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If you have other things that you’d like to do with your life than housework — especially when you have small children — you probably have looked for ways to cut down on the time it takes to get your everyday, routine work done. Marion Hurst, in addition to her list for avoiding fatigue, provided a list of vintage housekeeping shortcuts, to help you save time without compromising your homemaking!
Vintage Housekeeping Shortcuts
- Double up on tasks whenever possible. For example, sterilize baby bottles while you wash the breakfast dishes, and gather the dirty laundry together when you’re making the beds.
- Straighten the living room before going to bed — straighten the furniture, put things away, empty ashtrays. Get your family to help you before they go to bed, rather than doing it yourself the next morning.
- Schedule a quantity cooking session every week. Make and freeze bread, roll dough, pie mix, cookies. Prepare salad dressings, salad materials, and desserts, and store in the fridge.
- Make Sunday a REAL holiday. You need a day of rest, too.
- Cut down on excess trips by collecting your equipment and supplies before you begin. Prepare a cleaning basket. Use a large tray to carry more things at once.
- Try to limit interruption as much as possible. 15 minutes of chatting with a neighbor or reading to a child (or scrolling Facebook) may be a good rest, but spending an hour or more on SOMEONE ELSE’S problems (looking at you, Facebook drama!) will sacrifice the better part of your day (not the whole day; just the better part).
- If you’re doing the laundry for your family, rather than having it sent out, paper napkins and tissues might be a serious help. (And you can look into plastic or oil-cloth wipeable table covers, too.
- If your family isn’t too large, and you have the dishes and the space, you may be able to get away with only washing the dishes once or twice a day.
- You may decide to purchase your baked goods and convenience foods, rather than bake or can yourself.
- Use both hands for your work whenever possible.
- Follow a heavy day with a day of lighter tasks.
- When you are caring for infants and young children, adjust your schedule to theirs. Try to get more done in the morning and during independent playtime. Once they get tired and cranky, stop for a glass of milk or juice and a quick rest along with them!
- Wash the dishes and make the beds. Then tackle the main task for the day.
- Fold linens and knits fresh from the line to eliminate ironing the flatwork.
And those are some of the things that you can do to limit time spent on housework.
From personal experience, I would add that simplifying or minimizing toys, clothes, and books also REALLY help. I even minimize my homeschool curriculum, so that I only have to spend an hour on teaching tasks every day. I supervise, but they are doing all the work!
Another good vintage tip that isn’t mentioned here is to give the children chores. In my house, chores have equal weight with schoolwork, and both must be done well. Children need to learn to work hard, as well as play.