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Posts Tagged ‘housekeeping’

… what features would you want built into it? The mother of a large family has a few ideas here – some of which I wouldn’t have thought of, but which make sense.

For me, I’m not sure I’d put in ceiling light fixtures. I’m used to living with somewhat disabled people, and sometimes I’ve been in that category myself. Going way up a ladder and working above your head while on the ladder has been a problem, to be avoided if possible.

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If you read old books and journals, you’ve probably noticed wintertime references to everyday activities like breaking a covering of ice in the washbasin in the morning, before you wash. Or, perhaps not quite that, but instead, say, a habit of closing off part of the house in cold weather. Actually, we did that in our house when I was growing up, and I’ve often done it since. Because it makes sense.

The Common Room shares time-tested ways of staying warm without breaking the budget.

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… the dishes? (I have this problem. Definitely.)

Mona Charen explains it’s probably not the dishwasher, but the soap. She credits this detailed report by Jonathan V. Last at the Weekly Standard for helping her figure out what was wrong. (Noted: In the article Last notes that newer dishwashers have been making trade-offs in the name of efficiency, which hasn’t necessarily helped, if what you want is clean dishes. But if you had a dishwasher that did a good job, and stopped doing a good job, it’s likely because of the soap switches.) More: Last shares a couple of reader responses to his article.

And, yes, like others I tried better stacking, and adding rinse aids. I tried putting in lots more detergent. I ran the heavy wash cycle instead of normal wash. I pre-rinsed. I tried running the machine twice instead of once. I also considered calling in someone to see if somehow the plumbing had gotten plugged up. Seriously reduced water supply seemed likely, somehow. I even went into the laundry room and peered into the water softener, almost hoping that it looked broken, or out of salt. That at least would give me something to have fixed, that might fix the problem.

I don’t mind washing dishes by hand, mind you. But I don’t like losing the use of an appliance through no fault of my own. And who knows how long we might be allowed halfway decent dish detergent for hand washing, for that matter?

And, yes, I realize this is a relatively trivial problem, pale in comparison to poverty and real suffering – and of course, in the scope of eternity even real sufferings here will not matter. (I do have something of a sense of proportion.)

But it is a needless problem. And there are real reasons we try to wash old food and other stuff (like bacteria) off of dishes.

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Headmistress over at The Common Room recommends a book from 1917. In addition to providing a link to buy from Amazon, she provides a link to an online edition, and excerpts. The book is Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield. (I just took a glance at it. I haven’t read enough to know what the title means. Sorry.)

Headmistress uses excerpts from the book to remind people that closing off part of your home for the winter used to be common.

I don’t know about you, but I close off rooms when it gets cold. It saves a lot of money. Since we took many of the indoor doors out to provide more workable space in the generally smallish rooms in this old and not very big house, I put curtains in the doorways, and we adjust the heat in each room by adjusting how much opening we leave. It amazes me how much difference just a sheet of cotton can make.

For the curtains, you can put up curtain rods, or you can do it the old way by pounding nails in the wall, and attaching the curtains to them with clothes pins or safety pins.

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