Household Tips and Budgeting

1930 Ad

In Fran’s clippings on household management and budgeting we can glimpse the science of a making a life — the disciplined schedule, the daily chores, the uses of household items, the ways to maintain the tools of life, and the inventive responses to problems.

An article delineating a daily work schedule to follow:

7-7:30: Prepare Breakfast

8-8:30: Get children to school

8:30-9:30: Get dishes washed, kitchen and dining room in order; marketing list             made up

9:30-10:30: Daily care of living room, bedrooms, bathroom: Put in order, make beds, dust, run carpet sweeper or vacuum over rugs, dry mop

10:30-12:30: Special work: silver, linens, windows, laundry; polish, dust  pictures/books/walls; turn mattresses; clean refrigerator or stove

12:30-2: Prepare luncheon; dishes

2-5: Outdoors, shopping, rest

5-7:30: Prepare, serve dinner; wash dishes

“My Neighbor Says,” a regular column in the Globe where “A Stranger in NH” writes to “Contented Marjories” or “London Lady” writes to “Sunbeam. ” Other selections are addressed to: Dear Sisters, Bubbling Over, Aunt Peggy, Easter 1896, Saucy Squirrel…. They are signed by: Cross Patch, Household Lover, June Girl, Red Rose, The Little Mrs., Aunt Ellen…. Actually, there are many from “The Little Mrs.” The Globe letters become a kind of forum, through which women look out for each other; they instruct, suggest, advise on the domestic arts.

The letter writers advise on how to:

Keep irons from sticking

Sharpen knives to cut more elegant toasting bread

Get iodine stain out with lard, then soap and water

Freeze own ice in a pail outside in Winter to economize

Drink milk because it’s the only food you can eat or drink without others and still             get your five essential elements (carbs, fat, salt, proteins, water)

Soften a hardened paintbrush in boiling vinegar

Keep wool bathing suits in glass jars to protect from moths

Remove soot from the chimney: place a piece of zinc on red-hot coals in the kitchen range or furnace; the vapor that arises while the zinc melts will remove the soot.

Kill aphids on plant roots with nicotine solution

Sponge rugs with hot water and turpentine to keep moths away

Combine leftover fowl, gravy, and stuffing and pour over boiled noodles

During winter sap thickens, but does not freeze – nature’s method of protecting trees from freezing

Cornstarch makes fudge smoother, creamier

Sifted coke ashes spread over the grass on lawn well raked in will correct acidity in             soil

Canvas shoes if much soiled should be washed before whitening is put on. First             scrup with soap and water, stuffing shoes so as to keep their shape, then when dry whiten and set in the sun again until dry.

Then, “Suggestions for Home Builders”: “The up-to-date home has banished the china closet from the dining room” to the pantry – and added “built-in kitchen cabinets.” White sinks and waxed floors are easier to clean.

List for a Canning Calendar: what to can in each month between May and September: rhubarb, strawberries, apricots, peaches, pears, apples, cherries, plums…

In ink, she notes: when packing clothing and furs away sprinkle freely with borax and wrap in newspaper. This prevents destruction by moths and leaves no disagreeable odor.

And, in pencil: To drive away rats & mice: 1 c. sugar, 2/3 c. plaster paris, 1 ½ c. Indian Meal: Mix thoroughly; put in old dish

A “Centerpiece Trick” describes how to mix baking soda, citric acid crystals, and mothballs in a glass bowl of water with flowers floating on top – so the mothballs move up and down due to the chemical reaction.

For a party game give each guest a tape, 1 yard by ½ “ wide, and sharp scissors: Who can cut his piece in half lengthwise the quickest, using left hand only for cutting. If player cuts to edge, he is disqualified.

