23 Jan 2009

rock cakes

Emergency rock cakes baked to refill the empty biscuit jars.

An excerpt from "How to run Your Home Without Help" by Kay Smallshaw
( Persephone Books, London. 2005 Originally published 1949)

"The generally accepted, and most satisfactory plan, is to divide the day's work into three main parts.


This includes bed-making, dusting, sweeping and putting straight the rooms, making the bathroom and lavatory presentable, and also the front porch, hall and stairs.
It may take anything from an hour to two or more, according to the size of the home, the number of people in it, and the general tidiness of all concerned.


Breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner have to be planned, shopped for, cooked or otherwise produced, and then cleared away again.
Three to four hours a day are a fair average to spend."

( Remember there was still post war rationing and perhaps poor refrigeration so food shopping had to be done daily. Also few had access to private cars so walked or bussed to the shops.)


Monday it's washing day, Tuesday turning out the bedrooms, Wednesday the sitting room gets the lion's share, and so on right through the week.
Every day, except perhaps the weekend, has its appointed task.
You can earmark two or three hours for this."

and here is some more

"...You must devote one morning a week at least to the washing you daren't entrust to the laundry.
One day you must concentrate on cooking to the exclusion of all else.
Saturday morning you want to be as free as possible, so that you are clear by lunchtime when your husband comes home.
Sunday is reserved too.
That means there are three days only when you can make house cleaning your main concern.
So you must divide up what has to be done over the three days.

Where shall we begin?... as a starting point, let's say sitting rooms one day, bedrooms the next, hall, stairs, passages, bathroom and lavatory the third.
The kitchen can probably be left until Friday, after the baking is done....try to adjacent rooms at one time, and to work in a light job with a heavier one.
Once you've decided on a plan, stick to it!"

So, there you have it, done and dusted.

Rock cakes

13 Responses to “ ”

  1. "Once you've decided on a plan, stick to it". How true!

    Let's face it, all those household tasks still need to be accomplished, even in our modern times.

  2. It makes organising the home sound so simple!! If
    only I were that organised.LOL

  3. Wow! That sounds remarkably like my own plan that I came up with after reading Fly Lady, an American phenomenom who has modernized housekeeping routines. No wonder it's been working so well for me - it's tried and true.
    I must put that book on my wish list. . .

  4. Hello. My goodness that's just how my Grandma looked after her big old house, she was especially finatical about laundry. I wish I had the luxury of being at home enough to run it like that.

  5. This is a good plan.
    Thank you.


  6. I like the plan, but where are the children in all of this? What did women do with their kids in 1949, ignore them all day? There's no way I can spend 3 or 4 hours on food, menu's and cooking, even half of that is a problem every day.
    Perhaps because my children are still so small they take almost all of my time during the day. It's ok though, I can live with a little mess until they're bigger. :-) I just wonder sometimes if the attitude towards children and how much attention and time they need has changed that much, because we as stay-at-home moms have hardly any time for housework because we spend it all on our children (this is generally speaking of course).


  7. Hi Christine, it actually says in the book that this plan is for a home without children and for when children are of school age. She thinks that you just do the best you can when children are young and know that things will change as the children get older. She also has a separate section for women who work outside of the home.
    I hope that makes you feel better, children have always needed more time and , to a certain extent, the housework can just wai.t

  8. ohhhhh those cookies look divine! I think I can smell them thru the page ;)

  9. A plan is a good start. I'm just not sure how to fit in the homeschooling, animal maintenance, craft work.......

  10. Hi Jenny
    I've got lots of books that describe the "daily round".It's interesting to see how it changes from generation to generation. I also have a few Victorian books that list the duties of "a maid of all work", this makes very interesting reading. I may post on these differences on Monday perhaps. I'm enjoying this 1950s stuff you've got going on at the moment.

  11. Well you know, I live in Serbia and since I have to bake/cook everything from scratch (and usually buy at least bread and milk daily), the cooking/food prearation and clean-up do take up usually a third of my day =). I barely remember the time in the US when could quickly throw something together, LOL.

  12. I love the "Homes" quote from your CWA book. Thanks for sharing.

    All the best, Lana


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.