The Vintage Housewife weekly routine from the Good Housekeeping Housekeeping book, written in 1947, can provide inspiration and strategies for maintaining an efficient and organized home.
In 1947, being a housewife was a full-time job that required excellent time management skills to handle the responsibilities that came with the role efficiently. The typical housewife’s weekly routine involved all the tasks and chores required to manage a home and family. From cleaning the house to caring for the children, the daily schedule of a housewife was packed with responsibilities.
This weekly routine comes from the 1947 The Good housekeeping housekeeping book, and was designed to ensure that the home was clean, organized, and well-maintained. The routine outlined in the book included daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal tasks that had to be completed to keep the household running smoothly. Today we are just looking at the weekly schedule, and I was pleasantly surprised when I first saw this schedule. Unlike some other schedules we have seen circulating, this on is incredibly reasonable and even allocates time during the weekends for breaks and self-care.
Vintage Housewives’ Weekly Routines and Their Relevance Today
Why am I so intrigued and interested in the schedules and routines of housewives from years gone by?
I think looking at the vintage housewives’ weekly routine, tasks, and responsibilities can be a valuable source of inspiration and motivation for efficiently managing a household for the modern homemaker. These remarkable women possessed a wealth of practical knowledge and a dedication to maintaining a well-organized home. Their routines were often structured meticulously, ensuring that specific tasks and responsibilities were allocated daily. From laundry to cleaning, cooking to budgeting, these housewives were masters at multitasking and prioritizing. By observing their dedication to cleanliness, time management, and resourcefulness, we can gain valuable insights to help add efficiency to our housekeeping routines.
I’ll be honest, I find the vintage housewife’s unwavering commitment to creating a warm and welcoming environment for her family is a testament to their skills, and their ability to keep their homes efficient and harmonious is inspirational.
The Vintage Housewife Weekly Routine
I found this schedule in the revered “Good Housekeeping Housekeeping book” of 1947. The book is a collectors item, with copies selling for well over $100, but you can find a digital copy online at this link. The guidebook’s meticulous attention to detail offers a fascinating glimpse into the daily routines and tasks that defined the lives of women during that era. From managing household chores to creating wholesome meals and nurturing family relationships, the vintage housewife’s schedule embodies a sense of order, tradition, and devotion to her home and family.
Don’t even try to do the laundry. Spend most of your time looking ahead to the week. Put your household back into the groove after the weekend break in routine. Check up on staple supplies and plan meals for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Use all the time you need for marketing and putting the food away. Wash and trim fresh vegetables and put them in the refrigerator ready for use. Clean the kitchen thoroughly.
Tuesday is the day for doing most of the laundry, such as men’s shirts, children’s dresses, aprons, house dresses, etc. Tablecloths and napkins also should be included. For Thursday, leave sheets, pillowcases, bath towels, knitted underwear, etc., which need little or no ironing. This will not make up more than two loads of clothes in the average household. Try to iron the clothes you wash so the entire job is over and done within one day.
Make Wednesday all about cleaning the bathrooms and bedrooms. Use the early afternoon to clean silver or other metals that may need polishing.
Thursday is a good day for changing the beds. If guests are coming for the weekend, make up the guest room, too. Take the sheets, bath towels, underwear, and anything which needs little or no ironing to the laundry and wash them. While these pieces are drying, clean the living room thoroughly. Use the early part of the afternoon for the ironing, and for putting away the laundry you washed in the morning.
Immediately after breakfast, defrost and clean the refrigerator. Plan meals for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday while keeping in mind Monday’s food. Do the marketing and put away the food. Give the dining room a thorough cleaning.
After a week well spent, Saturday should be fairly free. Use it for relaxing with the family, picnicking, special baking, or anything you wish.
Applying Vintage Housewives’ Weekly Routine in the Modern Era
There are so many valuable insights and time-tested practices to be found from the past, and I encourage you to adapt them to suit the needs and lifestyles of the modern era. These routines, meticulously crafted by the homemakers of yesteryears, can provide a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for today’s busy individuals seeking balance and efficiency in managing their homes.
