Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Odds & Ends" ~ Monthly Home Maintenance Series


"There are certain odds and ends where every housekeeper will gain much by having a regular time to attend them. Let this time be the last Saturday forenoon in every month, or any other time more agreeable; but let there be a regular fixed time once a month in which the housekeeper will attend to the following things..."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873

Our home has been a hotel of sorts for the last eight months and we desperately need to regroup in this little farmhouse. When you are limited on space, you begin to place things "for the time being" in areas that turn into cluttered chaos. I can not wait to tackle all those spots, place everything back into order and restock our inventory of household supplies (just the thought of it makes me smile)! Would you like to join us in our "odds and ends" journey? We will be sharing our progress in little snippets along the way.


This is actually something I have been doing for many years and was excited when I read that Catharine Beecher suggested it as well (she was the Victorian Era "Martha Stewart" of the time). Are you ready for Ms. Beecher's list of seven recommendations? Though some steps will not apply to our modern era, I think you can get the idea!


  • "First. Go around every room, drawer, and closet in the house, and see what is out of order, and what needs to be done, and make arrangements as to time and manner of doing it.
  • Second. Examine the store-closet, and see if there is a proper supply of all articles needed there.
  • Third. Go to the cellar, and see if the salted provision, vegetables, pickles, vinegar, and all other articles stored in the cellar are in proper order, and examine all the preserves and jellies.
  • Fourth. Examine the trunk or closet of family linen, and see what needs to be repaired and renewed.
  • Fifth. See if there is a supply of dish-towels, dish-cloths, bags, holders, floor-cloths, dust-cloths, wrapping-paper, twine, lamp-wicks, and all other articles needed in kitchen work. 
  • Sixth. Count over the spoons, knives, and forks, and examine all the various household utensils, to see what needs replacing and what should be repaired.
  • Seventh. Have in a box a hammer, tacks, pincers, gimlets, nails, screws, screw-driver, small saw, and two sizes of chisels for emergencies when no regular workman is at hand. Also be prepared to set glass. Every lady should be able in emergency to do such jobs herself."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873




As a tune up on your car makes everything run smoothly, so does this monthly tune-up on your home! It is purely a pleasure to live in a house that has been kept up (and quite frustrating to live in disarray). We will begin this "odds and ends" maintenance by restocking our cleaning closet. Then we shall attend to each area, adding little homemaking touches of love along the way. Doesn't this sound wonderful?!

Complete Steps in Series:

Step #1 ~ What Needs to Be Done in Your Home?
Step #2 ~ Restocking the Cleaning Closet
Step #2, 3, 5, 6 ~ Examining the Store-Closet, Pantry, Cellar and Such
Step #4 ~ Examining the "Table Linens"
Step #4 ~ Examining the "Bed Linens"
Step #7 Examining the Toolbox and/or "Junk Drawer"

Checklist for Preparing Your Own Maintenance:

"Odds and Ends" Monthly Home Maintenance ~ Printable Checklist

You will find more home organization ideas here if you are interested.


"A housekeeper who will have a regular time for attending to these particulars will find her whole family machinery moving easily and well; but one who does not, will constantly be finding something out of joint, and an unquiet, secret apprehension of duties left undone or forgotten, which no other method will so effectually remove."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873


28 comments:

  1. Oh I just love this! The housekeeping skills in the 1800s are the same today. I'm doing a bit of it, to. No drawer, box or closet will be safe! ~Pamela

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    1. Watch out closets :) Thanks for the smile Pamela!!

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  2. This is a great reminder to keep up with these easily forgotten areas! It's managable and not overwhelming when you think of it in terms of 'once a month'!

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    1. Absolutely! Hope all is well Farmlife Chick :)

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  3. Hi Jes, I'm afraid Catharine Beecher would be very disappointed with me. I'm the type she was thinking of when she said "out of joint". Thanks for this lovely post, which is so beautifully written up. I'll share it. ~ Abby

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    1. Abby, you made me laugh! And thank you for sharing ;)

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  4. I'm in! My home is most definitely "out of joint" right now!! Reminders and inspiration are always nice.

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    1. I think so too! Thanks for joining us Darlene! :)

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  5. I'm "new" here... and am loving/appreciating the inspiration...I receive daily. You have a lovely blog and I do plan to continue to come back here often.

    I'm also a lover of quotes and all things old-fashioned... These two ladies, Harriet & Catherine sounds like ones with whom I need to just sit and visit with...wow!

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    1. Ah, thank you for sharing Bevy! Looks like we have a lot in common then :)

      P.S. Harriet Stowe (sister and co-author of the book mentioned above was the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin)

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  6. Very interesting post. I enjoy reading it. Thanks for coming by and reading my 5 minute chores post. I enjoyed writing that one and linking it. I'll be back to link again and visit you.
    Have a great Friday,
    Sherry

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    1. Thank you Sherry, I look forward to your visit :)

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  7. What a beautiful and thorough approach to cleaning. I sure could use some tips right now since this hot weather is making me lazy. It's so easy to put things off until "next week", lol. Thank you for sharing this lovely post. Have a great evening!

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    1. Heat does drain the inspiration drive! Perhaps an iced coffee to kick start your "Odds and Ends"?

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  8. Very fun post! I love reading the wise advice given by those in by gone days.

    -Sarah

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    1. Old fashioned advice is still as solid as it was in the day! Thanks for stopping by Sarah :)

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  9. Oh thank you. Now I have another house keeping book to look for.

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    1. Can one ever have enough housekeeping books!! I love them all :)

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  10. Currently spending my ‘spare moments’ reading a lovely text written in 1921 concerning home efficiency plans. My husband is trying to stay out of the way, as I’m thinking my for-sale-house may need a bit of tweaking if we need to be here a tad longer. What was I thinking? Today I organized my Hoosier cupboard as well as packed the larger pans. Hopefully we will get relocated by Thanksgiving! D.

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    1. Thanks for sharing D! Your text sounds delightful as I love most vintage literature... And organizing, well that is always a favorite subject! May you find a place to call home by November :)

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  11. You always teach me something new and interesting with your delightful posts, JES. It's always such a pleasure to visit you and I appreciate your wisdom.

    Happy weekend to you!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Stephanie :) And a happy weekend to you!

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  12. What a wonderful post. I love learning from those industrious women who have gone before. I'm always amazed at how much they managed to get done while remaining completely lady-like. Thanks for this great post!

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    1. I couldn't agree more! So resourceful, industrious and feminine :)

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  13. Beautiful post and such a good idea. I hadn't thought of having a specific time to do those things. They usually just get pushed off because of the things that need to be done immediately.
    Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,
    Laura

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    1. True, sometimes we just need to do what we can, when we can. I call that survival mode :) Then, there are those special moments of time we find and projects like these are ready to be tackled.

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  14. I am just behind on my reading, but I am going to start at the beginning and do each step. I am always in need of plans like this. The house seems to get out of control so easily and quickly. This week I've had a stomach virus and am just getting better and it is a disaster! Looking forward to working through the series.

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    1. This is more of a "regroup" type of cleaning and I really enjoy how it all feels when done! Hope it helps :)

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