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 that 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!
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What is homemaking?
Homemaking is just another word for keeping your home tidy, organised and running well. Homemaking duties may include;
If you want to learn how to make the perfect cake, make a cake 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 make sure that it is decluttered. If you are overwhelmed and need the motivation to declutter, read this post first. If you’re a clutter-free superstar then read on for our top vintage homemaking skills!
- Do the dishes after every meal. Wash up, dry and put away every dish you’ve used after each meal! There is nothing more depressing than waking up to or coming home to a sink full of dishes
- Wipe surfaces after each meal preparation.
- Wipe up spills immediately, this will prevent spilt food drying like glue!
- Sweep the kitchen floor daily, this will prevent crumbs being walked to every other area of the house.
- Make sure 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 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 Discard anything out of date.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.
- 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 you go to bed to save time in the mornings. Sw
- 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
handrailwith disinfectant once a week.
- Dust in between the bannisters with a feather duster once a week.
- Don’t be tempted to leave things on the stairs rather than spending a few extra seconds taking them up and putting them away.
- Keep all surfaces clutter-free.
- Turn down the bedding for about an hour to air the bed before making it,
toprevent sweat and moisture 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.
- 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
openslightly, to keep the room ventilated and encourage a good nights sleep.
- Change bedding at least once a week, 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 mould and mildew 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 toilet floor around the toilet with disinfectant.
- Sprinkle disinfectant down the sink, toilet and plug holes daily.
The kitchen sink
- Wipe the kitchen sink with hot soapy water after each use.
- Wipe taps and draining board after every use.
- Avoid the use of a washing up bowl as this traps dirt and food underneath and allows bits of food to stagnate.
- Make sure 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.
- Wash the dishes after every meal.
- Scrape the plates into the bin and rinse off the worst of the food.
- Pour or scrape any fat into a container or allow to cool and discard into a paper towel, then put it into the outside bin when solid.
- Wash the cleanest items first such as glasses, then cutlery, then plates, cups, casserole dishes and finally pans, in that order.
- Use a Brillo pad or scourer to remove any stubborn and 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 dish cloth 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 build up.
- 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 organised 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 organised.
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 stains. Non-bio detergents are good for people with sensitive skin.
- Biological washing powders contain enzymes which 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 for washing delicate items.
- To brighten white cotton and linens, soak them overnight in a solution of bleach and cold water (diluted to manufactures instructions).
- For tougher stains on white laundry soak in a stronger solution of bleach.
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 the towels 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 to 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 where possible, or alternatively 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 smelling mouldy and mildewy.
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
- Some bed linen
- Some table cloths
- Underwear and socks
How to iron a shirt
- Iron the collar first.
- Iron the sleeves and cuffs next.
- Then iron the right-hand side of the front of the shirt.
- Then move on to the back of the shirt.
- Lastly, iron the left-hand side of the front of the shirt.
After washing and ironing, clothes should always be aired before being put away to prevent mould mildew and damp growth. An airing cupboard or radiator is the best place to air clothes.
- Always make sure the food is cold before putting it in the fridge.
- Wash all fruit and vegetables before storing 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 around to keep the food cold.
- If you have a power cut, food will remain fresh for up to 8 hours as long as you keep the fridge door 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
- 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
- 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
- Polishing Cloths
- Glass cloth
- Scouring pads
If you want a sneaky peek into my cleaning supplies kit read this post!
Windows should be cleaned one a week inside and outside. To find out how to get streak free glass and chrome read this post
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 cards 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:
- Bills connected to the shell of the home.
- Bills connected to each member of the family.
- Bills which are extras.
For example, a couple with no children will spend less money on the bills in group 2 than a family of six would spend.
When doing a budget you must always consider bills in group 1 first, these could be things like:
- Council tax
- Mortgage /Rent
- House repairs
Group 2 expenses for an average family would cover
- Travel expenses and parking
- Children’s sports and activities
- 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.
Money can be saved on household food and cleaning products by buying in bulk where appropriate.
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 income that is remaining.
Using a simple envelope system to save money and to budget for all your household expenses, helps you to stop spending money on things you don’t need.
If you do 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 had been paid off.
Tear up your credit cards and store cards and try to live by the rule that if you can’t pay for it in cash don’t buy it!
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, this will prevent dirt 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 them 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.
There are a few things you can do to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable in your home.
- Keep your home visitor ready, with these quick tips
- Keep your home smelling clean and fresh by keeping windows open and changing the air regularly.
- If you have pets, ensure that pet hairs are removed daily from seating areas. Better still, give pets their own blankets and beds.
- Keep snacks such as olives and crackers in and ready to serve to unexpected guests.
- Make sure bathrooms are spotlessly clean and fresh hand towels are placed out.
- If guests are staying over, make sure they have extra pillows, blankets, and fluffy towels at hand.
- Make sure the guest room is immaculately clean and warm.
Frequently asked questions
Homemaking skills are a set of essential things to learn to help you run a well organised and efficient home. Homemaking skills range from learning how to make hard-boiled eggs, to learn how to decorate your home. Teaching yourself a large arsenal of homemaking skills will mean that you will be able to keep your household running smoothly without having to pay someone to do it for you.
Some homemaking skills can be learnt from our parents and grandparents, but mostly it will be trial and error. If you want to learn how to make the perfect cake, make a cake every day until you get it right, then move on to the next thing you want to perfect.
Meal planning, budgeting to learn how to save money, learning how to cook a Sunday roast chicken, gardening, decorating and DIY, baking, cooking, cleaning, and organising are all great to add to your homemaking skills.
Gardening would definitely be considered one of the homemaking skills and should be scheduled into your weekly cleaning routine. Ensuring your house is clean and tidy outside will help keep your house cleaner inside.
Homemaking and housework shouldn’t be stressful, just do what you can, when you have time. My mum always says “nobody is going to come and check up on you, just do what you can!”
To follow my simple housekeeping routine:
Lack of confidence may be caused by a number of things, it’s best to chat to your mum about how she is feeling in general, rather than making it all about being a homemaker. She may be feeling overwhelmed in other areas of her life and may need some support and help from the whole family.
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