Housework Schedules Through the Decades

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A housework routine enables us to get our work done efficiently in a timely manner. An orderly home may also contribute to a calmer family. Here are some examples of various housework routines from the early 1900s to more recent times. Keep in mind that in those early years, housework was physically harder, but most women were not employed outside of the home.

1. Putnam’s Household Handbook of 1916 advises getting the day’s work done in the morning. That way the afternoon is free for sewing, visiting neighbors and friends, receiving company, or simply resting. Here is the daily schedule from this book:


Monday – Laundry

Tuesday – Clean the second floor

Wednesday – Iron

Thursday – Take a day off

Friday – Clean the first floor

Saturday – Baking

2. My grandmother was a homemaker in the early 1900s. This was her basic routine:

Monday – Wash clothes (At first it was with a washboard!)

Tuesday – Iron

Wednesday and Thursday – Baking, mending, sewing, buying groceries

Friday – Dust and sweep the upstairs bedrooms and clean upstairs bathroom

Saturday – Dust and sweep the downstairs living room, dining room, and clean kitchen

Saturday evening – Baked cake for Sunday dinner, prepared most of Sunday dinner to be reheated the next day after church

3. When I was a little girl in the 1950s and early 1960s, this was my mother’s schedule, before she worked full-time.

Monday – Wash clothes

Tuesday – Iron

Wednesday – Any leftover ironing of clothes that were starched and had to be dampened before ironing

Wednesday and Thursday – sewing, mending, grocery store, baking cookies and pies

Friday – Cleaned the bedrooms and the bathroom, stripped the beds, washed the bedding and towels – things that didn’t have to be ironed

Saturday – Cleaned the living room, dining area, kitchen, baked a cake for Sunday, and started some food preparation for Sunday dinner

4. My teen years were the late 1960s and early 1970s. By this time my mother worked full-time outside the home, so we did all our housecleaning on Saturday.

My sister and I were both old enough to be a lot of help. So on Saturday morning, we got up fairly early – about 8:00 AM. My sister and I each cleaned our own bedrooms, and my mother cleaned the bedroom that she and my dad had. Then the three of us split up the rest of the rooms in the house. Often we would vary these week by week, so we didn’t get stuck with the same rooms to clean all of the time. But we actually had the house clean by noon or early afternoon.

This seems like a lot of work, but we were young and energetic. (Not that we liked doing it, but we did it anyway!) However, then the house was clean and we had the rest of the day to get together with friends or get ready for a Saturday night date.

These housework routines are merely suggestions. It is important to find what works for each of us in our individual situations. I feel also that we should not get completely stressed out if our houses aren’t immaculate, nor should our system be rigid. We should not be slaves to the schedule, it is there to serve us.

The Author:

If you need help getting your household organized and managed, the Keeping Up Club is a great place to start. Visit Old Fashioned Homemaking for many tips and resources on homemaking, family life, recipes, crafts, and much more.

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One Response to Housework Schedules Through the Decades

  1. Rebecca says:

    Very nicely structured schedule! Thank you for sharing! Very interesting information!

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