The Top 22 Homemaking Skills You Definitely Need To Know!

Remember when you used to visit your grandmother, the house was always clean, a freshly baked cake was on the table, and crisp white sheets were blowing on the line. I want to strip everything back and revisit those excellent homemaking skills our grandmothers found so easy.

In this post, we will cover vintage cleaning routines, laundry tips, meal planning, budgeting, and lots more, so grab a cup of tea, put your feet up, and learn some fantastic vintage homemaking skills!

This post contains affiliate links, which, when clicked, allow me to earn a small commission.

What is homemaking?

Homemaking is just another word for keeping your home tidy, organized, and running well. Homemaking duties may include;

If you want to learn how to make the perfect cake, make it every day until you get it right, then move on to the next thing you want to perfect.

Vintage Homemaking Skills List.

Keeping things clean

One of the most important ways to keep a house clean is to ensure it is decluttered. If you are overwhelmed and need to declutter, read this post first. If you’re a clutter-free superstar, read on for our top vintage homemaking skills!

The kitchen

  • Do the dishes after every meal. Wash up, dry, and put away every dish you’ve used after each meal! Nothing is more depressing than waking up or coming home to a sink full of dishes.
  • Wipe surfaces after each meal preparation.
  • Wipe up spills immediately, and this will prevent spilled food from drying like glue!
  • Sweep the kitchen floor daily, preventing crumbs from being walked to every other area of the house.
  • Ensure all food is put away after each use to prevent ants and flies.
  • Change tea towels every day.
  • Change dishcloths every day.
  • Use a Brillo pad to clean pots and pans.
  • Steep burnt pans in a solution of washing powder and water overnight, then wash them as usual.
  • Use bicarbonate of soda to remove grease from cabinet doors and cooker hoods.
  • Wipe the cooker down every time it is used.
  • Keep the sink shiny and free from dirty dishes.
  • Open the kitchen window daily to remove steam and cooking smells.
  • Clean the fridge once a week, preferably the day before you go food shopping. Discard anything out of date.
  • Empty the waste bin daily.

Dining room

  • Sweep under the dining room table after each meal to prevent food from being trampled into other areas of the home.
  • Keep the dining room table free from clutter so it can be used to eat from at every meal.
  • Keep the dining room table wiped down and clean, ready to be laid for each meal.
  • Lay the breakfast table before bed to save time in the mornings.


  • Try to refrain from eating meals in the lounge.
  • Vacuum or mop the lounge daily
  • Ensure all the cushions are straightened.
  • Keep the floor areas clear.
  • Remove and wash any cups and glasses after use.
  • Keep the surfaces clutter-free and lightly dust every few days with a feather duster.
  • Remove old papers and magazines.


  • Use a stiff brush to sweep the stairs at least once a week.
  • Wipe down the handrail with disinfectant once a week.
  • Dust in between the railings with a feather duster once a week.
  • Don’t be tempted to leave things on the stairs rather than take a few extra seconds and put them away.


  • Keep all surfaces clutter-free.
  • Turn down the bedding for about an hour to air it before making it to prevent sweat and moisture from becoming trapped.
  • Dust once a week.
  • Avoid any food or drinks in the bedrooms other than water.
  • Hang all clothes not being worn immediately after removing them.
  • Put all dirty clothes in the linen basket.
  • Open the window to change and freshen the air for at least 5 minutes every day, even in freezing weather.
  • Sleep with the window open slightly to keep the room ventilated and encourage a good nights sleep.
  • Change bedding at least once weekly, more frequently if the weather is sweltering.
  • Tidy the floors and all surfaces.


  • Open the window to change the air and to ventilate the area. This will help to prevent mold and mildew from building up.
  • Rinse wash basin, taps, and shower/bath.
  • Put all toiletries away.
  • Straighten and check the towels are fresh.
  • Dry the bath mat.
  • Brush around the toilet bowl with toilet cleaner and wipe the seat.
  • Check toilet paper.
  • Clean the toilet floor around the toilet with disinfectant.
  • Sprinkle disinfectant down the sink, the toilet and plug holes daily.

Read how I clean my toilet without using a brush or bleach here!

