I’ve always enjoyed learning about homemakers in the past. Many of my favorite parts of the Little House on the Prairie TV show are when they are just doing normal chores. The same is true of shows like Donna Reed and I Love Lucy. How we take care of our homes has changed so much.
Don’t get me wrong, the fact that we can have robots vacuum our houses is pretty awesome. However, we’ve forgotten some valuable skills that homemakers of the past knew and used. These skills still have a lot of value today.
As many of us are searching for a simpler and more frugal life, looking to the past may help. Homemakers of the past were frugal and eco-friendly without really thinking about it. It’s just what you did.
One added benefit of the way homemaking was done in the past is a slimmer waist line. While many things played a role in the weight of women in the past, one was spending more time doing housework. A housewife in the 1950’s burned around 1,000 calories a day by doing housework, now we burn just around 560.
All of this is why I’d like to get back to using the vintage homemaking skills I have and learn more of them. It would be nice to save money, be less reliant on others, and possibly burn a few extra calories.
Here are a few vintage homemaking skills we all should consider learning and using.
Vintage Homemaking Skills
Homemade bread is the best. If you ask me there are few things as good as a piece of freshly made bread. Making your own also saves money and gives you control over the ingredients. Baking bread isn’t hard but it does take time. Though I can’t say I’ve ever regretted taking the time to make bread. Since bread freezing really well, if you have the space, you can make a few loaves at a time and freeze the extra. Saving a little time and effort.
This is one I haven’t mastered yet. I have a sewing machine but haven’t used it much. I’d love to learn to make things like curtains, cloth napkins, and other household products. I’d also like to learn to make at least some simple clothing items, I’m planning to take some of the sewing classes on Craftsy. Even if I don’t always use this skill it’s a good one to have. I can already sew on buttons and do some basic mending but learning to do more will help me to make our clothes last longer.
I can grow flowers and I enjoy it but I’ve never really taken the time to set up a vegetable garden. We are currently looking for a new home and when we find one I hope to build a raised bed to grow some of our food. I also want to try and garden frugally, doing things like starting my own seeds.
Okay I’m going to be honest, this one scares me. I do not want to give my family botulism. I know there are many things to do to prevent this and really it’s quite rare, but poisoning your family is a scary thought! I have some books about canning saved to read soon to help me feel like I’m not going to kill everyone. If I have a garden it would be nice to be able to can some of the things I grow. I also love homemade jellies and jams so I’d like to be able to make those.
Cook more from scratch.
I already cook most of our food from scratch, at least in the way most people mean by that. I want to do more though. I want to start making homemade pasta, I even have the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. I’d even like to learn to make some cheese, especially ricotta. I have no plan to learn to make hard cheeses, that is a much bigger task but things like ricotta and cream cheese, even mozzarella don’t look too difficult. I enjoy cooking and homemade almost always tastes better so this is a skill that will bring many benefits.
I used to be a lot better at this and I want to get back to it. I want to compost what I can and put more effort into recycling and reusing. I also want to be sure to keep track of the food we have and use it up before it goes bad. Food waste really bothers me, it’s like throwing money straight into the trash! I’d love to get our trash down to a very small amount. It’s already less than the average American but I know we can do even better. Less waste isn’t only good for the environment, it’s good for our pocket books!
Learn to do more home improvement projects.
I already have some knowledge in this area thanks to my very handy dad that let me “help” him with projects. I know I can learn more though. Not having to hire people not only saves you money, it’s empowering. I grew up in a family that rarely hired anyone to fix things or do any home improvement projects. I really like that and when we get our new house I’m sure I will have lots of opportunities to learn and practice.
Which of these skills have you mastered? Are there others you think I should add to my list? Any other good resources I should check out?