As a woman, I am happy to live in a society where I can now vote and show my ankles. However, there is much to be said about that ‘50s housewife! They were the epitome of what a wife “should be” (in that era – I think my brazen “housewife” etiquette is a little better suited to the current one). Now don’t get your knickers in a knot; there are many things about a ‘50s housewife that I am happy never made it into the new decades. For example, I am happy to slum around the house in baggy pajamas on a Sunday afternoon, rather than look prim and proper while I start the first phase of Sunday night’s dinner at 10 in the morning. I also have my moments where one might compare my cursing to that of a certain sea dog.
Alas, there is one trait about the ‘50s housewife that I can’t help but envy – and try to invoke! – and that is her housecleaning regime. Think back to the old sitcoms that were set in the ‘50s. Are you seeing a spic and span house that positively glitters from pink linoleum floors to white popcorn ceiling? Yes, me too. It’s not a coincidence that the era of the “perfect housewife” corresponds with the ultimate in housecleaning. They were the women who boasted perfection! And I am now the woman who boasts their cleaning skills.
The biggest tip I have learned from my ‘50s ladies is to tidy. One of the largest changes that have occurred between then and now is that our standards of cleaning have dwindled. Distractions are everywhere and most of us tend to let things slip a bit and then do one massive clean every week or even month. This likely results in your whole Sunday spent dripping sweat and cursing yourself. The trick is to keep it clean.
A ‘50s housewife would normally start her day by making the beds and straightening up the house. This meant replacing items into their correct spot (modern times: think jackets strewn on the couch or your kids’ toys on the floor) and giving a light dusting to the room. They would move on to wiping down the kitchen surfaces, disposing of the garbage, and sweeping/mopping the floors. Sounds a bit more like your regular Sunday cleaning fest now, doesn’t it?
But the kicker is, if you do these “chores” every day, they become part of your routine that take up only minutes of your time. When I started invoking my inner ‘50s housewife, I actually found myself saving time – or at least, saving the important time (i.e. Sunday afternoons!). I still have one “big clean” a month, but it takes a fraction of the time since everything is already tidy!
Thinking about it now, maybe it was these time-saving ways of cleaning that allowed the housewives to create their elaborate Sunday meals. Kudos to them; I’ll just kick back with The Honeymooners this weekend.