By incorporating elements such as structured cleaning schedules, meal planning, and dedicated time for self-care, modern homemakers can benefit from the organization, orderliness, and self-discipline that characterized the routines of their vintage counterparts. While the specific tasks and roles may have evolved, the underlying principles of creating a comfortable and harmonious home environment remain relevant. By embracing and adapting these vintage routines to fit our modern lives, we can honor the wisdom of the past while optimizing our efforts to create a nurturing and welcoming space for ourselves and our loved ones.
How I Have Adapted This Schedule To Fit My Life
I love the idea of having predetermined days to handle my tasks and responsibilities. I have created my own weekly schedule, and while it is a little different, there are a lot of similarities. My weekly routine looks like this:
Sunday wasn’t mentioned in the Goodhousekeeping’s routine, so I assume it was likely to be treated as a day of rest, and observance of faith.
I use Sunday as my Weekly Reset, a concept many Youtubers have shared, and I love this idea. If you want to learn more about a weekly reset and if it could benefit you, check out my post, Homemaker Weekly Reset: Efficient Tips To Get Your Week Off To The Right Start.
My Weekly Reset lets me start my week with a sense of order and purpose. Some of the tasks I try to accomplish during my weekly reset are: These include meal planning, grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing the kitchen, and making sure the laundry for the week is prepared.
I treat Monday as my catch-up day. Usually, after the weekend, my bathrooms need to be cleaned. There may be odds and ends left out that didn’t get taken care of, or depending on the weekend, my house may even be a complete disaster zone. This is the day I handle the most obvious or irritating messes and chores. I also tackle the laundry from the weekend.
Tuesday is my office day. I work from home and devote one day a week to work and other administrative tasks such as banking, bills, making appointments etc.
Wednesday takes me out of the house again. Like the vintage housewife routine, I go to the store twice a week. I pack lunches for the kids, and they enjoy lunchmeat sandwiches. For freshness, I only buy enough to last about 3 days. I also buy fresh ingredients for the meals at the last half of the week, which may have yet to hold up if purchased on Sunday. Because this is a lighter day at the grocery store and not as time-consuming, I also run errands that need to be done on Wednesday.
I typically have a project I’d like to tackle, and I reserve Thursday for dealing with those large tasks, or sometimes several smaller tasks. These tasks usually fall under the “decluttering” or “organizing” category. Tasks like decluttering closets, drawers and shelves, purging items that are no longer useful or needed, setting up new organization systems, or even painting rooms are all fair game on Thursday. During the summer months, I spent Thursday in my garden and sprucing up the outside areas of the house.
Fridays, I prep for the weekend. If we have visitors, it will almost always be on the weekend, so I like to make sure my house is in order. I focus on the front entryway, the powder room, and if the weather is nice, the outdoor deck seating area. Because Saturday is my sleep-in day, or the day I will linger in bed longer in the morning,I also put fresh sheets on the beds.
Saturdays are also fairly free for me. We live on a farm, and my family is in and out of the house during the summer, so I prepare a cold salad in the morning and a sweet treat like a batch of cookies for my family to grab on during the weekend for a quick snack.
As always, while I and other modern homemakers like to find inspiration in the past, particularly from the vintage housewives of the 1950s, in the era we live, we juggle numerous responsibilities and face unique challenges. We have careers, interests, and aspirations beyond the walls of our homes. It’s essential to embrace imperfection and give ourselves permission to prioritize self-care, mental well-being, and meaningful connections.
Remember, your worth as a homemaker is not defined by how well you emulate the vintage housewife. Instead, focus on creating a loving and harmonious environment that suits your individual circumstances. Look to the past for inspiration, but embrace the beauty of diversity, celebrate your accomplishments, and learn from your mistakes. Find fulfillment in your own unique journey.
What does your weekly routine look like? Do you find the Vintage Housewife’s idea of designating specific days for certain tasks helpful?
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