Housekeeping – How To?


What is housekeeping?  The literal definition would be ‘keeping house’.  According to the wonders of Google it is ‘the management of household affairs’.  This is a fairly broad definition but allows for everything from shopping, cooking, providing meals to cleaning, organisation, paying bills and filing.  Does this sound familiar?

I am not planning on getting into a debate over the merits of mothers who stay at home versus those who do paid work or male versus female workload within the home.

My interest is more about what you do, how to do it and where you learned the skills/methods that you use.  Today I was at home and it was a sunny winter day here.  I took the towels and bathmat from the bathroom and hung them on the line where they could air thoroughly and dry.

This got me thinking about how often I wash the towels and why.  We have one towel each and a bathmat and these are washed once a week.  I do this because this was the routine my mother used when I was growing up, and I suspect, her mother before that.  That is not to say that that I have religiously followed everything my mother did.  An example is the 3 pegs on the towel:  I do this because I can’t stand the way the towels go out of shape if you just peg them with a peg at each corner.

We have a climate where it is possible to line dry the washing virtually all the year round.  As you can see from the photo the line is undercover which gives protection from the rain and when it is cold we generally have the fire on at night so the washing is finished off indoors.

So, where did you learn your housekeeping routines and skills?  Have they changed and evolved over the years?  Do you ever discuss things of this nature with others – friends or family?  Have you intentionally taught your children or do you just expect that they will work it out for themselves.

14 thoughts on “Housekeeping – How To?

  1. I learnt cooking from my mother but the other things I learnt myself by natural instinct. Cant even remember how my mother washed towels. My daughter is OCD so she certainly wouldn’t be following in my footsteps. We have just pulled down our clothesline that was too shady and bought a Mrs Peggs which we can put in the sun and we also screwed a mini pull out line on the wall for smaller items when we don’t put up Mrs Peggs. Our sunroom is ideal for drying clothes on the Mrs Peggs as well. I don’t believe in routine for housework, but just do things as they are needed or when guests might be coming
    .LOL (lucky we don’t have too many unexpected guests as we are a bit isolated)
    I am pretty fussy about hygiene though and I am good at decluttering.

  2. Interesting questions. I remember being overtly taught a few things, but certainly always being expected to do my fair share of more as a child. Not sure how I learned them all. I intentionally taught my children most tasks around the house, leaving them to it as and when I was ready to ‘let go’ of things being done precisely to my standard. My goal was for them to have the skills and then choose for themselves what to do. While they were growing up, the subject did in fact come up in conversation with other parents from time to time. (Am I weird?)

    • No, you are not weird. I think that many parents consider that making sure children have at least basic housekeeping skills is part of bringing them up. It is good to be able to discuss a range of issues as it engenders debate and opens up other possibilites and ideas.

  3. I imagine I simply learnt by seeing as I don’t remember exact lessons. I love cooking and have done that since about 8. Mum used to work part time and I sometimes helped with cooking then and when I was a teen I used to make pizzas using Mum’s ingredients and sell them to their friends. Working fulltime I try to do a load of washing each night and a chore or two so that there is not a huge amount on the weekends. I change towels twice a week as my husband works in a heavy duty occupation and my son (20) goes to the gym each day and then sheets once a week. I am able to dry in the sun as my husband is home from work about 3pm and will bring it in and I have racks under the patio or in the family room when I need them. Still trying to teach my son the basics but hopefully getting there. He can cook enough for himself so that is something. We are going on holidays for two weeks in October and he will be home alone so some more training needed.

  4. Incredibly interesting! I would say, I learnt a bit from my mother (like you and her, I wash towels informally once a week, which is to say, I wash them if I need to fill up a load, or they are getting stinky, and that ends up being most light loads… I’m less good at remembering the BF’s towel, and his is heavier, so stinkier!)

    I google/pin a lot of cleaning stuff too though! I don’t really talk to others on how I clean, but I would if I knew there was interest!

    • It is not high on the list of topics for general discussion but I think we could all learn a lot if there was more sharing of information and ideas. Perhaps, that is the role of blogs like this. 🙂

  5. My mum was a clean freak. I used to get given the jobs like using a toothpick and toothbrush on stove knobs to get those little bits that get into grooves, light switches and doorknobs. I’m good but now pay for someone to ‘do for me’. No way am I working all week and then having to spend half the weekend cleaning. All my kids (2 boys, 1 girl) have been taught how to cook, clean, do washing/ironing and do basic maintenance, mending and sewing. Something there partners are very grateful to me for! One son seems to have inherited my mum’s anal approach, dishes are just about washed before you’ve finished the last bite. Taught him a bit too well!

  6. I use 3 or 4 pegs on my wet towels and tea towels when hanging them on the line so they keep their shape too. Most of my housekeeping routine is a product of my Mum but also ‘thinking outside the square’ especially when my 2 children came along.

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