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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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Being A Good Housewife

Friday 28th of January 2022

[…] One of the biggest parts of a modern day ‘good housewife’ is to make and keep a schedule. Life is busier that it was back then, especially is you are a working housewife, so keeping a schedule can help you a lot. I love this schedule from The Vintage Housewife. […]

Sarah Foreman

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Thank you for this detailed list! I've been trying to research ideas for homemaking as a form of self education. I feel very clueless where I'm at in my life as a homemaker. Though I might not be able to meet this standard it will certainly help as a guideline and give me something for inspiration.

Mary

Friday 14th of January 2022

What is crisping vegetables mean and why does it take time out of the day before preparing dinner?

Allie

Monday 13th of December 2021

Is there any way to resend the schedule I have signed up several times and never received anything. Seems everyone is having the same problem, can you help?

Sandra

Saturday 27th of November 2021

I am currently looking through your blogs! What ideas or advice do you have for someone with young kids (at home)?

Of all the 1950s schedules I’ve found, I never see the women juggling the cleaning with bored toddlers in house. From the stories of my parents/grandparents, times were different back then (moms got a lot done because routines which were acceptable for their generation aren’t acceptable for ours- “latch key kids”☺️).

I’d love to read your perspective on how to adapt a 1950s lifestyle with young toddlers at home (… with 2021 young, quarantined toddlers 😂) in the picture!

Excited to learn more! Thank you for sharing your blog with us!

Abigail

Friday 7th of January 2022

@Sandra, A baby was usually in a playpen or something like that and moved around the house with the mom on her hip, while older children were at school or playing with friends. I'm not a mom so I definitely don't know everything but I hope this helps! Happy new years by the way!

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