Newspaper sketch of  “Cottage to be Awarded at Better Homes Show” on display in the Portland Exposition Building: wood clapboard, 20 X 24 feet; modern kitchen; living room, bath, two double bunks, front porch. John Thomas, architect

“Burlap rugs cross-stitched with silk-stocking strips”

p 38: “Frances & Leon H. Plaisted’s Home” she writes above photo advertisement of white clapboard cottage with white picket fence, by Hodgson Houses: pre-fabricated, buildable in 3 – 4 weeks

Ad for hot water heater: “Imagine! Constant automatic hot water for only $19.75!” Just plug in any 110-Ac light socket and you can heat enough water for dish washing, shaving, wash-up, baby’s bottles, etc., every 20 minutes.”

Hand written: Washing Windows

Use witch hazel in the water when you wash windows. About half a cup to a qt. of warm water will make your windows gleam and will be kind to your hands at the same time.

“Profit by Mistakes Made in Your 1943 Victory Garden”: learn to assess accurately the yield so you don’t have too much to can

Handwrites: Stains: Ink:

1)   tomato juice, salt

2)   lemon juice, salt

3)   soak in sour milk and wash it

4)   soak in solution of chloride lime

“Smart Looking Rooms” December 7, 1935

“A bit of tidying each day keeps them ready for unexpected company.”

Weekly Housekeeping Calendar: When to do light or heavy laundry; iron; plan menus; market; clean bedrooms; mend; clean silver; clean kitchen; bathrooms; living room…

“Truth in Cameras”: Prepare for camera portrait

To mend a cracked range, prepare paste of wood ash, salt, water

To pour from cans, make 2 holes; pour from one

105- “Home Sweet Home” graphic in cross-stitch drawing of house among trees, flowers along driveway

To “Regor” from “Chegg’s Wife”: Necessary Linens for Two:

“Noticed in the Globe that you are to be married in the Fall, so am sending you a list of necessary linens. I am sending only the absolutely necessary things, as you will probably need so many things that you will want to buy the least possible and add afterwards.

6-8 sheets & pillow cases; 12 hand towels; 8 bath towels; 8 washcloths; 12 kitchen towels; 2 bath mats; 2 bedspreads; 4 wool blankets; 2 summer-weight blankets; 2 comforters or quilts; 1 damask tablecloth; 1 lace tablecloth; 6-8 damask napkins; 2 luncheon cloths with napkins; lace tea cloths. Also 8 each silver spoons, forks, knives, etc.”

3 other articles on linens for brides on same page

“To keep a black stove looking nice”: when coal stove is cooled at night, “put a lump of fat in a wet cloth and rub over the top”…

“If the closet in which fur coats are hung is dry, keep a dish of water in the closet.”…

1935: Illustration and caption: “The ranch home of [film actors] Joel McCrea and Frances Dee has been selected by the American Architectural Forum as one of the 101 best small houses in America.”

“Every Home Should Have Nice Closets and A Room That is Thoroughly Masculine”

Column on “My Kitchen Shelf” : Interesting and ornamental things should adorn it

“I spend too many hours before the sink to desire to gaze at either tinware or other mundane stuff”

“Save your old coffee, cookie, and candy tins, give them a coating or two of enamel and use them as kitchen containers.”

“Home Notes”

“Boys make Game Rug Out of an Old Linoleum”

Coat with gray paint; varnish; paint designs for checker board, “India or pachisi (as it is called),” horse-racing game

Insert: “What To Do” illustrations and advice:

Eg. Revive a fern with castor oil; add lemon juice drops to quicken whipping cream; rub out rust stains with green tomato; to loosen cork, soak in hot water

Daily Hints for Housekeepers

“It’s an Idea!” column: “A nutpick is the strongest instrument you can use to remove basting threads. The fine curved point seeks out the smallest stitch.”

