, 2019  [S1, E5 —tg]

I'm sexy and I mow it. ~Internet meme, 2011

It is easier to get paint in your hair than get it out. #DIYtips  ~Andy Lee, @andrewdotlee, tweet, 2012

Instead of organizing and cleaning my house, I pin ideas on how to organize and clean my house. The irony is not lost on me. ~Author unknown  [but obviously a Pinterest user with a sense of humor —tg]

Law of Window Cleaning: It’s on the other side. ~Author unknown

If the shelves are dusty and the pots don’t shine,
it’s because I have better things to do with my time.
~Author unknown

A clean house is the sign of a boring person. ~Author unknown

Dull people have immaculate homes. ~Author unknown

Dust is just a country accent. ~Author unknown

There is no daily chore so trivial that it cannot be made important by skipping it two days running. ~Robert Brault,

Husbands are things that wives have to get used to putting up with,
And with whom they breakfast with and sup with...
And when it's a question of walking five miles to play golf they are very energetic but if it's doing anything useful around the house they are very lethargic,
And then they tell you that women are unreasonable and don't know anything about logic...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "What Almost Every Woman Knows Sooner or Later"

Sometimes clean feels empty. A bit of clutter and dirt gladdens the heart and affirms a life in progress. ~Terri Guillemets

Think of raking leaves as Mother Nature's way of getting you in shape for shoveling snow. ~John Wagner

      Rural and suburban householders are busy now with rake and fork and harrow, cleaning and neatening the dooryard, the lawn, and the garden. Everything must be in order for the winter. But down the road and across the valley, where autumn itself is in charge, nobody is bothering about the unkempt look...
      Man must rake and cart away, to soothe his conscience and proclaim his tenancy. Nature doesn't bother. The tree thrives on its own trash and the seed sprouts in its parent's midden heap. Each new spring grows on autumn's leftovers. ~Hal Borland, "Autumn's Leftovers," November 1975

What's th' good of havin' any yard?
Pushin' a lawn mower 's awful hard.
Pa an' ma they talk, an' both look wise,
Sayin' it will give me exercise.
Ain't I gettin' exercise enough?
Bet you pa ain't muscled half as tough!
We raise grass enough for all th' town—
Soon as it comes up we cut it down!
~Wilbur D. Nesbit, "The Queerness of Parents," in Clare A. Briggs, When a Feller Needs a Friend, 1914

And Cousin Eunice doesn't have just a plain parlor at home to receive her beaux in; she has a studio. A studio is a room full of things that catch dust. ~Kate Trimble Sharber (b.1883), The Annals of Ann, 1910

Scrub and polish,—sweep and clean,—
Fling your windows wide!
See, the trees are clad in green!
Coax the spring inside!
Home, be shining fair to-day
For the guest whose name is May!
~Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron, "May," A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband with Bettina's Best Recipes, 1917  [Spring cleaning! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Home would not be home to me without a lawn... Consider the many special delights a lawn affords: soft mattress for a creeping baby; worm hatchery for a robin; croquet or badminton court; baseball diamond; restful green perspectives leading the eye to a background of flower beds, shrubs, or hedge; green shadows — 'This lawn, a carpet all alive / With shadows flung from leaves' — as changing and as spellbinding as the waves of the sea, whether flecked with sunlight under trees of light foliage, like elm and locust, or deep, dark, solid shade, moving slowly as the tide, under maple and oak. This carpet! What pleasanter surface on which to walk, sit, lie, or even to read Tennyson? ~Katharine S. White (1892–1977), "For the Recreation & Delight of the Inhabitants," Onward and Upward in the Garden, 1962

At Cleaning Time with Proud or Mean
The Woman with the Broom is Queen.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Cleanliness," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

She will escape from the rut of small domestic household cares, which I have heard you so often say eat the soul out of a woman... She will be out in the open and free from the crushing yoke of conventionalities which hem the most of us in like prison walls. ~Robert Grant, "The Fall of the House of Padelford," 1892

This house is protected by killer dust bunnies. ~Author unknown

When you use a push reel mower, you're "cutting" down on pollution and the only thing in danger of running out of gas is you! ~Terri Guillemets, "Today's labor," 2005  [Better yet, plant a vegetable garden instead of a lawn! See Heather Jo Flores' Food Not Lawns at for details. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g, 2014]

Rake leaves or move? I can't decide. ~John Wagner

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author unknown

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Last saved 2023 Jan 08 Sun 07:58 PST