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How To Run Your Home Without Help
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How To Run Your Home Without Help

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  50 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
How To Run Your Home Without Help (first published 1949) is, as its title implies, a book about housework, republished because it is useful, it is a fascinating historical document, and, sixty years on, it is a funny and at times extraordinary bulletin from a vanished world.' This book tells the newly servantless housewife what to do and is perfect for the newly-wed in nee ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 2005 by Persephone Books (first published 1949)
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Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
A fascinating piece of social history this. In 1949 Smallshaw published this guide to running a house without staff - the country is deeply in debt post WW2, rationing is still in force and will be for some time, the concept of every home having an automatic washing machine or (can you imagine?) a dishwasher is decades away. Intelligent and educated women, many of whom were doing important war work, had to get back in the kitchen so that the men could return to their workplaces. So turning house ...more
Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow. The 1950s don't seem that far ago in the big scheme of things: people had running water and electricity and canned food. But wow, I'm so glad I'm taking care of a household now and not back then. Cooking everything from scratch (and working around rations); doing the laundry by hand (and starching and ironing); cleaning the house to incredibly high standards (they polished everything!): things are easier now.

I'm going to go put a load of clothes in the washing machine now and enjoy how the
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting. Historical. Reminding.
How to Run your Home without Help addresses the challenges faced by the post WWII middle class woman in maintaining - or attempting to maintain, or ditching some and carrying on others - the standards to which her husband and social class were accustomed. These were formerly achieved by the labour of paid help, but due to changing circumstances they now have to be taken care of by the woman of the house - which, if she is married, is a full-time job. If single, she may be able to manage to have ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was surprisingly helpful, both as a picture of housework used to be done, and as a guide to how people used to think about housework. It doesn't give you a romantic picture of working at home, or gloss over the fact that it's hard work, but it does offer you a cheerful and positive approach to it.

Some things have changed: a street is no longer full of women who are at home all day and can join forces to do the washing or carry mattresses about. Women have to do housework and a paid job as w
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I admit I'm unusual: I like housework. I like doing it well. It's part of what makes my world a good one, that I have a house to look after. I used to spend hours cleaning and tidying my dolls' house and swiftly progressed from Brownie Home maker badge (leave a tin of biscuits by the bed when someone comes to stay - yes, wonderful) to O level Home Economics. So there. As I had nobody to ask how to do such things,now I instinctively warm to Kay Smallshaw as someone who would have been there besid ...more
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I want a teapot spout cleaner and an upholstery whisk after reading this. Seriously though, this was aimed at the middle class wife who had never had to do any household work, unlike her working class counterpart. It's an interesting read with a mild bit of feminist thought thrown in - when children are old enough let them take a share. Don't differentiate between boys and girls. Both should learn how to cook a simple meal, and clear it away, before the teens are reached.
Some of the cleaning tip
Caroline Bennett
This is fascinating. It makes me veer between gratitude and jealousy. Part of me is envious that I can't sit and do the mending with a friend one afternoon a week, another side of me is so grateful I will never have to work a mangle.

Life seems simpler, and duller for the housewife of 1949. I imagine they were just hugely grateful they were still alive. It's better than a museum to me, reading these kinds of books. What washing arrangements did my grandmother have? Why did I never ask her?

Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable read & a trip back in time, not least of which for the fact that rationing was still in force when this was written.

I remember Vim from my childhood - windolene's still going.....

It recommends turning one room a week - mine a lucky to be done yearly!

An inisght into a world long gone - what I'd LOVE to know is if anyone actually ran their houses this way?
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
It took me back to my early years, watching my Mother (born 1904) do her best to keep our home clean whilst also working in other womens' homes doing the 'rough'. Not an easy job with all that coal dust and no vacuum cleaner. Washing day was awful! I am so glad that I don't have to do it.
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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