In the 1940s housewives workloads grew due to World War II. During this time they came up with many unique ways to get housework done faster.
During World War II homemaking changed forever. Around 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Force, both at home and abroad. That coupled with the widespread enlistment from men and women left to feel the gaps in the labor force meant a huge rise in women working outside of the home.
Between 1940 and 1945, the percentage of women in the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent. By 1945 nearly one out of four married women worked outside of the home.
Even the women that didn’t work outside of the home and increased workloads. Some helped other women that worked outside of the home, they volunteered, they started victory gardens, and performed other tasks to help with the war effort.
I truly admire the women of the 1940s. It was a tough time but they met the challenges with strength and grace. And in the U.S. women were lucky compared to those in Europe. It was such a tragic and trying time.
Now nearly 57 percent of women work outside of the home. Full-time homemaking is becoming less and less common. This means now more than ever we need to find ways to save time when it comes to homemaking.
We can look to the 1940s housewives for some great tips. Many of them suddenly had to take on more of a workload so many of their tips are pretty ingenious.
How to Get Housework Done Faster Like 1940s Housewives
Prepare the Night Before
Gone were the days of getting up before the family and preparing and then taking care of other chores once they had all gone off to work and school. Time was more precious now.
One housewife shared to a magazine that she loathed rushing at breakfast time. This got her to start preparing the night before so everything would be more relaxed in the morning.
This is still a great tip. As part of your evening routine prepare for breakfast the next day. Set out the dishes everyone will need, set up the coffee maker, and prep any food. You will be off to a great start when you wake up.
Keep Your Meal Plans
Meal prep in the 1940s became harder as some food became more scarce. Budgets were also stretched with many men off to war and rising food costs back at home.
A simple meal planning tactic of one homemaker was to use a simple notebook that could be kept in her handbag to have her shopping list on one side and the meal plan on the other.
If she was having trouble making your menu she could flip back to past menus and take ideas from those.
Prepare Your Food Right Away
Instead of having all day to plan and prep many homemakers now would be getting home shortly before time to cook.
One tip is to wash and prep vegetables as soon as you bring them home from the store. Then you can just grab what you need for dinner and it’s all ready to go.
Use an Apron
An apron can be a very useful tool. It can keep your clothes clean so you don’t need to change before rushing off to your job, volunteering, or errands.
It can also save you time by being a carryall. The pockets can hold cleaning tools or you can put little things you find while cleaning in them to take to the trash or another room.
When you get busy you are even more likely to forget tasks you need to do. Making a list Monday morning or even Sunday night of all your tasks for the week can help you stay on top of things.
Use an Alarm Clock
If you find yourself easily distracted or just being a bit slow, set the alarm clock for the time in which you should be able to get the task done it and do it.
Racing the clock helps keep you on track and usually will cause you to move a bit faster. And this tip is even easier now with smartphones, we always have an alarm clock with us.
The wartime homemakers were resourceful and we can learn so much from them. These few tips show that even though it’s been many decades there is still value in learning from these ladies.