Historical Housekeeping: The Weekly Cleaning Schedule

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life can get in the way of c lean house.  Maybe I can spend a few minutes each day tidying up here and there, but, for the most part, I end up binge cleaning on a Friday evening or a Saturday morning.  While I may resent the hour upon hour long event of cleaning , I can’t seem to discipline myself to do one thing each day with the intention of spreading out the work.  But it is a goal I plan to focus on…especially if it means less work at one time.  My mother was very good at maintaining a pretty steady cleaning routine, which just adds to her awesomeness and my intention to continue to try to implement a schedule of my own.

But if one looks back a hundred and fifty years a weekly cleaning schedule was a must if a household, with a lack of our modern appliances, was to maintain order and keep the family feed and clean.  Throughout my research I have found several authors who provide well organized and efficient weekly schedules, and I have to say, the cadence of the proposed days sound rather appealing.  With each day given a specific task, one is able to avoid the too often feeling of dread at the thought of six loads of laundry…and thats just in sheets and towels.

Such an example is the 1855 book entitled The Young Housekeeper’s Friend: or A Guide to Domestic Economics and Comfort, which provides a very suitable and typical cleaning schedule.  Written by a women who addresses herself as Mrs. Cornelius, this 100 plus page book gives tips, recipes, and good old-fashioned advice on how any respectable, middle class woman should maintain their house…of course, assuming that the reader has at least one domestic.


Here is her recommended plan:

1855 Weekly Cleaning Schedule

“On MONDAY have the house swept and dusted, the clothes for the wash collected, and such articles mended as should before being washed.

On TUESDAY wash….If there is but one domestic, she is of course to do the washing; but, unless the family is small, she should be excused from doing the cooking or the other ordinary work of the family.

Therefore, on WEDNESDAY, bake and fold the clothes.

On THURSDAY, iron.

On FRIDAY, have all parts of the house that are in constant use, swept and dusted again, the brasses rubbed, and if there are windows to be washed, closets or sleeping rooms to be scoured, let it be done on this day.

On SATURDAY, bake, and provide such a supply as shall supersede the necessity of cooking on Sunday.”


Wish to see a proposed modern cleaning schedule?  Visit Clean Mama.  I may be implementing her schedule myself…

So while we may not all have domestics to help us, we can still create an orderly system so cleaning doesn’t take any more of our precious time then is needed.

And don’t forget to have a magazine or cup of coffee waiting for you when you do finish that sixth load of laundry…I know I will!


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