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Daily Schedule for the 50’s Housewife

I attempted the vintage housewife challenge last year but fell short in my efforts once spring rolled around. I have a suspicion all the schedules and lists I am finding online where the typical SUBURBAN 1950’s housewife schedule. I live on a small family farm in the Northeast, we are somewhat rural, but not as isolated as families would be on a Midwestern ranch. In the spring and summer I am out helping my husband with the crops, animals, and harvests, I deliver orders to stores, and also spend a significant amount of time running to get tractor parts and taking kids to sporting events. It is not humanly possible to tackle the daily schedule of a 1950’s housewife for me during the spring and summer months, but winter and fall are a whole different story!

I am undeterred by my previous attempt and trying this again! I have created a simple printable to keep myself on schedule during the day if you are joining me in the 1950’s housewife challenge you can get your copy FREE when you subscribe to get emails from The Vintage Housewife to hang on your fridge:  Subscribe to the Weekly email!

4 PDFs displaying the 1950's housewife daily routine, and a daily cleaning and chore checklist.

The schedule which has been widely circulated on the interwebz, and greatly debated, but does seem to be an accurate representation of the typical middle-class suburban 1950’s housewife’s day, and will provide structure for my day going forward. I will undertake all my daily tasks as authentically as possible. The typical family only had one car, which means less impulsive trips into town for me. I will manage the household finances frugally, and provide tasty full meals, complete with dessert DAILY. I will also put forth an effort to bring a little bit of glamor to my appearance (goodbye, yoga pants, and messy hair knot! ).

Daily Schedule for the 50’s Housewife:

  1. Throw back the covers
  2. Open up the blinds and windows
  3. Freshen up
  4. Make and serve breakfast
  5. Clean up breakfast
  6. Complete a 10-minute exercise regime
  7. Shower, do hair and makeup, get dressed
  8. Gather a basket for tidying. As the rooms of the home are tackled, pick up items that aren’t where they belong and place them in a basket. Redistribute them where they should be as you enter a new room
  9. Straighten up the living and dining room, including picking up potential clutter, light dusting, fluffing/straightening pillows, and watering plants or flowers
  10. Make the beds
  11. Tidy the bedroom, including light dusting
  12. Hang up any clothes that may be about or ensure dirty ones are in the hamper
  13. Do a light tidy of the bathroom including removing and replacing used towels, refilling toilet paper and soap (if needed) and cleaning the sink and basin area including soap dishes
  14. Review the menu for the current day and the next and compare it to what’s currently available in the home. Make note of anything that needs to be prepared ahead of time or marketing (shopping) that needs to get done
  15. Begin long-advance preparations for dinner (such as making dessert)
  16. Wipe down kitchen work surfaces and inside the fridge
  17. Dispose of garbage
  18. Rinse dish cloths and hang to dry
  19. Sweep or mop the kitchen floor
  20. Handle errands that might take you out of the home (such as marketing, volunteering, going to the post office, getting an item fixed, etc), bookkeeping, correspondence, or indulge in a hobby
  21. If returning from the grocery store, wash vegetables, wrap them and put them away. Place rest of groceries or purchases in their proper place
  22. Have a quick lunch
  23. Start advance food conditioning like crisping vegetables or thawing frozen foods
  24. Handle weekly chore for the day (more on that below)
  25. Set the table for dinner
  26. Arrange the living room for evening enjoyment (such as “the Mister’s” newspaper, book, and cigarettes)
  27. Do a quick sweep of the floors and ensure entrance ways are clear
  28. Prepare a special dish for dinner
  29. Freshen up before the husband returns from work. Consider changing into something more festive if the day dress is plain
  30. Set out a tray with equipment for making cocktails, should “the Mister” want to serve drinks before dinner
  31. Greet husband “gayly”
  32. Serve dinner
  33. Clear table and wash dishes
  34. Pour boiling water down the sink to ensure pipes are flushed
  35. If necessary, pack the husband’s lunch for the next day. Set aside a lunch tray in the refrigerator for yourself if having leftovers
  36. Set table for breakfast
  37. Ensure breakfast foods are available and do any make-ahead preparations for it
  38. Enjoy an evening of relaxation

Also, each day there is a once-a-week chore to tackle, such as:

  • Use metal polish on bathroom fixtures
  • Clean and disinfect all kitchen appliances
  • Scald and disinfect bread boxes and garbage pails and bins
  • Replace flowers with fresh bouquets

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Sierra

Friday 15th of October 2021

I'm curious about what women on farms daily routine was like, I know it was probably a little different every day and for every person depending on garden size, animals, farm size, etc. but my grandmother talks about how her mom did a lot of the farm work, child care, and housework. So I was wondering if anyone has an idea of what their day might look like?

lee tasha

Wednesday 18th of August 2021

Question about the daily bathing routine. My understanding is that hair washing was not daily, rather it was done weekly and was a pretty big deal (washing, setting, etc) as there weren’t home hair dryers and it wouldn’t be seemly for a wife to go around with a head of wet hair?

Guest

Saturday 7th of August 2021

It was real very easy to find love for a man in those days since most women had very good manners, had respect for men, a very good personality, and very faithful. What in the world happened to the women today?

Jamie

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

I'm curious where taking care of the kids, especially a baby, would fit in!

Mrs. Kirk Howard

Friday 2nd of July 2021

A young baby was usually in a playpen or something like that,and moved around the house with mom, as for older children,at school or playing with friends.... that is what my grandmother did with my mother and uncle. Hopefully helps.

Stephanie

Saturday 12th of June 2021

Oh my I'd have loved to live in the fifties being a housewife doing all the chores on the list thing is as a man it may have been unthinkable.If it could have been able obviously my wife would be the husband going off to work dealing with the finance being waited on hand and foot by her pretty wife.It would be nice if our neighbors interacted with us has a couple doing the coffee morning gossips getting our hair done and hubby being one of the boys.

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