Inside the Guide – The Weekly Work Schedule

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Today, we’re working on the “Schedules” section of the Home Management Guide. At this point, you’ve hopefully completed your Daily Task List and now we’re going to focus on the “Weekly Work Schedule.”

Back in the 40s and 50s, homemakers had a weekly work schedule that was pretty standard across the country. Each day had its own task, so the work got done in a logical, orderly fashion as the week progressed. It typically went like this:

Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest

There were a few variations, such as a gardening day instead of a separate ironing day, but this is the way most women kept house for more than a hundred years. This schedule was so common that my Grandma even had day-of-the-week dishtowels embroidered with each day’s chore. I still have some of them :)

This was a very logical approach to housework. Laundry was the heaviest task, requiring great physical strength to hand-wring clothes and lug huge baskets of wet laundry to the clothesline. This heavy work was done on Monday, because women were still fresh and rested from Sunday. Tuesday’s ironing logically followed Monday’s washing. Mending and sewing came on Wednesday, to repair any rips, holes, or missing buttons that were discovered while doing the washing and ironing.

In my Schedules section, I have a modern version of this weekly work schedule. I devised this schedule to ensure that I could complete all of my necessary work each week, without feeling overworked and overwhelmed. To make my schedule, I first figured out my absolutely necessary Daily Tasks. Then, I wrote down all of the tasks that didn’t need to be done every day, but should be done at least once a week. For me, these are:

-Clean kitchen and bathrooms thoroughly.
-Change bed linens.
-Make grocery list.
-Empty all trash cans. (We produce very little trash. We primarily use cloth diapers, recycle everything that we possibly can, and all food scraps are either composted, or thrown outside for the local wildlife).
-Dust.
-Vacuum.
-Pay bills and file papers.
-Errands: bank, post office, library.
-Clean out mini-van.
-Weeding and yard work (in spring and summer).

I also made lists of monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual chores (see Making the Rest of Your Task Lists). After I made these lists, I wrote down all of my time commitments for each day of the week. This helped me get a sense for how my tasks should be distributed. For example, Tuesday is my free day and weekly grocery shopping trip. Nothing is scheduled for that day except daily tasks and 15 minutes of zone cleaning. I schedule grocery list-making on Monday so that I’m prepared for the next day’s trip, and I schedule my errands on Friday afternoons. I do my bill paying on Thursdays, and my husband’s paycheck arrives in the mail on Friday mornings, so I have everything ready to drop off at the bank and post office.

I try to schedule Saturdays very lightly, because I feel that this day should be reserved for fun projects or family activities. It’s my opinion that many people do very little throughout the week, and then squander family time by trying to catch up on the weekends. If I do a little each day, I can be free to enjoy my family.

We also really try to keep Sunday for the Lord, though we don’t always succeed. Ideally, this should be a day of prayer, rest and leisure. This can be very difficult to achieve in a society where busy-ness is worn as a badge of honor, but as we know from the Bible, it’s what God wants. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.” ~Exodus 20:8-10.

To assist you in making your own Weekly Work Schedule, I offer mine as an example:

Monday
Daily tasks
Make grocery list
Empty trash
Dust
Vacuum all rugs
1 monthly chore

Tuesday (Groceries/Free Day)
Daily tasks
15-minutes of cleaning in current zone
Grocery shopping

Wednesday
Daily tasks
Weekly kitchen tasks
Rest of zone cleaning work
Sweep porches
1 monthly chore

Thursday (Desk/yard work)
Daily tasks
Bills/letters/filing
Clean out mini-van
Weeding/yard work
1 monthly chore

Friday (Errand Day)
Daily tasks
Weekly bathroom tasks
Errands:
-Bank
-Post office
-Library
-Any other necessary errands

Saturday
Daily tasks
Change bed linens
1 quarterly or semi-annual chore
Household or craft projects

Sunday (Church/Leisure)
Day of rest and worship

Today, try to rough out a Weekly Work Schedule for yourself. Don’t worry about making it perfect, because it will change and evolve over time. Your goal today is to just get an idea of how you can distribute your work each week so that you don’t have to run yourself ragged trying to get everything done all at once.

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Heather is a minimalist in love with a recovering packrat. 7 years ago, she and her husband sold pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down in order to pay off their mortgage, and they've been living happily debt-free ever since. They have 3 hilarious little kids who were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, and they haven't had a good night's sleep in the last decade. Heather is an anglophile who loves all things British, and spends her free time looking at real estate listings in Cornwall. Every day, she and her family work toward a simpler, more meaningful life. Some days are awesome, some are disastrous, and you can read about all of them here.

Have a question? Need a listening ear? Contact Heather, or visit Want What You Have on Facebook.

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2 comments… add one

  1. Erin March 31, 2014, 6:05 pm

    Thank you for ALL of these wonderful and helpful tips. I’m a soon to be SAHM and I am trying to get organized. Please keep posting! I love this blog! :)

    Reply
  2. Vanessa April 3, 2014, 2:05 pm

    I agree Erin! That’s a really wise decision to research this BEFORE you start staying home. I have found you will be stressed and unorganized without a daily schedule and “goals”. Hope you enjoy staying home. It is rewarding. :)

    Reply

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