|Picture Credit: MY HOME IDEAS|
I recently read this great article in THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Very insightful!
Old-fashioned housekeeping tips from Dallas-Fort Worth grandmothers
Published 08 January 2010
By: Jamie Knodel
Grandmothers are masters of handing out hugs and kisses. They're also masters in the kitchen, with a needle and thread, in the laundry room, and at handing out advice. They know how to make a home and keep it in running order. And more often than not, they know how to do it without spending much money.
Younger generations seem to have missed out on some of the lessons that their grandmothers knew so well. Those everyday, practical skills - sewing a missing button on a cuff, roasting a chicken, getting a garden to grow - can help stretch today's household budgets as well.
Author Erin Bried got tired of not knowing these skills, so she went straight to the experts: grandmothers. She cataloged household tips and practical advice from 10 grandmothers across the U.S. in How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew (Ballantine Books, $15).
We wondered what lessons North Texas grandmothers had to share. Here are their tips for making a house a home, and a home that can stick to a budget.
Lila Brooks, 81, of South Dallas
Get a routine and stick to it: In Brooks' home, Saturday was cleaning day - the bed linens were changed; the laundry was washed, ironed and ready to go for the next week; the floors were scrubbed; windows were washed; and all the work was done before the family went out to have fun. They didn't have to worry about heavy-duty chores for another week.
Get familiar with your sewing kit: Save your clothes and extend their lives by knowing how to patch jeans, sew on buttons and repair busted zippers.
Forget about dilly-dallying: Get up and get busy. "Get your house straightened right away. Start off by making your bed first thing," Brooks says.
Expect the unexpected: Brooks is always ready for whoever might drop by, something she learned from her own grandmother. The house is kept tidy so when guests pop in, there's no need to scurry around, straightening the house.
Frances Beckwith, 92, of Fort Worth
Above all else, have some respect: Whether it's for people or for things, treat things properly.
Love your linens: "It's a shame that today people don't use linens the way they used to." Dress a table before having company to a dinner or party, Beckwith says. Retire place mats and cloths when years of use and laundering start to show.
Quality counts: Save to buy the nicest pieces of furniture you can afford, then care for them. Keep furniture dusted and protected from sharp-edged decorations.
Good day, sunshine: Hang your clothes to dry on a clothesline, "so they'll smell sweet like the sunshine."
Use the good stuff: If you've got china, use it when entertaining. Paper is almost never OK in Beckwith's book.
Bea Kassees, 79, of East Dallas
Don't be afraid to accept help: Kassees' mother-in-law lived with her when her children where young. "She loved to cook, and I loved to let her cook." Kassees appreciated the help as well as the skills she learned from her husband's mother. To this day, her mother-in-law's Middle Eastern recipes are the ones her grandchildren request most often.
Ground hamburger is your friend: Kassees says to help her grocery dollar go further, she came up with "10,000 ways of cooking hamburger."
Utilize the oil of the gods: Kassees used olive oil to help ward off everything from stomach trouble to complexion issues. She's been known to apply it directly to super dry skin to provide relief.
Be a teacher: Parents need to get their children started with chores early. Teach them skills as you're doing the tasks. Let kids help make the beds, wash the dishes, put away the laundry. There's no need to wait until they're a certain age; teach them bit by bit. Before you know it, they'll be better than their teacher.
Norma Field, 86, of North Dallas
Eat leftovers: Don't let foods go to waste. If your husband doesn't like them, train him to by serving them until he eats them.
Simple is best: Keep clutter and knickknacks to a minimum; there's less to clean around that way.
Jump into new challenges: When she got married at 29, Field had never cooked a meal in her life. That didn't stop her from learning.
Don't try to do it all yourself: Field's husband helped around the house. They split the household chores - he cleaned the bathrooms, she did the cooking - and took a team approach to housekeeping and child-rearing.
A fresh start: Always start the day by making your bed, and never go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.
How to Sew a Button
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FLAIR CLEANING TIPS FOR A TIDY HOUSE: EVERY DAY
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- MAKE THE BEDS FIRST THING EVERY DAY. A MADE-UP BED MAKES THE ROOM AUTOMATICALLY LOOK 75% MORE STRAIGHT.
- DO LAUNDRY EVERY SINGLE DAY, IF NOT SEVERAL TIMES EACH DAY- ALLOWING THE LAUNDRY TO STACK UP IS VERY OVERWHELMING. WASH EACH DAY AND, THE PILE WILL NOT SEEM AS DAUNTING.
- DISINFECT TOILETS EVERY SINGLE DAY. THIS HABIT WILL CUT DOWN ON GERMS AND, YOU WILL FEEL A LITTLE MORE TIDY WITH A SPARKLING TOILET BOWL EACH DAY. * FLAIR TIP: STORE A BOTTLE OF CLOROX CLEAN-UP IN EACH BATHROOM AND, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GRAB, SPRAY AND CLEAN....QUICK AND EASY!
- ADOPT THE ATTITUDE THAT KEEPING HOUSE IS VERY MUCH A DAILY TASK. CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY AS YOU CLEAN UP AND, TREAT YOURSELF TO A CUP OF COFFEE OR HOT TEA AFTER YOUR ARE FINISHED.
- SORT THE MAIL RIGHT WHEN YOU TAKE IT OUT OF THE MAIL BOX. THROW OUT JUNK MAIL, RESPOND TO AN INVITATION AND FILE THE BILLS. PRACTICE THIS EVERY DAY AND, I PROMISE, YOU WILL NOT HAVE A STACK OF MAIL 'LOOKING' YOU IN THE FACE.
- EMPTY TRASH CANS EVERY SINGLE DAY. I EMPTY TRASH CANS IN THE BATH ROOM AND UNDER THE KITCHEN SINK ON A DAILY BASIS. LOOKING AT AN EMPTY TRASH CAN MAKES ME SMILE!
- LOAD THE DISH WASHER EACH NIGHT BEFORE YOU GET IN BED AND, PUSH 'START'. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE WAKING UP TO CLEAN DISHES.
- PREPARE THE COFFEE MAKER THE NIGHT BEFORE. LOAD THE FILTER, THE COFFEE AND, SET OUT THE CUPS. FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS PRESS "START" AND, YOUR CUP OF HOT COFFEE IS MINUTES AWAY!
YOUR TIDY HOUSE IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! CLEAN YOUR HOUSE WITH FLAIR, EACH AND EVERY DAY. YOU WILL TRULY FEEL SATISFIED AND, YOU WILL DEVELOP GOOD HABITS TO KEEPING AN ORDERLY AND PEACEFUL HOUSE.