Household Hints:

A pinch of soda in tomato soup will improve the flavor. Also it improves pea soup. It takes away the bitterness in cranberries. Mix a little sugar in apple pies. It will remove grease spots from wood if washed later in cold water. – From a Reader of the Post

“Newspaper Filling for Cracks in Floors”

Requested by a native of the old Bay State: Soak newspapers in a paste of ½ pound flour, ½ pound alum and 3 quarts of water mixed together and boiled. The mixture, which should be as thick as putty, may be forced into cracks in floors with a case knife. It hardens like papier mache, neatly and permanently filling any crack to which it might be applied.  Mrs. Georgia

(And another “floor crack” filler on p 174: 2 cups flour, 1 tbl. Alum, 3 qts water. Soak pieces of newspaper in this solution and boil well, stirring constantly. Use putty knife to fill in the cracks. “After paste has hardened, apply a satin, and the filled cracks will hardly be visible.”)

To keep the ice chest free from odors keep a piece of charcoal in one corner of the chest.

To clean windows, take one cup of kerosene to one pail of warm water. It makes them glossy and will also keep insects away, by washing with kerosene around windows and doors. Mrs. A. W. Thayer [[[Fire hazard??]]]

Housework System for 8 room house daily schedule and plan


From the 1930s: “Study Shows Five can Live on $2,198” The Heller Committee for Research in Social Economics at the University of California budgeted:

$43.96 for Social Security, unemployment insurance tax, and old age insurance

Food: $622.44

Clothes: $250.58

Shelter: $597.48

Miscellaneous: $693.71

Auto: $226.30

Amusements: 3 theatre/concerts; 3 ½ packages of cigarettes a week; $15 to host             guests

Fran sketches the layout for tables for a dinner for 50 of “the Baptist Brotherhood” she helped to plan at their First Baptist Church in Sanford. She draws “7 tables set in form of cross” with the serving table drawn behind a line with the door leading into the Kitchen. “Cost $10,” she reports and then lists:

1 peck potatoes .25

10 pies 25 c per pie (cherry, lemon, squash, & custard)

1 gal of peas $1.00

1 gal diced carrots .39

15 lb. hamburg $3.00

10 doz. hot rolls $1.20 (not quite enough)

2 lb. butter .60

2 lb. sugar .12

2 lb. coffee  .50 (48 cups of water to 1 lb)

1 qt. milk & 2 cans of canned milk combined for cream

Article: “Thanksgiving Meal for 5 at Home at a Cost of $6”

Inserted: Brochure form 1945: “Food for Two” [Leon and Frances are alone now]

Suggestions for hypothetical family of two, The Youngs, whose income amounts to about $2000 a year, or $170 a month. Includes Weekly Plan for Two ($7 to $8 per week, spring 1945). Issued by the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics, Washington, D.C.

Sample week’s menu: thirty cents per person per day…

Article inserted: Two budgets for Vacation Wardrobe — @ $100 and $200. Budget Number 2 includes: Travel Suit, Top Coat, Straw Hat, Afternoon Dress, Playsuit, Shorts & Shirt, Cycle Outfit, Peasant Blouse, Suit Blouse, Leg Make-up, House Coat, Evening Purse, Evening Dress, Bathing Suit, Straw Handbag, Sneakers, Play Shoes, Calf Pumps, Evening Shoes. Total $199.21

To “Anxious, yet Hopeful” (who wonders if she’ll be able to save as she is about to “get married to the best boy anywhere in New England” on a salary of $15 a week) from “Budgeteer”: “Remember that Paul has Little, and Peter Less”:

Need to budget:

After rent @ $25 a month, each week:

$.27 Insurance

.75 gas

$1 clothing

.50 doctor

$5 food

$.20 hair, face

.25 newspapers

$1.25 household wear/tear, gifts, amusements

Not much left to save….So,

“To pay as we go is the better plan;

If we can’t pay, we won’t go, that’s all.”

“For the Bride With $22.50 a Week”

To “Miss Jennie,” from “Patient Pinchbug”

“Try to get a rental for at most $6 a week unless heated. Electricity and fuel, $3; papers and magazines, 50 cents; insurance $1; recreation 50 cents; food, $5 or $6; savings $3. This totals $20.75. Your husband’s allowance is taken care of. Of the remaining $1.75, keep $.75 for your allowance. For the present add the extra dollar to savings…Best wishes for as happy a married life as mine has been.”


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