When we think of 1950s housewives eco-friendly isn’t the first thing we think of but maybe it should be! Many of their skills and habits translate perfectly for the homemaker looking to go green.
Housewives in the ’50s wouldn’t have even known the term “go going green” but they still did many green things. While consumerism was becoming a bigger thing post-war, housewives were still quite resourceful.
Their moms lived through the Great Depression and WWII, they learned how to make do or do without. Much of this was handed down to the next generation. And over time we have lost a lot of these skills and values.
I believe we can learn many valuable lessons from 1950s housewives and one of those is how to be greener. With this being Earth Month it’s the perfect time to add some of these vintage eco-friendly habits into your life. The best part is these things are also great for helping you save money.
Green Tips from 1950s Housewives
They Reused Things
Clothes were repaired until they couldn’t be anymore and then were turned into other things, at some point often becoming rags. Jars and such were turned into storage containers. You didn’t just simply throw useful items away.
The average U.S. person now consumes twice as much as they did just 50 years ago. All of that added waste is coming at a cost for our budgets and the planet.
Addition Reading: 9 Things My Grandma Never Threw Away
They Had Smaller Homes
Since the 1950s the average size of homes has more than doubled, even as the average family size has decreased. The average size home in the 1940s and 1950s was 1,100 square feet, in 2002 it was 2,340 square feet.
Bigger homes mean more resources for building and running the home. While a 1,100 square foot home may seem far too small for your family, many of us could do with much less space than we have. My husband and I live in a home built in 1963 and it’s 1,350 square feet. We wouldn’t mind having a bit more storage space but we are looking into adding some storage space in the attic to take care of it.
Overall having a smaller home has been great. It takes less time to clean, it takes less to heat and cool, and we actually use the space we have.
Additional Reading: Reasons to Consider a Smaller Home
They Drove less
While the ’50s did see more families buying cars and more roads being built, people did still walk more often than we do now. Second cars were very uncommon so housewives often walked their kids to school and for errands.
Now the average American family owns 2.28 vehicles. It is predicted by some that this trend will change but for now, it’s still the norm. My husband and I actually only have one car. We are able to have a nicer car and still save money over having two cheaper cars.
Bottom Line: Waste Less and Buy Less
Overall, there was just less stuff consumed and fewer single-use items in the 1950s. Ironically the 1950s is when happiness also peaked. Our increased consumption hasn’t seemed to make us any happier and is doing a number on the planet.
Buying quality items, using less, and using things until they can not be used anymore would do us all a lot of good. Imagine what it could also do for your budget.
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