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  • Writer's pictureBecky Fifield

Library Find: How To Manage Without A Maid


I’ve mentioned my adoration for the New York Society Library (April 19, click here). The stack section of the library covers 12 floors – I can enter any of them and find the quirky gem. While not a find of great literary import, I did have to chuckle over finding How to manage Without A Maid by Lita Price and Harriet Bonnet (1942). The book outlines not one, but two foreign lives: one of handling the household by keeping help, the other, a life  without career except for household management. The book outlines that modern technology frees the modern woman from dealing with difficult servants and the intrusions into a family’s privacy their presence necessarily creates.

“Maid service is getting harder and harder to find at any price and only too often, even if you pay top wages, you will have to put up with help which is unskilled, unwilling and seldom permanent. Usually as soon as a house worker can find another type of employment, she will leave you flat and you have still another maid to break in.” (p. 26)

Here’s the suggested workday for the reader, enabled by time management, lists, and modern technology:

Suggested Timing Budget for Forty Hours a Week of Housework (yes! a full time job worth of housework!)

Six hours each Weekday (that would include Saturday, ladies!)

Breakfast prep ……………………………………………….20 min Menu planning, kitchen work, straightening….…..40 min Bedrooms………………………………………………….….30 min Weekly cleaning task or laundry………………………2 hours Light lunch prep……………………………………………15 min Kitchen work and partial dinner prep………………45 min Extras around the house………………………………..30 min Dinner prep…………………………………………………..30 min Kitchen work……………………………………………….30 min

Four hours on Sundays (get to it!)

Breakfast prep…………………………………………………..20 min Kitchen work and straightening……………………….…30 min Cleaning up……………………………………………………..30 min Partial dinner prep…………………………………………….30 min


I’m all for handwork, but I guess the point of this image is not to show the woman who might have been interested in ham radio or political rallies in the evening.


Straightening and bedmaking…………………………….30 min Dinner prep……………………………………………..………30 min Kitchen and partial supper prep………………………….25 min Supper prep……………………………………………………..30 min Kitchen work……………………………………………….…..15 min

Yahoo.

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