Sunday, March 8, 2009

50s Housekeeping, by the book


Oh yes, these things existed. And oh yes, I am determined to follow the recommended schedules. My research turned up a variety of housekeeping books published in the 1800s and 1900s, but the majority of them seemed to have appeared between 1900 and 1950. I will be working from a Good Housekeeping book published in 1947, as I feel it is probably a good example of something given to a young housewife starting out in the early 1950s. Conveniently enough, it contains detailed schedules as to what I should be cleaning, washing, doing each and every day to be the ultimate 50s housewife. For answer I can't get from the Good Housekeeping book, I'm going to look to this 2008 reprint of a 1929 book, Housewifery: A Manual and Textbook of Practical Housekeeping. Both of these manuals have instructions on everything from laundering clothes to doing the marketing, setting the table, and fixing a broken sink. I would think that in the days before the internet, this was a pretty handy little gem to have on the bookshelf.


Without further delay, here is the daily schedule I'm going to try to follow for the next few months. It's a doozy, let me tell you. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? They are lengthy, so I am going to post one day at a time, the day before I need to do it. Here's Monday.

MONDAY
Early morning
Carry soiled clothing to the hamper or clothes-chute. Hang up other clothing. Put away personal possessions. (This should be done by the person occupying the room.)

Open windows in bedrooms, top and bottom, on arising, for free circulation of air (except in completely air-conditioned houses). (This should be done by the person occupying the room.) Throw back bed covers, including top sheet, on all beds. (This too should be done by the person occupying the room.)

Prepare and serve breakfast.

Early Forenoon
Clear away dishes and misplaced articles from dining room, after breakfast: Open windows top and bottom for free circulation of air.

Clean breakfast dishes from table to tray or tea wagon.

Pick up and replace small articles belonging in the room. Gather up to be taken out: articles belonging in other rooms, plants or flowers to be tended; place on tray or tea wagon. Collect trash in waste basket. Carry out tray or tea wagon.

Rinse and stack dishes, pots and pans in kitchen.

Put away food.

Put living room in order: Open windows top and bottom for free circulation of air. Pick up and replace small articles belonging in the room, such as books, magazines, music, games, victrola records, cards, etc. Gather up on tray to take out: used ash trays, articles belonging in other rooms, plants or flowers to be tended. Collect trash in waste basket. Carry out tray.

Give all rooms regular daily cleaning
:
Living Rooms (includes sun porch, den, library, etc.): Bring in cleaning equipment: hearthbroom (if not kept at fireplace), carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner (according to need), dust mop, cleaning basket. In season, clean out fireplace, lay fire, sweep hearth. Dust high objects if necessary: mantels, high shelves, window frames and sills, tops of bookcases, secretary, highboys, etc. Dust radiator covers if necessary. Brush upholstery if necessary. Straighten covers. Plump up pillows. Dust furniture and low objects if necessary. Treat stains or blemishes as they occur. Dust exposed wood flooring with dust mop if necessary. Use carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner on rugs or carpets. Final touches: Straighten draperies, shades, curtains, etc. Take out cleaning equipment and waste basket. Return clean ash trays, accessories, flowers and waste baskets. Close windows if desired.

Dining Room: Bring in cleaning equipment: carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner (according to need), dust mop, cleaning basket. If there is a fireplace, lay fire and sweep hearth, in season. Dust high objects if necessary (mantels, window frames and sills, top of china cabinet, high shelves, etc.). Dust radiator covers if necessary. Brush upholstery, if any. Dust furniture and low objects if necessary. Treat stains or blemishes as they occur. Dust exposed wood flooring with dust mop if necessary. Use carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner on rugs or carpets. Final touches: Straighten draperies, shades or curtains, etc. Take out cleaning equipment and waste basket, etc. Replace plants, flowers, waste basket, etc. Close windows if desired.

