Good Housekeeping Advice from 1897

Taken from “Tennessee Model Household Guide,” by Mollie Huggins, 1897

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

The natural desire to have everything in order, and to show that one is capable of keeping house as it should be kept, places the inexperienced in most awkward and unpleasant situations. She must of necessity do things the wrong way in order to learn what to avoid – what not to do as well as what to do, and in what order it must be done to prevent disorder and confusion.

The Home Circle 1884

The Home Circle 1884

To make the work possible even in the smallest domestic enterprise, she has to learn by experience that each step must be taken in logical order. The first thing to do is to think out, as fas as she can, every domestic undertaking before beginning it – as to what preparations are necessary, what the first thing to do, what the next, what the last, how much time it will take, what it will cost, and so on.

There are many tasks that are better and more easily done if due time for preparation is allowed. A rule that commends itself is to finish the work on hand without unnecessary diversion to other matters; do the most important thing first, have it finished and out of the way before beginning another.

“One thing at a time, and that done well,
Is as good a rule as I can tell.”

But sometimes one is compelled to divide attention between several different projects and keep them all in running order at the same time. In getting up a meal one must attend to all the dishes to be served, no matter how many, except some that can be prepared beforehand. It is no small matter to serve a meal just as it should be done. It requires judgment, skill, and patience. Do not let little mistakes and failures discourage you; the best of cooks “spoil the broth” sometimes.

Good housekeeping is a science as well as an art, and is well worthy the time, study, and practice one is compelled to give it in order to master it in all its details.

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