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 the Schedules section of my HMG, 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).
-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, and 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:
Make grocery list
Vacuum all rugs
1 monthly chore
Tuesday (Groceries/Free Day)
15-minutes of cleaning in current zone
Weekly kitchen tasks
Rest of zone cleaning work
1 monthly chore
Thursday (Desk/yard work)
Clean out mini-van
1 monthly chore
Friday (Errand Day)
Weekly bathroom tasks
-Any other necessary errands
Change bed linens
1 quarterly or semi-annual chore
Household or craft projects
Day of rest and worship