29 July 2011

Household System


I have made it a rule in my housekeeping arrangements to have a set place—nail, box, bag, nook, or closet—for everything, from a clothes-pole to a darning needle. I have made it a set rule, never to be departed from, to always to put a thing away in its exact place as soon as I have used it. No matter how hurried or fretted I am, back goes the nutmeg-grater, as by instinct, on its nail, the nutmeg in its box, the box on its shelf, just where it has stood for years, and will stand, I suppose, to the end of time with  me. I have made it a set rule to wash the dishes, and all utensils used in cooking, as fast as I have done with them. That necessitates the constant presence of hot water, which is rarely missed from my range, consequently I don’t have a pile of dirty dishes about, and a heap of bowls, boxes, vials, and kettles to wash in a lump, as some housekeepers do that I wot of.—Mrs. Mary A Denison.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

An old nutmeg-grater


It would appear from today's almanac excerpt that keeping a household clean and neat has always been a challenge. But I often think it is more of a challenge to keep a house these days than it was in 1883. We may have modern appliances to help with the work, but we also have a whole lot more stuff to keep track of and clean. Nevertheless, Mrs. Mary A. Denison's advice is downright practical and timeless.

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Anonymous said...

I love this post! I'm just beginning to implement some household cleaning "routines" and putting things away in their place is the key to avoiding clutter.

Here are some more writings by Mrs. Denison (1826-1911), for anyone who is interested:


Herrick Kimball said...

What a great link! I have read a couple of the stories and bookmarked the page to read more later. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

That would work if you're the only one using said items. No matter how many times I say, "This goes here, and that goes there," someone always either leaves it out, or puts in some other, illogical (to my mind) place.

It's a source of constant frustration with me that I am the only one who seems capable of remembering where things go!


Al said...

Does anyone know what the lady in the picture is holding? I can't figure out what that is on the end of the pole.

Herrick Kimball said...

I believe it is a mop or broom made with corn husks. Someone else can correct me if I am wrong.