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Weekly Chores by Day


Remember those cute vintage days of the week kitchen towels that depicted a character in the midst of a household chore? These sweet sets of towels known as Day of the Week Towels, commonly depicted an image of a Dutch girl going about her daily household chores, because the Dutch epitomized cleanliness to many of Americans. These towels really became popular in the 1930-40s, especially after the war and when the economic Depression was recovering, women were back in the kitchen and embracing domestic bliss.

Days of the week embroidered towels available at AmazonThese whimsical towels are more than adorable collectibles, they also offer us a peek into the way our Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers kept house.

Once while talking with my best friend and I asked her “Why is it housekeeping comes so naturally to some, and for others like myself is a mystery”? See, for years I struggled to keep house. Early in my marriage, it was a breeze, with just my husband and myself in a tiny house, no problem! But a few years down the road add three kids in the mix, a full-time farm, sports, a much larger farmhouse with very little storage and I was lost at sea.

Time was always an issue, I never felt I was making headway.

Something had to give.

But, I digress, back to my conversation with my friend. She said something so simple it was genius.

Her answer was: “No one ever taught us to clean“.

For a moment I thought about this, cleaning is simple, do you really need someone to teach you how to clean?

But the more I thought about it the more it occurred to me household maintenance, is an important life skill. My friend’s mother was quite slovenly and didn’t worry about housekeeping. My mother, on the other hand, was particular and wanted things done the way she wanted them done, and sent us kids out to play while she handled ALL of the housekeeping, laundry, and cooking.

For my friend and I, the passing down of domestic customs and routines was skipped. But I am determined to reclaim them. And those sweet little vintage Day of the Week towel sets provided an important window into the past.

Each day of the week was designated to undertake the largest of the weekly chores. There were of course reasons for this, because, for say the laundry, it literally took all day to wash! They were doing it outside in a big pot and hanging it on a line.

Obviously, we have washers and for the most part dryers 🙂 we can accomplish much more in way less time. Why would we still want to devout a whole day to chores like laundry, cleaning, and baking?

I think the answer is because, for me at least, it means we can do it in one day – get it done. And focus on others things the rest of the week.

So inspired by the Day of the week towels, which generally spell out the week as:

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Market on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday.

I am laying out my days in a similar order, only better suited to fit the times:

Wash on Monday
Clean on Tuesday
Bake on Wednesday
Market on Thursday
In Home Office Work on Friday
Catch Up on Saturday
Rest and Family Time on Sunday.

I already have designated one day a week to cleaning, and I will go more into that in its own post, so I am excited to undertake this.

Will you join me in attempting this? Have you or do you keep house on a schedule similar to this? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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Thursday 5th of August 2021

I'm literally in the midst of doing this now - that's how I found this blog. My work is changing my start time and end time to more than 1.5 hours later, so, I will be home alone for that time in the morning, and I don't want to sacrifice time with my daughter in the evening to work on chores. So, I'm trying to set up a system for each day of the week with a "major-ish" chore that I can get done in that time. For Wednesday, I have wash clothes on Wendesdays (I have a utility sink that clogs easily, so I have to watch it during drain cycles, and tend to hang clothes to dry), Floors on Thursdays, Kitchen Clean on Friday (ie inside fridge/oven/microwave, clean out old stuff, etc), Shopping/Errands on Saturday, (obviously will take more than an hour and a half) Sunday Catch Up (I also work a second job Sunday mornings), Bathrooms Mondays, and special projects for Tuesdays (ie things that need to be done monthly or less, or a decluttering blitz or what-have-you). There are always a few daily chores (cat boxes, dishes, garbage/recycling, ten-minute-tidy), but, I'm hoping this will help me get on a more regular cleaning schedule (although, honestly, at the end of the day, I'm not a neat freak or anything, so, it doesn't really bother me if life gets in the way). For now, though, I'm just working on making it a habit for Wednesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and I'll worry about the other days as they come.

Anne H

Monday 12th of October 2020

Louisa May Alcott's book Jack and Jill has a character who gets totally overwhelmed by housework because there is no plan/order to her approach and fails miserably. Her later attempts are more measured and are successful, but it was easier to identify with her well intentioned but haphazard (and unsuccessful) approach :)

Kate Burford

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

CHURN FRIDAY is a good day for writing your state, local, or federal representative. Find out, if possible, the number of the bill you support and include it in the letter. Make posters and get the extra sweater and sunscreen out for Saturday peaceful protests, rallies, . Also, ponder how you can change - and do it. Plow the soil- literally and figuratively to prepare the ground for cultivation. Study electricity, plumbing, mental math Ted Talk, the difference between intellect and intelligence, etc. Gain a computer skill. SCHEDULE AN EXERCISE (including Dancerdize) for each day of the week: Continentals (evening and morning walks each day around your block. Use common sense.) Ex., Monday- Stretching, Tuesday-Cycling, Wednesday- Yoga, etc.) Use Medicine box calendar for takng pilla. Schedule chores, tasks, daydream time, sleep, business, play, reading. If not, your time can be swallowed up without accomplishing what you want and climbing out of daydreams and into physical practicality is more difficult. Be flexible. Remember that truth is relational. Have high expetatoins for yourself. But if you or someone you know is sick expect to take care of yourself on Thursday rather than market. By the way, Brew Thursday could be a day when you have something great being concocted for everyou love. God bless all here.

MaryBeth Myers

Monday 8th of October 2018

I am Dutch & I relate to SO MUCH of what you said, my mom had a set of those towels & I just purchased a set from the hospital craft sale for $30, I thought that was a fair price since handicraft items aren't made as often. My gramma used to tat doilies, towels & pillowcases & I've still got a few items. My mom had a day for everything & a menu that remained unchanged my whole childhood! -I miss her & consider those meals comfort food. Sat. was dusting & that along with winding our grandfather clock, were the only chores in the house that I did from age 7-16, I have seen great reward with having my children help me & need to remember they will only truly learn by trying & NOTHING has to be perfect.

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