The kitchen sink

  • Wipe the kitchen sink with hot, soapy water after each use.
  • Wipe taps and draining board after every use.
  • Avoid using a washing-up bowl, as this traps dirt and food underneath and allows bits of food to stagnate.
  • Ensure that no bits of food are allowed to collect in the plug hole, which could cause a blocked sink.
  • Remove any tea stains from the sink using a cream cleaner or bleach if your sink is stainless steel.

Washing dishes

  • Wash the dishes after every meal.
  • Scrape the plates into the bin and rinse off the worst food.
  • Pour or scrape any fat into a container, allow it to cool, discard it into a paper towel, and put it into the outside bin when solid.
  • Wash the cleanest items first, such as glasses, cutlery, plates, cups, casserole dishes, and pans, in that order.
  • Use a Brillo pad or scourer to remove any stubborn, burnt-on food or a green scrubby with some cleaning powder or paste. Steel scourers are also very effective for removing stubborn food.
  • Stack the clean dishes into the drying rack on the draining board.
  • Rinse with a jug of hot, clean water.
  • Dry and put away the dishes immediately.
  • Remove any food from the drain in the sink.
  • Wipe down the taps, sink bowl, and benches with disinfectant.
  • Put the tea towel and dishcloth into the laundry basket to be washed.
  • Put out a clean dishcloth and tea towel, ready for tomorrow.

The cleaner you keep the outside of your house, the cleaner the inside will stay!

Cookers, ovens, and hobs

  • Always wipe up splashes and spills immediately.
  • Use some cleaning paste for stubborn stains.
  • Wipe the oven after every use as it is cooling.
  • Wash the grill pan and spill tray after every use when you wash the dishes.
  • If using a gas hob, wash the burners and saucepan supports when you wash the dishes after every use to avoid greasy buildup.
  • Wipe around and under the knobs after each use.

Nobody is going to come and check up on you, just do what you can!

My Mum

Homemaking Skills To Help You Stay Organised.

Meal planning for the week

Being organized and knowing how to meal plan all your family meals for the week can save you a vast amount of time and money, and it’s not that difficult! Follow my simple meal planning steps in this post to get your weekly dinners organized.

Cooking and freezing meals

Many meals can be batch-cooked and frozen, so your family can enjoy home-cooked meals every night. To learn how to be a batch-cooking ninja and how to batch-cook your meals for the week, read this post.


  • Soap powder can be biological or non-biological.
  • Non-bio detergents contain no enzymes and may need to be used on a higher wash to remove enzyme stains such as blood or grass. Non-bio detergents are suitable for people with sensitive skin.
  • Biological washing powders contain enzymes that break down fat, starch, and grease stains often caused by greasy food.
  • Soap flakes and liquid soap are easy to rinse and leave clothes feeling soft, so they are great for hand washing and washing delicate items.
  • To brighten white cotton and linens, soak them overnight in bleach and cold water (diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions).
  • For tougher stains on white laundry, soak in a stronger bleach solution.

Laundering towels and bed linen

  • Towels should be washed every couple of times they’ve been used.
  • Each member of the family should have their own towel.
  • Towels should be hung over a radiator or hook to dry after each use to prevent them from becoming damp and mildewed.
  • White towels can be bleached.
  • Towels should be washed on the hottest setting with a cup of vinegar in the washing machine drum to help keep them fluffy.
  • White bed sheets can be bleached.
  • Bed linen should be washed separately on the hottest setting possible.
  • Beds should be changed at least weekly, more often in the summer / hotter weather when the average adult can sweat up to a pint of sweat per night!
  • Ammonia can be added to the bed linen cycle to help remove built-up grease caused by excessive sweating.
  • Towels and bed linen should be hung in the fresh air outside or dried in a tumble drier.
  • Towels and bed linen should be removed immediately from the washing machine when the cycle has ended to prevent the washing from smelling moldy and mildewy.

If you are overwhelmed by laundry and need some amazing laundry hacks, read this post


When ironing start with the items which need a cool iron first, then adjust the temperature as you continue to iron, leaving cotton and linens until last.

No need to iron

  • Towels
  • Some bed linen
  • Some table cloths
  • Underwear and socks

How to iron a shirt

  1. Iron the collar first.
  2. Iron the sleeves and cuffs next.
  3. Then, iron the right-hand side of the front of the shirt.
  4. Then, move on to the back of the shirt.
  5. Lastly, iron the left-hand side of the front of the shirt.

