Aside from attempting to landscape and “garden” my cottage, I have been getting waves of motivation to spring clean Diamondleaf. Some days, I actually do something about it! Other days, I’m like “Oh, dear! I really need to dust, it’s getting atrocious.–Meh, I’ll just let the maid-of-all-work do it.”–My Maid, however, is such a slacker. . .But did you know in the 19th century
the main reason for spring cleaning was to remove the winter dirt produced by coal, oil, gas, and candles[?] Spring was also when servants began to have more time, without the daily cleaning of grates and caring for fires.
Until she could afford the luxury, a lady of the house managed with just one servant and then upgraded with the addition of a cook, and then a nursemaid. In that order and assuming there was a child to tend to in the house. Daily routines of a maid began at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. Her duties began with opening the shutters and blinds, cleaning the stove range, put the kettle on and cleaned shoes and knives while waiting for water to boil. Then off to dust and knocking out rugs, clean the front hall and polish the brass. Only then was breakfast cooked and served.
And of course, I’m thinking “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” In actuality, there was more the maid was expected to do prior to preparing the food; I am only including the chores that would still apply to modern times. No need to whitewash the steps, clean the grates, nor ready the fires.
After breakfast, beds were made and toilets were wiped down and cleaned. Multiple times a week floors were mopped which was incredibly labor intensive at the time. Then washing the breakfast dishes. Each room of the house was set aside to deep clean or “turned out” on certain days, which includes washing the windows the draperies, etc.
Then main meal was cooked and served followed by the cleaning of everything that was involved from crumbs off the floor, table cloths stripped to be washed on laundry day (usually Mondays), dishes and the like. The evenings were for mending and a little sewing.
Um . . . sure. I do some of those things, some of the time, and rarely all of those things all of the time. However, it is allergy season now and I am doing more to keep house breathable. What about you Dear Readers? Are you clean freaks? Balanced? Or . . . could use some work?
*Notes were taken from “Inside the Victorian Home: A portrait of life in Victorian England–particulars are listed on the Bibliography/Reference page.