Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More on The Vintage Housewife

To continue with the topic previously discussed, here is an example of the weekly household activities:

(cleaning of) hall, staircase, bathroom, in the afternoon sorting clothes for the laundering service and washing at home

putting trashcan outside, washing

putting kitchen trashcan outside, folding and checking the laundry, setting apart things which need to be repaired; in the afternoon children and/or mending stockings or cleaning

exercises for housewives, clothes' repair, in the afternoon ironing, household accounts

putting trashcan outside, cleaning girl comes, together with her deep cleaning one of the rooms or a wardrobe, in any case hall, staircase, bathroom; in the afternoon shopping in town

putting kitchen trashcan outside, making some special food for Sunday; working at household accounts, planning for the next week, writing down what needs to be done, in the afternoon children and/or husband

the day of rest. Try to create nice atmosphere for husband and children, if it's a family custom, go to church, and try to relax as far as possible.


  1. Housewife from FinlandApril 15, 2015 at 6:00 AM

    What is this trash can thing? Here in Finland people have large trash containers outside and carbige bag (from kitchen) is taken to that at least once a day. Container is emptied by agreement, usually once in two weeks.

    I really do not see why ordinary housewife should have cleaning girl or use the laundering service. I mean, what's the point of being housewife if you do nothing yourself? Finnish housewifery books usually contain much more hard work. (since we have always been so poor, I guess.)

  2. I'm not sure but I think they meant to take the garbage can out to air it or something.

    People used the laundering service because most didn't have a washing machine, as for cleaning girl, they can be a tremendous help. why, I wish I had one myself as I never seem to have time for deep cleaning:)

  3. BTW, my book has a whole chapter on how to deal with domestic employees:)

  4. Housewife from FinlandApril 15, 2015 at 6:49 AM

    I could never have a cleaning girl. I would hate someone else touching my things... My sister (who works) does use some cleaning service.

    I think here most people just hand washed (and boiled) everything before washing machines became common. My books are full of advices how to clean clothes that cannot be washed in water, so you didn't need to "waste money" for dry cleaning. Silk dresses were washed in gasoline...

  5. I used to have one and she was great but then she decided to get married. BTW, the schedule example doesn't include daily cleaning (which was discussed in the previous post) but additional jobs for each day.

    Here people who couldn't afford a washing machine used to rent one, but having help around the house was considered quite normal. Those too poor to afford it usually made their children do a lot of things, unlike now. For instance, a relative of mine had to wash the family clothes together with her brother before school every Monday, so she had to wake up at 5 a.m. she had to knit socks for other children, her sister made breakfast for everyone etc etc.

  6. I have a hard time finding the time for deep cleaning, sometimes even light cleaning. I have only one child (10) and another on the way, but the best house cleaning routine I ever had was when my firstborn was a baby/toddler and still napping. We had only one car which my husband used for work, so I was home all day every day except Saturday when I grocery shopped and managed quite well.

    Now with school drop off and pick up and getting groceries during the week as well as other errands, I find it challenging to keep up with the everyday (dishes, laundry, sweeping, cooking, tidying....) and get the more deeper cleaning done.

    I would love a girl to help out, but I do my best and remain content.

  7. It probably also depends on what for sort house you have. For instance, I have three staircases in mine, it's a heck of a house to clean...

  8. Housewife from FinlandApril 15, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    What do you mean by deep cleaning? I haven't heard that term before.

    Our flat is rather small and in one level so cleaning isn't that big deal, especially since we have no children. Dog brings a lot of dirt in, though, and drops awfully lot of hair.

    Offtopic: Have you seen movie "The Quiet Man", starring John Wayne? I just watched it and thought you Sanne might enjoy it. I did. :)

  9. Well, deep cleaning is like taking one area and cleaning everything: walls, ceiling, cupboards, washing curtains, vacuuming books, stuff like that.
    I seriously envy people who live in one level. But then running up and down those staircases counts as fitness, does it now?:)

    Housewife, do many people in Finland live in apartments? Also do you iron everything? My mil irons even socks and underwear. As for the movie you mentioned, yes, I heard so much about it, but I never watched it. Right now I'm watching like 33 different TV series so I must find time for a movie. I have one on my planning list which I'm also going to write about after I've seen it, and then may be I'll watch "The Quiet Man".

  10. With all the ammenities today; life is easier in the home. Most of us have automatic dishwashers, washers and dryers, and built in vacuums. I've never thought that it was difficult to stay on top of regular housecleaning. Cleaning windows is an extra, for sure. If each child takes on a chore, that helps a great deal. I think it's important that you find time in the week to help someone else. There's usually a sick person or someone who needs a call or a visit. That is more gratifying than a perfect house.

  11. What is a built in vacuum? BTW, we have neither dishwasher nor dryer. I'm not sure life is that much easier, the only really physically exhausting chore which people don't do any more is washing by hand, and even that wasn't always completely done at home as shown by the book. What changed is that we have more relaxed cleaning standards. You were supposed to wash all the windows by-weekly, who is doing it nowadays?

    Here folks usually have their own social circles in which they move and do their visiting etc.

  12. But I agree people should make more time for each other, social contacts are very important.

  13. A built in vacuum is where the pipes are in the walls and connect to a cannister (usually in the garage or in the basement.) You just plug in the vacuum with a long hose into the outlet in the wall. A very handy invention. We have much more relaxed standards. I see good and bad in that.

