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From the Library: Make Your Place by Raleigh Briggs

Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills, written and illustrated by Raleigh Briggs, is a charming guide that provides recipes for homemade housekeeping. Briggs shows her readers how to make their own tinctures, fabric softener, deodorant, toothpaste, seed starting mix, and window cleaner. And her collection of do-it-yourself tutorials are all approachable and cheap.

I'm grateful to Briggs for introducing me to several recipes which have assisted me in cleaning house affordably and sustainably, and I'm pretty into the fact that this book is handwritten with adorable illustrations. But my favorite thing about this book is the way that it legitimizes DIY housekeeping as a radical, fun, and empowering activity.

Briggs prefaces the book by saying that she felt pretty square when preparing for her first housekeeping workshop, which was to be part of DIY Academy, "a short-lived but glorious low-cost summer school...at the zine archive in Seattle." She worried about how DIY housekeeping would fare next to other workshops, which tuned her into the fact that DIY activities that take place in the domestic sphere don't seem as cool as, say, "making beer + building bikes."

But after teaching a class on herbal first aid and natural housekeeping, Briggs realized how important it is that natural housekeeping be taken seriously within the DIY community:

I came to realize that my skepticism about the importance of these acts was based on a cultural belief that the domestic sphere is somehow less important than the public sphere. Which, of course, is such a load of crap. If we DIY only the elective, recreational parts of our lives - or only what other people can see - then how much of our lives are we really reclaiming?

Well said, lady.

In addition to Make Your Place, Briggs recently released a zine called How To Make Soap: Without Burning Your Face Off, which she was generous enough to donate to us at the Portland Zine Symposium this summer. You know what that means, Portlanders? We've got all of her publications available at our lending library.

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Comments

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Every house needs a copy!

Make Your Place is an awesome resource for anyone wanting cheap, homemade alternatives to chemical cleaners and expensive "green" alternatives. My grandma cleans with baking soda and vinegar and a lot of the home remedies past generations used work just as well today. All the information about medicinal herbs is super useful as well. I definitely use this book more often than I would use a book about fixing bikes or brewing beer (though I love bikes and beer more than I love cleaning). I highly recommend the laundry detergent recipe. Cheap, easy, and gets your clothes super clean.

Yay

Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for telling about

Thanks for telling about this. I'll definitely have to check it out. I've been interested in ecologically safe, natural ways to go about cleaning (both my house and myself) and doing other household chores for a long time. This seems like a great source of information.

Indeed!

I also happened to acruire a copy of this zine at the Portland Zine Symposium this past summer and have been amazed at how much I have refrenced it already! The soft scrub cleanser got my bath tub and sink super clean and her recipe for cold and flu tea is effective and doesn't taste horrible. Super great and amazing!

i'm excited to find out that

i'm excited to find out that there is someone writing about housekeeping that addresses how it has been left out of the diy community. i've definitely been around plenty of bike punks planning skill shares who have scoffed at the idea of having a make your own housekeeping products workshop. i'm sure that it has to do with the fact that it's viewed as a feminine hobby!!!

Looks really interesting !

Looks really interesting !