Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Day in the Life of a 50's Housewife: Weekly Chores

I know this post has been a long time coming but I've had a bit of a difficult time finding information on this!  I had originally found a website with a partial list on it and ever since I've been trying to find more.  Well I haven't been able to!  So I've ordered a few old fashioned magazines from eBay and I plan to take a trip to the library to see if I can find some more info.  As of right now I have a partial list of what I've found on the Internet, from a few different websites.  It's not as detailed as I would like it to be so we will call it a work in progress!

Basically the 50's housewife would make a list of things to be done around her home that week and she would stick certain things on specific days.  So she was always doing the same weekly task on the same day.  I'll show you an example of what that list may have looked like and then I will show you how my weekly chore chart compares.

A 50's Housewife Weekly Chore List:
  • Monday: Do a deep cleaning of the kitchen, living room, and dining room.  In the kitchen the appliances were thoroughly cleaned every week.  That's the stove, refrigerator, and any small appliances like the toaster.  Windows were washed in all the rooms and the floors were scrubbed spotless.  She would also do a thorough dusting in each room and replace any fresh flowers in the home.
  • Tuesday: Deep clean the bedrooms and bathrooms.  Bed linens should be laundered twice a week and the floors in the bedrooms should be vacuumed on the same schedule, windows should be washed, bathroom floors scrubbed, and bathroom fixtures polished with metal polish, bath tubs and toilets were to be scrubbed and disinfected.  Garbage pails were also scrubbed and disinfected. 
  • Wednesday: This day would be a kind of errand day.  She would go do the grocery shopping, go to the post office or library.  Anywhere she needed to go that week.  After returning home and putting away the groceries she had the rest of the day to do the mending or any sewing. 
  • Thursday: Wash clothes.  Not everyone had an automatic washer so many 50's housewives still had to do this by hand.  It was an all day chore.
  • Friday: The day after wash day was always dedicated to ironing.  She ironed everything, right down to underwear.  Table linens and sheets were also ironed.  This was another all day chore.
  • Saturday: Saturdays were for finishing up any loose ends from the week before and doing any preparations for your big Sunday dinner. 
  • Sunday: Usually this was a day of rest.  The only tasks for the day would be a shorter version of the every day chore list and to prepare a lavish Sunday dinner. 

While I was getting all the information that I could for this post, I just kept thinking about how much less dust there would be in my house if I cleaned this hard!  I do have a weekly chore list but it sure isn't anything like this one.  Maybe I should give it a shot for a couple weeks and see if my hubbs asthma gets any better?

Here is a peek at my weekly chore list!

  • Change the sheets on all the beds.
  • Dust.
  • Vacuum all the carpet.
  • Sweep and mop all the hard floors.
  • Sort out the paper clutter, file what needs filing and shred the rest.
  • Empty all the garbage cans in the house.

That's pretty much it for me...  As I've mentioned before, I am a lover of FlyLady and this is the basic weekly home cleaning list she has.  She calls it the Weekly Home Blessing Hour and it really would take just about an hour to do it in one day but I spread it out.  I change the sheets on Monday.  Do the dusting and vacuuming on Tuesday.  Sweep and Mop on Wednesday, you get the idea...  It works very well for us!

If you haven't checked out FlyLady yet, I suggest you do so now.  It was one of the best things I've ever done.  I've learned to stop beating myself up for all the things I don't do "perfectly" and loving myself for all the things that I do get done.  She's got a lot of great information out there and you can find her website here.

So there it is, the last post in my A Day in the Life series.  I hope you enjoyed them and I hope it shed a little light onto what it was like in the olden days!


  1. I'm with you - a very much amended list of chores. But then I also have a job, write, blog, our meals are expected to be healthier, which often means they take more time and once a week grocery won't do... maybe 50s housewife had it pretty good :)

  2. That's some hardcore cleaning! I wish I could stick to a schedule like that but I'm too ADD and always get distracted by other things I need to clean or organize. lol