"Wash on MondayRemember that from Laura Ingalls' LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS?
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday"
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!
DAILY CLEANING CHORES
- Make beds.
- Prepare meals and clean afterward.
- Tidy up rooms and put everything back into its proper place.
- Put soiled clothes in laundry and hang up other clothes.
- Clean or put out tablecloth and kitchen towels.
- Tidy the bathrooms and put out clean towels and necessary toiletries.
- Clean floors in kitchen and dining rooms.
- Take out the trash.
- Complete day-of-the-week chore.
- Washing on Monday
- Ironing on Tuesday
- Sewing on Wednesday
- Marketing on Thursday
- Cleaning on Friday
- Baking on Saturday
- Rest on Sunday
- Wipe down all surfaces such as doorknobs and cabinet handles.
- Dust all furniture and objects.
- Clean bathrooms very thoroughly.
- Clean kitchen, scrub counters, sinks, and floor.
- Change the bed linens.
- Clean garbage receptacle.
- Wash combs and brushes.
- Wash or air pillows.
- Wash mirrors.
- Wash windows inside.
- Wax floors (if hardwood) -- I don't have wood floors currently.
- Organize drawers.
- Clean pantry.
- Clean oven and stove.
- Organize closets.
- Wash or wax woodwork.
Blessings to you this rainy, 50-degree Tuesday morning.