  14. Marietta, I've never heard of anyone who has a built-in vacuum, not even people who live in apartments. May be, they have it in those expensive complexes for the rich where they also have swimming pools, I don't know.

  15. Housewife from FinlandApril 16, 2015 at 4:08 AM

    Here in Finland built in vacuums are rahter common in new houses. if you have your own house, that is, if you live in apartment house you can just dream about such a thing. My parents had one in their old house and it was very handy. It can also be installed in an older house.

    To Sanne's questions: it is quite common to live in apartment, houses are really expensive (all the insulation and heating.)

    About ironing: I iron nothing... All my clothes are wrinkle-free, even collared shirts.If my hubby needs ironed shirt he irons it himself. But most of his shirts are also wrinkle-free.

    About relaxed standards: I think it depends on what era you compare, or maybe culture. In my old housekeeping books nobody washes windows more than twice a year. Those books are from 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's. Since most people used to live on countryside and had to take care of the cattle and do their own baking they just didn't have time to wash windows all the time.

    In my opinion here in Finland people seem to be having higher and higher cleaning standards. I have heard even men saying that they vacuum every day because they have a dog.

  16. Dutch housewives were known for their high standards. Washing windows at least once a month is still considered a must, and most people, even working women iron. I also have wrinkle free clothes but I iron pajamas, tea towels, bed linens, t-shirts, stuff like that. I wouldn't dream of telling my husband to iron his own things.He wouldn't do it, either. It's just normal over here, just like serving your husband coffee.

    When the vacuum-cleaner first was invented, farm wives would vacuum the cows to keep them dust free (seen a picture like this in a magazine).

    I'd say, however, that German women beat us at housekeeping as those living in the country usually have huge gardens as well. And, their houses are usually bigger.

  17. BTW, I've read somewhere (unfortunately, I don't have the link) that Italian women do the most of the housekeeping among the Westerners, 30 hours a week not counting shopping, food preparation and childcare. American women do the least, 2 hours a week. Holland wasn't mentioned so I don't know where we stand:)

  18. I'm American and do way more than 2 hours of housekeeping. Of course, I'm a housewife, so maybe the study concentrated more on women who work outside the home. General day to day for me would be about 3-4 hours/day, not counting Sunday: laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, bed making, tidying, bathroom wipe downs, dishwashing, kitchen wipe downs, etc. Cleaning the whole house weekly (dusting, thorough vacuuming, cleaning wood floors, thorough bathroom and kitchen cleaning) takes about 6 hours. So I guess my number would be 24 hours on the low end and 30 hours on the high end.

    Add to all that 3 square meals a day consisting primarily of homemade food, a snack or two in between, running back and forth to school, taking a daily walk, helping with homework and other child related tasks, making sure my husband is happy, shopping for groceries twice a week, mending clothing, calling older relatives, letter writing, volunteering and helping others out..... I'd say I'm a pretty hardworking American housewife.

    I love every minute of it though, and I wouldn't trade my life for anything. My husband did say that after the new baby arrives, we'll manage some household help at least once or twice a month. That is a wonderful thought for when the family help runs out.

    Every home is different and we all have different priorities and standards. This is what I do, and it works for my family. It certainly isn't a breeze even with all the modern comforts, but I love it!

  19. The study focused on the national average. In America, more women work full time than in many European countries, and in Italy few women work compared to other EU countries.

    BTW, about vacuuming, I can see how folks who own pets would try to vacuum every day, however, I don't do it. I try to vacuum three times a week when possible.

  20. I think some of you are neat freaks! Just kidding. I love clean windows and mirrors - just don't get around to doing them all every 2 weeks. I also look after my own car, making sure that it gets proper tune ups at the garage. I do as much yard work as I can. It takes 2 hours to mow the lawn with the tractor. I love getting that done before Saturday. Our days fill up quickly!

  21. I don't do my windows every two weeks, either. I used to do them once a month but the last half year or so I had so many different things going in my life that I let my housekeeping slip completely, and then I became sick and it took me a very long time to recover. Right now I'm trying to put myself back on track. I think there are also cultural differences. For instance, just as my husband wouldn't dream of ironing, I would never think of mowing the lawn with the tractor:) I think these discussions are fun as we can learn from each other and make comparisons.

  22. Housewife from FinlandApril 17, 2015 at 3:30 AM

    Here in Finland people do windows twice a year because in the old times double windows were removed for summer and put back for winter and windows were cleanede at the same time. (Nowadays we have triple windows all the time. That's why people don't clean them so often, it is ridicilous amount of work to clean all the surfaces.)

    I usually vacuum once a week and "critical points" more often. But here we always remove our shoes when we come in, so most of the dirt is left in vestibule -and I always wipe dogs paws when we come in.

    I would iron for my husband if he wanted me to, but he seems to be happy enough to do it himself. :) He does that only when he needs to dress up; his work clothes are washed by his employer and otherwise we dress very casually in Finland. I mean ordinary people, salesmen and corporate leaders do wear suits.

    If cooking is excluded, I propably spend 7-10 hours per week doing housework. I know it sounds little but it's the best I can do with my current health.

    We don't have own yard but when we go to summer cottage (hubby has a share of their families cottage) I don't mind chopping wood or carrying water (cottage is off grid.). Hubby usually moves the lawn since I hate loud noises and he also likes to cook when we are there. I do the dishes. :)