Time management: a 1928 Homemaking Routine

Time management: a 1928 Homemaking Routine
Time management: a 1928 Homemaking Routine

Do you have a good homemaking routine? A Housewife Writes focuses on several recurring themes common to women everywhere.  One of them is managing time and finding the right homemaking routine. It’s interesting to read about different approaches, because what works for one may help someone else–or not.  So from time to time, we present different women’s strategies. Here is one woman’s homemaking routine from 1928.

You’d never think that women a hundred years ago would have a problem fitting everything into their day. Really, how hard could it have been?  They didn’t have to find time to update social media, manage digital coupons, schlep children to sporting practices, or watch a single tv show.  But they did struggle, which shows that even without modern distractions, this housewifery thing isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows.

Trying to “do it all”

One woman in 1928 wrote about her struggle to establish a well-rounded routine. As a new housewife, she tried to be a perfect housekeeper, cleaning all day, every day, obsessed with mopping her floors and polishing the stove. “Clean corners are the earmarks of a good housekeeper” was her favorite motto. But she could never “do it all” and eventually, after the birth of her third child, found herself worn out and discouraged. “Somehow I woke to the realization that one woman can’t do everything there is to be done in her home.”



Choosing a Priority

This is when Mrs. 1928 hired a maid and nanny and all was once again well in her world, right?  I’m afraid not. She decided to prioritize what was most important to her. “Clean babies must come before clean windows,” she wrote. She chose to focus on people instead of things, and essential things over optional things.

Because we can’t fit in everything, we have to narrow down our list of essentials until they reach a point that they are manageable.  This isn’t always easy and sometimes it takes a strong mind to move something from the essential list to the optional one, but as she put it, “there’s always a way out.”

a homemaker

Incidentally, every profession includes prioritizing.  It’s just that when your work is your home, it’s always there.  You can’t close the shop, pull the shades, and walk away without a thought after a long day.  Your work is all around you–in the same rooms where you sleep, eat, and relax. And sometimes your work seeks you out at odd hours, toddling into your bedroom, waking you up in the middle of the night.

Her Simple Homemaking Routine

Mrs. 1928 came up with a way to simplify and improve her homemaking routine:

  • She scheduled one big task daily, like washing or baking.  Focusing on one goal meant that she could be more efficient by not constantly changing directions.
  • She scheduled daily rest periods.
  • She maintained three lists, one of daily work involving the children, one of daily housework, and one for weekly tasks.

 She noted that by planning out her week, she was able to accomplish all the different jobs she needed to do within the week. Not only did she find time for all the essentials, but also for rest, and extras, like reading and letter-writing.

Her conclusion: “And best of all–it worked!”


  1. I love her schedule! I had a similar one when I only had one child, now with two children and one more on the way I’ve become frazzled and unorganized. I’m going to try out her method, if it worked for her it might work for me too. 🙂

    1. I hope it works for you! Isn’t it funny how 90 years later we have the same struggles? Some things haven’t changed!

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