Household Tips from 1896

Adapted from “Everyday Dishes and Everyday Work,” by Ella Ervilla Kellogg, copyright 1896.

Much thought and planning is required in order to remember and carry out all the necessary duties of managing a household. The occupation of the homemaker is broad in its scope and varied in its requirements.

Household Hints 1896

Just a few of these responsibilities include:

  • Care of the house and furnishings
  • Purchase and preparation of food

In other words, the health, comfort, and happiness of our family members depends a lot on us, as wives, mothers, and homemakers.

Household Economy

Economy is one of the most important principles of success in good housekeeping. It consists of making good use of time, strength, money, and possessions. It pertains to the littles – the minutes, the pennies, the scraps – even more than to the large amounts. We are likely to recognize the importance of careful consideration in regard to large outlays, but how often do we let the fragments of time, money, and material slip through our fingers without thought of their value?

Because it is so easy to waste time and money in small ways, it requires everyday vigilance to prevent this. It is well worth our while to study some of the ways in which we may avoid waste in housekeeping.

Economy is largely a relative term. It is a matter which must correspond with surrounding circumstances and conditions. Sometimes money or material goods are really of less value than time or health. What might in one case show the best and most prudent management, would in another instance be the poorest kind of economy. “Real waste of anything is loss without any equivalent gain.”

How to Manage Your Time

We all have an equal amount of time. There are only twenty-four hours of sixty minutes each in anyone’s day, yet there are those who accomplish far more than others in a day, because they squander less time, or make more advantageous use of it.

In order to learn how to economize one’s time, it is necessary first to take an inventory of the use usually made of it. Keeping as careful an account of the expenditure of time as one does of money will readily serve to show the points at which improvement may be made.

“Sorting over” the work to be done and planning ahead for its achievement is a great help toward economy of time. To take a few minutes the evening previous or early in the morning to think over the day’s work, and formulate some practical plan for its accomplishment, will prevent much of the careless loitering on the one hand, and the aimless bustle and flurry on the other, by which time is so often wasted.

In some households time is wasted in unnecessary work; in others, it is worse than thrown away in idle gossip; and sometimes an entire day is devoted to little, unimportant things which ought to have been sandwiched in-between the larger duties of life. Both time and strength are dissipated through the lack of a good method. Twice the amount of energy is expended by the unsystematic worker than would be needed for the same work by the one who has mastered the art of managing that the different duties of the day overlap and fit into each other.

Keep Your Home Organized with a System

Without a system, one may work almost to the point of exhaustion, and yet accomplish almost nothing, and then wonder why she didn’t get that much done. Keeping things in order saves a great deal of time. A place for everything and everything in its place should be the rule in every home. Let shelves, drawers, cupboards, and closets each have its own appointed contents, which, when used, shall be returned with careful order. It takes no more time nor trouble to put things away at first in their right place than to lay them aside in some wrong place. While it does take time which soon accumulates into wasted hours and days to hunt for mislaid articles, and “straighten up” cluttered areas.

Sometimes we make the mistake of taking what appears to be the easiest course at the moment, letting things go just as they happen, till there is a general clearing-up time. In the end, this is a waste of both time and energy. Such irregular organizing accomplishes little. Orderly, systematic work is the great time-saver in housekeeping, just as it is in every other vocation in life.

Write Out Your Routine

A written program of the order in which the regular daily work is to be done, kept where it will serve as a constant reminder, will greatly help in the establishment of habits of method in one’s work.

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