Airing clothes

After washing and ironing, clothes should always be aired before being put away to prevent mold, mildew, and damp growth. An airing cupboard or radiator is the best place to air clothes.

Refrigerating foods

  • Always make sure the food is cold before putting it in the fridge.
  • Wash all fruit and vegetables before storing them in the fridge.
  • Keep the fridge door closed.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • All foods should be covered when stored in the fridge.
  • Do not overpack a fridge, as the air needs to circulate to keep the food cold.
  • If you have a power cut, food will remain fresh for up to 8 hours if the fridge door is closed.
  • Clean out your fridge weekly, wipe down all surfaces, and discard any out-of-date food and condiments. This is best done the day before you go shopping for fresh food.

Download my free fridge and pantry staples list here.

Do not refrigerate

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Bread
  • Root vegetables

These days, we seem to hoard cleaning products and have a cleaning product for nearly every surface in our home. Years ago, our grandmothers used to clean their whole house using just a few simple cleaning products and always had the perfect tool for each job!

Household cleaning equipment

  • Washing up liquid or dish soap
  • Cream cleaner
  • Powder cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Furniture polish
  • Glass cleaner
  • Floor polish
  • Washing soda
  • Bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric conditioner
  • Long-handled brush with soft bristles
  • Long-handled stiff brush
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Mop and bucket
  • Vacuum and attachments
  • Toilet brush
  • Dusters
  • Polishing Cloths
  • Floorcloths
  • Glass cloth
  • Scouring pads

Window cleaning

Windows should be cleaned once a week inside and outside.

Household Budgeting.

Money coming into a household is called income, and the money going out of the house in the form of expenses is called expenditure. The secret of good housekeeping is to balance the two successfully.

Tear up your credit and store cards, and try to live by the rule that if you can’t pay for it with cash, don’t buy it!

Most bills can be divided into three groups:

  1. Bills connected to the shell of the home.
  2. Bills connected to each member of the family.
  3. Bills which are extras.

For example, a couple with no children will spend less on the bills in group 2 than a family of six.

When doing a budget, you must consider bills in group 1 first. These could be things like:

  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Insurance
  • Council tax
  • Mortgage /Rent
  • House repairs

Group 2 expenses for an average family would cover

  • Housekeeping
  • Food
  • Travel expenses and parking
  • Children’s sports and activities
  • Clothing
  • Children’s dinner money
  • Children’s pocket money
  • Savings – for holidays Christmas, and emergency funds.

Try to budget approximately a third of the weekly income for food for the family.

Non-essential expenses for group 3 would include:

  • Tv payments
  • Phone payments
  • Car expenses
  • Entertainment such as nights out, football, hairdressers, newspapers etc.

It is from this group that sacrifices can be made when the family is short of money.

Buying bulk where appropriate can save money on household food and cleaning products.

It is advisable to try to pay all your bills by direct debit each month. This makes it easier to budget and save money with the remaining income.

Using a simple envelope system to save money and budget for all your household expenses helps you to stop spending money on things you don’t need.

If you find yourself in debt, pay off any debt before you start saving money. Start with the smallest debt first, then when that is paid off, use the money you have saved each month to pay off your next smallest debt and continue in this way until all your debt has been paid off.

Dave Ramsey has some great advice about getting out of debt on his website, and in this best-selling book, this book helped me get my finances in control and is the reason I became debt-free.

The garden and the outside of the home

It is important to keep the outside of your home immaculately clean, preventing dirt from being tracked into your home.

  • Windows and window sills should be kept clean. Preferably wipe them once a week.
  • Paths and patios should be swept weekly and hosed down every month.
  • Leaves should be cleared weekly to avoid turning to mulch in the rain.
  • Bins should be cleaned every few months to prevent maggots and flies.
  • Outside window sills, front doors, and facias should be painted yearly to keep up with maintaining your home.
  • The garden should be tidied each week. Weeds should be pulled after it has rained as they are easier to remove when the ground is wet.
  • Watering cans and any other vessels should be stored upside down to prevent stagnant water from building up in them.
  • Drains should be rinsed with washing soda and hot water to remove and prevent greasy build-up.


You can do a few things to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable in your home.

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