Thursday, June 26, 2014

Odds & Ends for the 1871 Housewife

Miss Beecher has a informative list of Odd's and Ends for the housewife to take care of her idle time. Perhaps, some of the items on this list will give your character a jolt in what is or is not there.

There are certain odds and ends, where every house tipper will gain much by having a regular time to attend to them. Let this time be the last Saturday forenoon in every month, or any other time more agreeable, but let there be a regular fixed time once a month, in which the housekeeper will attend to the following things:
First, go around to every room, drawer, and closet in the house, and see what is out of order, and what needs to be done, and make arrangements as to time and manner of doing it.
Second, examine the store-closet, and see if there is a proper supply of all articles needed there.
Third, go to the cellar, and see if the salted provision, vegetables, pickles, vinegar, and all other articles stored in the cellar are in proper order, and examine all the preserves and jellies.
Fourth, examine the trunk, or closet of family linen, and see what needs to be repaired and renewed.
Fifth, see if there is a supply of dish towels, dish cloths, bags, holders, floor cloths, dust cloths, wrapping paper, twine, lamp-wicks, and all other articles needed m kitchen work.
Sixth, count over the spoons, knives, and forks, and examine all the various household utensils, to see what need replacing, and what should be repaired.
A housekeeper who will have a regular time for attending to these particulars, will find her whole family machinery moving easily and well; but one who does not, will constantly be finding something out of joint, and an unquiet, secret apprehension of duties left undone, or forgotten, which no other method will so effectually remove.
A housekeeper will often be much annoyed by the xccumulation of articles not immediately needed, that must be sared for future use. The following method, adopted by a thrifty housekeeper, may be imitated with advantage. She bought some cheap calico, and made bags of various sizes, and wrote the following label' with indelible ink on a bit of broad tape, and sewed them on one side of the bags:—Old Linens; Old Cottons; Old Black Silks; Old Colored Silks j Old Stockings; Old Colored Woollens; Old Flannels; New Linen; New Cotton; New Woollens; New Silks; Pieces of Dresses; Pieces of Boys' Clothes, &c. These bags were hung around a closet, and filled with the above articles, and then it was known where to look for each, and where to put each when not in use.
Another excellent plan is for a housekeeper once a month to make out a bill of fare for the four weeks tc come. To do this, let her look over this book, and find out what kind of dishes the season of the year and her own stores will enable her to provide, and then make out a list of the dishes she will provide through the month, so as to have an agreeable variety for breakfasts, dinners, and suppers. Some systematic arrangement of this kind at regular periods will secure great comfort and enjoyment to a family.
Source: Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book ©1871

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