One of the beauties of older books is homemaking and life tips sprinkled in generously.  A favorite of mine is A Daily Rate by Grace Livingston Hill, a pastor’s wife who became a widow quite suddenly and supported herself and her two young daughters while writing books from home.  Grace was an outstanding homemaker herself, and several of her books have excellent homemaking tips.

A Daily Rate was published in 1900 and is a story about a young lady named Celia who was orphaned and later separated from her favorite aunt, Aunt Hannah.  Celia found herself in Philadelphia in a dirty and miserable boarding house with inedible food.  Through a series of events, Celia purchases the boarding house and invites her Aunt Hannah to live with her and make the boardinghouse over.  This is a book I love to read for homemaking and cleaning inspiration.

This is not a post about what a wonderful homemaker I am; most of these are areas that I am still striving for excellence and often failing.

1.  A homemaker should know about natural remedies.

She knew there was nothing like hot applications to relieve severe pain.

While modern medicine has its place, sometimes the doctor or urgent care is not readily available.  It’s our job as homemakers to know natural remedies, to keep natural remedies stocked, and to implement them quickly.  Celia had enough knowledge to know that applying heat could relieve pain.

2.  A homemaker knows how to make others comfortable and does so without much thought.  

She also cleared up the room and gave a touch of something like decent care to the sick woman and her surroundings. …. But it was not in Celia’s nature to stay in a room and not make those little changes of picking up a shoe and straightening a quilt and hanging clothing out of sight. She did it as a matter of course.

Celia was on auto-pilot.  She knew that a person’s surroundings affected their comfort levels and picked up in the room where the owner of the boarding house lived.  Having a room in good order can lift a person’s spirits, while a room that is all out of order can put a person in a bad mood.

3.  A homemaker creates a clean and pleasant environment for her family. 

Things should not be changed much at first, except that everything should be made entirely clean and wholesome. Then gradually they would begin to beautify.

Once Celia and Aunt Hannah were in charge of the boarding house, they knew their top priority was to clean everything up.  You will need to read the book to appreciate all the work they did!

4.  A homemaker has high standards of cleanliness, especially for a kitchen.  

She spent most of her time in the dining-room counting the fly specks and finger marks on the wall and windows. She made up her mind that she would get time for those windows somehow before dinner, if possible. If not, they should be done before another dawn of light and breakfast anyway.

Having a clean kitchen is vital for the health of the entire household.  A dirty kitchen can breed disease and food poisoning.  Go here to learn how to keep your kitchen cleaner.

5.  A  homemaker does not economize on soap and hot water. 

With skirts tucked together and sleeves rolled high Molly generously used the hot water and soap in the kitchen.

Soap and hot water are the main tools a homemaker needs to keep things clean.  Go here to learn how you can disinfect without bleach and here to learn more about my favorite cleaning soap!

6.  A homemaker knows how to repurpose household items.  

She unceremoniously took the old ragged cloths which must have been Maggie’s wiping towels for scrubbing rags, trusting to Miss Hannah’s sense of the fitness of things to provide others in some way.

Since these cloths were not fit for wiping dishes, she used them as scrubbing rags!  I imagine she threw them away afterward, since the kitchen was in quite a poor state.

7.  A homemaker uses only clean utensils, especially in the kitchen. 

She decided that the dishes must all be washed. She and Molly both worked at this, Molly washing off the shelves while she wiped the dishes. 

They cleaned the kitchen including pantry shelves and stove before beginning to cook, even though they needed to work quickly to do so.

8.  A homemaker has an high standards of cleanliness and order but does not need to spend a fortune to attain either.  

Many would have said it was impossible to make any difference in that table without spending a lot of money. Miss Hannah did not think so. She knew the subtle difference between order and disorder, and the startling contrast between cleanliness and dirt. Cleanliness was next to godliness and she was practicing that today. The godliness she hoped would follow hard after.

It is amazing what a clean tablecloth and napkins and a neatly-set table will do for a meal, no matter what the quality or expense of the dishes and silverware.  If you are on a limited budget, it’s perfectly normal.  Just make sure that your table linens are clean and that you serve healthy and delicious meals cooked with love.

9.  A homemaker must have a strong work ethic.  

It made her very happy to have a good deal of work, and hard work at that.

In today’s world, homemaking is often looked down upon.  However, people do not hesitate to hire personal chefs, maids, and other professionals to do their work for them.  Why can we not be happy with hard work whether or not we receive monetary payment to do it? 🙂

10.  A homemaker has a schedule and keeps it. 

Molly Poppleton did love to get ahead of time, even if it was but one minute.

Molly knew the importance of serving meals on time. In this boardinghouse, it was vital to have the meals on schedule since most of the boarders needed to be at work on time.

Here are two bonus tips for you:

11.  A homemaker realizes that her efforts in the kitchen are a labor of love that can impact others for good in various ways. 

In short, those boarders went to their day’s work well fed and comfortable for the first time in many weeks, and were therefore better workers, and better human beings in every way, because they were not all day troubled by the demands and complaints of nature in consequence of what they had eaten, or what they had not eaten.

In fact, if a homemaker does not take her cooking duties seriously, her family’s health can suffer greatly.  If your family is eating large quantities of processed foods or eating out often, they can suffer from a lack of nutrition and digestive issues.

12.  A homemaker knows appropriate shortcuts and uses them as needed. 

Since that first decent dinner needed to be served soon, and the napkins were dirty, Molly Poppleton ironed them after drying.  Sometimes time is of necessity, and there is no time to line dry or put something in the dryer.  A hot iron will work wonders to dry something like a napkin or handkerchief.

If you want to be a better homemaker and are serious about having natural remedies for daily health maintenance for you and your family, just fill out this short questionnaire, and I will respond to you within 24 hours with a personalized recommendation.

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