Domestic Routine.

"Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday"
Remember that from Laura Ingalls' LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS?

I can't say I'm the neatest person in the world; but I've always admired a neat house.  Maybe it was due to reading the Little House books at an early age and being impressed with their housekeeping.  I remember, as a little tyke, trying to do things the way it was described in the books, and found it fun to pretend I was Laura, carefully putting away all my toys and making the bed, and then gleaming with satisfaction at the fruit of my labors.  I guess, in a way, I felt like I was "keeping house", even though my "house" consisted of my bed, dresser, and toy box.  (Too bad I forwent that habit a few years later -- my teens were not much to brag about, neatness-wise.)  Now that I'm grown with a home of my own to keep, I marvel at the fine-tuned housekeeping routine of our fore-mothers.

If love is the heartbeat of the home, then the domestic routine is the heartbeat of the house.  The rhythm of housekeeping chores, neatly spaced throughout the days of the week is perfectly designed to keep all the gears running smoothly, without the fatigue and frustration that can heap up on us when we try to do too much all in one day.  But before Franklin-Covey became an icon of time-management, our fore-mothers had been putting it into practice for generations.  Whether you were the mistress of an upper and lower staff in an English country mansion, or a poor farmer's wife sweeping a dirt floor of a ramshackle cabin on an unsettled prairie, you always had your routine for keeping the house neat and clean; you had your domestic calendar.

"Give our maid Sallie Anne the day of the week and the hour of the day and she knows what we are doing here at home...This week Sallie Anne washes the blankets and suns the heavy quilts and I clean, mend, and put by the winter clothing.  In the fall, it will be a pleasure to take out clean whole things which have lain packed away neatly, in sweet-smelling lavender."
- Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping.

Don't you just love the idea of unpacking clean, lavender-scented blankets and linens and clothes in the fall?  For me, that thought makes spring cleaning all the merrier, even those dreaded tasks.  I don't know about you, dear readers, but spring hasn't quite sprung here so I can't throw open the windows and roll up my sleeves just yet.  While I'm preparing for the great spring cleaning, though, I thought I'd share my "domestic calendar" that I've been attempting to employ for the last few months (albeit a little more updated than the original Victorian calendar I pulled it from).  Maybe it'll be helpful to you!

  1. Make beds.
  2. Prepare meals and clean afterward.
  3. Tidy up rooms and put everything back into its proper place.
  4. Put soiled clothes in laundry and hang up other clothes.
  5. Clean or put out tablecloth and kitchen towels.
  6. Tidy the bathrooms and put out clean towels and necessary toiletries.
  7. Clean floors in kitchen and dining rooms.
  8. Take out the trash.
  9. Complete day-of-the-week chore.
  1. Washing on Monday
  2. Ironing on Tuesday
  3. Sewing on Wednesday
  4. Marketing on Thursday
  5. Cleaning on Friday
  6. Baking on Saturday
  7. Rest on Sunday
  1. Wipe down all surfaces such as doorknobs and cabinet handles.
  2. Dust all furniture and objects.
  3. Clean bathrooms very thoroughly.
  4. Clean kitchen, scrub counters, sinks, and floor.
  5. Change the bed linens.
  6. Clean garbage receptacle.
  7. Wash combs and brushes.
  1. Wash or air pillows.
  2. Wash mirrors.
  3. Wash windows inside.
  4. Wax floors (if hardwood) -- I don't have wood floors currently.
  5. Organize drawers.
  6. Clean pantry.
  7. Clean oven and stove.
  8. Organize closets.
  9. Wash or wax woodwork.
As Miriam Lukken says in her book:  "Order is a mainspring in housework.  Indeed, an example of habit and order is one of the nicest dowries a woman can give her daughters: one to prolong her life, to build up her home, and be always a source of comfort to herself and family."  I do hope to give Victoria such a dowry.

Blessings to you this rainy, 50-degree Tuesday morning.



Atlanta said...

Wow - what a great schedule! I may steal it and copy it off for myself. :^)

Sometimes we have a 'chore chart' that we have up on the frigerator so the kids can look and see what their particular chore is for that day of the week.

Deanna said...

Amy, I just loved your post.
Domestic routine is informative and orderly.
Thank you for sharing this.
It's great!
Have a sweet St. Patty's Day and God Bless,

Jackie said...

I love your chore list of things to do. I like the washtub. I do Civil War laundry impression and have a wooden tub.
My daughter and I follow to keep our homes in order and our daily routines organized.

Rachel said...

My best friend does flylady too! I am thinking I might do AmyLady to get my things done!
I hate to admit how many times I have cleaned the inside of my oven in the 7 years I have lived here. It is surely not as many times as needed!

Thanks for the fun post. The lavender does seem wonderful!

Rachel said...

Funny funny funny thing -
my 8 year old was silently reading Little House last night and all of a sudden read outloud "Monday wash day, Tuesday iron, etc" I laughed and said "Hey, I just read that on a blog the other day." She thought that was great and then said "Mom, why don't you churn on Thursdays?" I said "Do you know what churn means honey?" "No." So we had a little history lesson. She loves those books and I love that she is enjoying them so much!
I just thought the timing of it all was amazing!
Hope your nights are better with the antibiotics! Things will soon be looking up! My 4 year old's ear drum ruptured Saturday night without anyone knowing. Blood, not tears or crying, just blood. SO crazy!