Martha Ste­wart teaches how to do (al­most) any­thing in new book

The Wichita Eagle - - Home & Garden - BY LISA BOONE

Martha Ste­wart kicks off 2019 with the how-to of how-to books: “The Martha Man­ual: How to Do (Al­most) Ev­ery­thing,” ( Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, $35). In it, Ste­wart shares many of her es­sen­tial life skills in­clud­ing how to build a fire, make your bed, paint floors, com­post and fix your leaky faucet. We know what you’re think­ing: Does Martha Ste­wart re­ally snake her own sink? We asked her:

Q: What is the “al­most” in “Al­most Ev­ery­thing?” What did you leave out and why?

A: The word “al­most” in the ti­tle leaves us open to do more and more about or­ga­ni­za­tion for the home­maker. There’s lots and lots of dif­fer­ent sub­ject mat­ters cov­ered in this man­ual, and it has beau­ti­ful and use­ful pho­tog­ra­phy to il­lus­trate the tips. I think it’s a re­ally good start to a whole se­ries on or­ga­niz­ing one’s home, which is the plan – to re­lease more books like this.

Q: Are you try­ing to em­power peo­ple?

A: Well I’ve al­ways con­sid­ered my­self a teacher. The books that we write, the shows we pro­duce, the mag­a­zines we pub­lish and the prod­ucts we make, they all ex­ist to be use­ful and prac­ti­cal for the ev­ery­day per­son. So yes, I do think that knowl­edge and qual­ity prod­ucts can en­cour­age our cus­tomers to take the ex­tra step to re­uphol­ster their own chair or fix their own sink and feel ed­u­cated and em­pow­ered in the process.

Q: In the Martha Ste­wart pyra­mid of life skills, what are the most im­por­tant things to know how to do?

A: One is clean­li­ness, which will serve you your en­tire life. The sec­ond is or­ga­ni­za­tional skills, which will help keep you sane. The third is hav­ing even a small sense of cre­at­ing beauty around you. This will help not only you per­son­ally but also your fam­ily.

Q: Be­sides ques­tions about Snoop Dogg, what is the most com­mon ques­tion peo­ple ask you?

A: Who does my hair. I’ve been go­ing to Bergdorf’s for 30 years.

Q: Why is the Martha Way bet­ter?

A: I wouldn’t say that my way is al­ways the best way, but again, I am a be­liever in arm­ing cus­tomers with the knowl­edge needed to com­plete a task. That means do­ing things thor­oughly and with care. There isn’t al­ways a short­cut or an easy way, so my in­tent is to teach peo­ple what I’ve learned over decades of home­keep­ing, to teach them the way that I’ve learned, and then they can make their de­ci­sion as to if it is the right way for them. And I hope it is.

Q: Some of the tips seem so basic – how to iron, how to build a fire, how to set a ta­ble. Who is this book for?

A: I think it’s for ev­ery­body, peo­ple of all ages and at dif­fer­ent stages in their lives. Young peo­ple on their way to col­lege or mov­ing into their first home or apart­ment can read this book and have a good ba­sis in home or­ga­ni­za­tion and just grow­ing up. And for the more ex­pe­ri­enced per­son it does help with cut­ting back, cut­ting down on chores and ac­tu­ally ac­com­plish­ing tasks that you may never have thought you’d be ac­com­plish­ing.

Q: Have you ac­tu­ally done all of these things your­self? It’s hard to imagine Martha Ste­wart snaking her sink.

A: They are all cer­tainly within my wheel­house. I like do­ing all of these things. Some of them might be te­dious and some of them might be some-

thing I wouldn’t do on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, but I have to know how to do ev­ery­thing. I’ve prob­a­bly prac­ticed most of these hints and tips many, many times in my life.

Q: You have often been ahead of trends – the DIY craft ex­plo­sion among them – do you fol­low them?

A: I like to think our team has done a good job of cre­at­ing new and ex­cit­ing trends over the years and mak­ing them pop­u­lar and ap­proach­able in the main­stream. But we are al­ways pay­ing at­ten­tion to what is go­ing on around us, of course. I don’t think I am big into fol­low­ing trends, rather un­der­stand­ing cus­tomer be­hav­ior and adapt­ing to what it is peo­ple want and need to live their lives ef­fi­ciently and with beau­ti­ful, well-made prod­ucts.

Q: Speak­ing of trends, you de­vote sev­eral pages to em­broi­dery. Is that the next big DIY trend?

A: I don’t know if it’s the next big trend, but ev­ery­one should have an idea of how to sew a but­ton and sim­ple nee­dle work.

Q: Your tips feel gen­derneu­tral. Is that in­ten­tional? Do you want to see men iron­ing and women with tool­boxes?

A: Def­i­nitely. My world is a non-ex­clu­sion­ary world, and, with the types of house­holds that ex­ist now, ev­ery­one needs to know how to do ev­ery­thing.

Q: No ques­tion these tips make life bet­ter. But is it eas­ier? How can we find the time to ac­com­plish these tasks with work, par­ent­ing, etc.? How do you do it?

A: Put down your iPhone and make time to do the things you need to com­plete.

Houghton Mif­flin Har­court

Martha Ste­wart

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