You can keep house for donkey's years and still not quite know whether you need that expensive laundry presoak, or how to stave off entropy in the refrigerator, or why the mop always smells so discouraging when you haul it out of the closet. Libien and Strong firmly separate the real basics of minimum livability from the propaganda overkill that sends millions of people scampering after expensively packaged, one-use products. Besides the extra expense, they point out the ecological drawbacks of such ""indispensables"" as toilet-bowl cleaner and aerosol room deodorants--to say nothing of how silly it is to keep accumulating poisonous and inflammable substances around the house. For a decent modicum of cleanliness (not the ""super-clean"" of TV commercial and guilty fantasy) they recommend a few old-fashioned staples and a lot of basic decisions about what to concentrate on, in what order, how often: in short, how much or how little mess you can live with. Systematically and intelligently, they discuss house or apartment from oven (a cup of ammonia is as good an overnight cleaner as all those caustic concoctions you pay ten times as much for) to bathtub (for simple weekly maintenance, baking soda is fine). Sane, reassuring, and tremendously informative--if you want a single housekeeping bible, we can't think of a better one.