Retrofitting Vintage

Spring Cleaning Like a 1950’s Housewife

Easter is over, Passover is coming to an end, and the forsythia down the street is blooming. You know what that means…time for me to have a horrible idea!

Also, it’s spring.

Things have been getting a little grimy here at home, and with spring comes a desire to clean things up a bit. And then I noticed my schedule is open for the next few days, and the weather’s decent, and…I decided to do an old-fashioned spring cleaning.

I have known some thorough housekeepers in my time. Some of them, like my paternal grandmother and my almost-grandmother, Mrs. L, actually did keep house in the 1950s. Others were just Mennonite. What sets them all apart from me is their attention to detail, their level of care, and their seemingly ceaseless energy.

So what does spring cleaning like a 1950’s housewife mean to me?

  1. I’m going to rely more on hard work than gadgetry.
  2. I’m using products that were available in the 1950s, but I’m using modern tools, like my plastic bristled broom.
  3. I’m not cutting corners, when possible.
  4. I’m going to try not to complain.

A few disclaimers:

  1. I absolutely don’t believe all homemakers in the 1950s were awesome at cleaning. I suspect lots of them were just as lackadaisical as I am.
  2. I’m spreading this out over several days, taking things a room at a time, rather than blocking off a week or so to do everything.

Here it goes….


  1. I’d actually love to see some tips, being a terrible home-maker myself. I don’t think you’re insane. No comment on the nerdy.

  2. I’m with Tomoko, I could benifit from any tips you can share!! Unfortunately the being Mennonite part of my life didn’t translate into an insanely clean house for me. (Why couldn’t that have stuck? I would have traded in inability to dance and obsession with coupons for clean house any day!) Also I’m curious if cleaning like a 1950’s housewife actually will make things cleaner or just make cleaning more fun.

    1. Well, you got the good cooking skills and the adorable family-having, so that’s something. You must teach me more about coupons.

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