Bedrooms (includes Baby's Room, Nursery, etc.): Pick up and replace small articles belonging in the room, such as books, bedroom slippers, etc. Gather up to take out: articles belonging in other rooms, soiled clothing. Collect trash in waste basket. Carry out articles belonging elsewhere. Bring in cleaning equipment: carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner (according to need), dust mop, dust cloth, damp cloth. Make bed. Dust high objects if necessary (mantels, high shelves, window frames and sills, tops of bookcases, etc.). Dust radiator covers if necessary. Brush upholstery if necessary. Straighten covers. Plump up pillows. Dust furniture and low objects if necessary. Treat stains or blemishes as they occur. Dust exposed wood flooring with dust mop if necessary. Use carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner on rugs or carpets. Final touches: Straighten draperies, shades, curtains, etc. Take out cleaning equipment and waste basket. Return clean ash trays, accessories, flowers and waste basket. Close windows if desired.

Bathrooms:
Open windows top and bottom for free circulation of air. Pick up and replace small articles belonging in bathroom. Gather up to take out soiled linen (to hamper, if dry), and articles belonging in other rooms. Collect trash in waste basket. Roll up bath mat or rug. Wipe mirror. Wipe tile behind washbowl and tub. Clean bathtub and metal fixtures (be sure to wipe shower fixture and clean soap holder). Clean toilet bowl and brush. Toilet bowl should have special cleanser used. Wipe outside of bowl and closet with cloth used for that purpose only. Clean washbowl (be sure to wipe base as well as top; also clean soap holder). Straighten towels and wash cloths. Put out clean linen when needed. Sweep floor. Gather up dust in pan. Replace bath mat or rug. Close windows in cold or damp weather.

Upstairs Hall, if any, Stairs, if any, and Downstairs Hall: Open windows top and bottom for free circulation of air. Pick up and replace small articles belonging in the room, such as books, magazines, music, games, victrola records, cards, etc. Gather up on tray to take out: used ash trays, articles belonging in other rooms, plants or flowers to be tended. Collect trash in waste basket. Carry out tray. Bring in cleaning equipment: hearthbroom (if not kept at fireplace), carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner (according to need), dust mop, cleaning basket. In season, clean out fireplace, lay fire, sweep hearth. Dust high objects if necessary: mantels, high shelves, window frames and sills, tops of bookcases, secretary, highboys, etc. Dust radiator covers if necessary. Brush upholstery if necessary. Straighten covers. Plump up pillows. Dust furniture and low objects if necessary. Treat stains or blemishes as they occur. Dust exposed wood flooring with dust mop if necessary. Uncarpeted stairways and bannisters may be dusted if necessary with a treated dustcloth, a short-handled mop or the dusting tool of the vacuum cleaner. Use carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner on rugs or carpets. Stair carpeting should be brushed with a whisk broom or upholstery brush. Final touches: Straighten draperies, shades, curtains, etc. Take out cleaning equipment and waste basket. Return clean ash trays, accessories, flowers and waste baskets. Close windows if desired. Put away all cleaning equipment except that needed for kitchen, and carry out any necessary food preparation for luncheon or dinner.

Kitchen: Open kitchen windows top and bottom for free circulation of air, or open kitchen ventilator. Rinse and stack dishes, pots and pans. Check and reorganize foods; put away. Collect all refuse and put in garbage can. Wipe off top of refrigerator and all work surfaces in need of cleaning. Wash dishes. Dry and put away, if not room to rinse with hot water and leave to dry. Wipe off surface of range. Clean spilled food from drip pan or oven. Dry damp work surfaces. Dust radiator or register. Take out garbage; put clean lining in garbage can. Clean sink. Rinse dishcloth or mop; hang outdoors if possible. Collect soiled towels; wash. Hang fresh towels.

Late Forenoon
Washing if done at home; if not, send laundry out.

Noon
Prepare foods for lunch and dinner Lunch, dishes, clean up kitchen.

Early Afternoon (until 2)
Finish washing.

Late Afternoon
Rest, relaxation, correspondence, reading, personal care, etc.

Final dinner preparation.

Early Evening
Wash dishes
**************************
Well good, rest comes in the late afternoon, just in time for me to watch Ellen!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Allison,
    I am a writer, and while doing research on housekeeping, I found your blog. I found it fascinating! Loved the concept. May I ask why you stopped? I didnt know if you decide working was easier, or if you were so busy cleaning, you didnt have time to blog. I am hoping you just started another blog and I could reference it in my article. Please let me know. My email address is queenofchocolates@live.com
    Thanks, and happy cleaning!
    Stacey Mollus

    ReplyDelete