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She’s back, she’s wielding a scrub brush and has apparently written the must-have gift for Christmas 2006. I do mean Martha and the topic at hand is her new book Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything. At a whopping 752 pages and weighing in at four and a half pounds, it’s full of information about, well, cleaning.

Once again she’s tapped into our collective need for organization and the sense of satisfaction that comes from getting everything in its place. (Something even the French yearn for. See “mise en place“.) In a hectic world of text-messages and telecommuting, Martha Stewart is comforting. Curling up with her magazine is like having an old-fashioned mom looking after you. You know the kind. The lovely lady who goes the extra mile, ironing your jeans and whipping up “the perfect roast chicken” with poached pears on a Wednesday night. Why? Because she cares. And what’s not to like? You’ve got to hand it to Martha, she’s got impeccable taste. Everything I’ve ever seen her do is gorgeous. Who else could come out with a giant book about cleaning and make it seem refreshing enough to give as a gift?

And the people are eating it up. Amazon.com already has 10 customer reviews on the tidy tome. Kevin Corn says, “I wish it was in full color, otherwise it is great! It is in black and white.” Nico MacGreif chimes in to suggest it in place of Omaha Steaks for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list, “Bottom line, Christmas is coming fast and you know someone who could benefit from this book, YOU could benefit from this book.” But my favorite is from someone called simply Capilano who could have just as easily signed on as MarthaFanNumber1. “Before I got this book, my life at home was out of order and everything was a mess. After reading this book, I had a host of ideas to help me organize my food pantry, redecorate my living room, bedroom and bathroom, etc, etc. My life is now more orderly and much simpler at home. My home has become a more pleasant place to spend time.” Wow. All that and a clean tub too!

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What will she do next? It’s hard to say, but I for one will be watching (on a dust-free TV set.)

Quick and Easy Cleaning: 7 Timesaving Tips for Every Room in the House (HGTV)

Non-Toxic (and Budget-Friendly) Cleansers You Can Make Yourself (The Fresno Bee)

How to Clean Your Beauty Brushes (HGTV)

12 Cleaning Shortcuts (HGTV)

Seasonal Home Maintenance (DIY Network)

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