Chapter 2 of Home Comforts discusses the importance of establishing routines and schedules. Without a system of sorts, you'll either feel that your work is never done and lose your motivation, or fall into emergency mode when housework is only done when domestic chaos becomes unbearable. The author discusses setting priorities (such as health and safety) and keeping lists.
She gives an interesting example of an elderly gentleman who has a housekeeping book and writes down the contents of all the closets and cupboards. Cheryl also gives lists of daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual chores and then discusses them in more detail. For working people, she suggests at least some minimal amount of cleaning to be done right after breakfast, before they go to work, so that you return to a reasonably clean house.
Here I'd like to stop and give a suggestion to homemakers without small children who are home alone for the biggest part of the day. Morning is the best time for errands, doctor appointments and visiting, and if you go out in the morning and spend a couple of hours outside, you'll come home rejuvenated and won't experience this feeling of restlessness which comes from being cooped up the whole day.
In this case, her advice also applies to you: try to make your bed, wash the dishes and do at least some picking up, so that you come home to a reasonably decent looking house.
Mrs Mendelson then goes on to discuss weekly routines. According to her, the traditional routine of washing on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, sewing on Wednesday, marketing on Thursday, cleaning on Friday and baking on Saturday was still used till the end of the 1960s. Just for the comparison, Little House In The Big Woods mentions nearly the same weekly schedule, except that Thursday is churning day, and Wednesday chore is mending, not sewing.
The author states that sewing and baking are rather obsolete, but still suggests people continue using a modified version of the weekly routine, and gives her ideas for working couples with small apartments and big houses. One interesting point she makes is that it's more efficient to designate a special laundry day than do a load each day; or at least to do it twice a week. I have been pondering this issue and it appears to me that the old weekly schedule still makes sense (with the exception of churning, of course:).
I know many people don't iron but I still do, and since I have no dryer, my laundry is never dry all on the same day, so Tuesday is the day when I do the most of folding and putting away anyway. Cheryl, by the way, suggests choosing a second day for mini-laundering and having Wednesday as the odd-job day, used for mending, paying the bills and doing odd jobs. Ironically, in the Little House times it was a mending day, too; and those who sew can still use it as a sewing day. You can still market on Thursday, clean on Friday and bake on Saturday and so preserve an old tradition from dying out. I should add that if you don't usually bake, Saturday can be used for cooking something extra, then freezing it in.
A funny thing is that Mrs Mendelson keeps talking about how easy modern housekeeping is, even for working couples, and then proceeds to give quite an extensive list of weekly chores, like changing bed linens twice a week (the last info I've read on the issue is that up to once in 2 weeks is still considered hygienic); washing the whole bathroom including tiles (an abbreviated version of it costs the housekeeper 1 hour), and cleaning your fridge every week (takes me more than 1 hour). How are you supposed to do it all after your normal working hours is a riddle; though, to be fair, she suggests doing major housecleaning on Saturday for working couples.
She then encourages people to do a yearly spring cleaning, discusses the order of work and debates whether vacuuming should be done first or last. I freely admit that I do it first, which is apparently wrong, but it suits me just fine so I doubt it'll change. In conclusion, the author mentions little touches such as fresh flowers or baked goodies to make your house homey. All in all, lots of useful info in this chapter.