Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints


Like many people I was disappointed to learn that Phyllis Diller had passed away last week. I wrote a memorial post about her for TCM’s Movie Morlocks blog titled Goodnight Phyllis, We Love You but I also thought I’d share some tips from Phyllis Diller’s 1966 book Housekeeping Hints that I originally posted at Cinebeats back in 2008. I think some Mid-Century Living readers will appreciate Diller’s timeless Housekeeping Hints for the less domesticated among us (that would be me!) as well as the fun illustrations by artist Susan Perl that accompanied the book.

Shopping Made Easy:

– “Spot a domestic looking woman in the supermarket and copy what she’s got in her grocery cart.”

– “Don’t buy products that advertise that even a child can use them. These failures have a greater sting.”

– “Pick up a cook book at a rummage sale so you have one that looks used.”

– “Above all, don’t feel you’re lying when you use the term ‘home-baked’ if the bakery is in town.”

Dial M for Messy:

– “Always have a lot of souvenirs around from far off places, even if you’ve just sent for them from a mail order house. It will give the impression of being a world traveler who hasn’t been home long enough to have thoroughly cleaned the house.”

– “Blame a lot of things – like soiled wallpaper, greasy walls, and a dirty basement – on the previous owners (or renters), even if you’ve lived there for 25 years.”

– “Do not have company when the sunlight is streaming through the windows. Everything shows up. Entertain at night or close the drapes and break the cord.”

– “No matter what anyone drops behind the couch, don’t let them retrieve it, whether it’s a wrist watch or a diamond ring. Offer to replace it. What’s money when compared to your ruined reputation?”

The Hostess with the Leastest:

– “No matter what time your guests arrive, pretend they’re early, so naturally you’re not ready for them.”

– “Discuss religion and politics at your dinner party so people get into heated arguments and don’t notice what they’re eating. They may also think that the arguing caused their indigestion.”

– “Never serve meals on time. The starving eat anything.”

– “You can easily find yourself in a group of women exchanging recipes and discussing knitting patterns. The only safe way to avoid this is to drift over to a group of men. If they’re exchanging recipes and discussing knitting patterns, leave the party.”

RIP Phyllis Diller 1919 – 2012. May we all live as long & fruitfully as she did!

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