Wash Day Monday, Ironing Day Tuesday…

HouseworkI washed two loads of laundry this morning as I so often do on a Monday.  I wash on other days of the week too, but maybe somehow it is ingrained in my subconscious to wash on Monday according to homemaking tradition?

Traditionally, there was a certain chore for each day of the week.  As the saying goes it is:

Monday: Wash Day ~ Tuesday: Ironing Day ~ Wednesday: Sewing Day ~ Thursday: Market Day ~ Friday: Cleaning Day ~ Saturday: Baking Day ~ Sunday: Day of Rest.

Of course, in bygone days, each of these tasks took the better part of a day so it was wise to devote an entire day to each.  I admire the regimentation of it all;  I think having a planned schedule of housework would be a big benefit on keeping me on track.  I tend to do most homemaking chores haphazardly, here and there, or when things become so desperate that I can no longer stand it!

Taking a look at the traditional chores for each day, I like the Monday wash day thing.  It is good to start the week out with clean laundry so I can deal with that.  Tuesday looks like a free pass for me as I rarely, if ever, iron!  I hang dry my clothes and they dry quite wrinkle-free.  Wednesday is sewing day; which I don’t do either.  I do mend things, so I think that would be a good day to do it.

Thursday is market day.  Hey, I’m always good for (thrift) shopping!  Oh, I think they mean groceries though.  I will probably have to pass on this too as I usually shop groceries at Trader Joe’s right after church on Sunday.  It’s right next door and it makes it very convenient, even though Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest (a little flexibility is okay, I’m sure)!

Friday is cleaning day.  This sounds good – get the house spic and span for the weekend, so I can loll around.  I tend to be a little lax with the vacuuming and floor mopping, and this sounds good to get on a regular schedule.  Saturday is baking day.  Since I don’t bake much either, I think I’ll take a pass on this too.  Baking every Saturday seems a little excessive (for my waistline too)!

Which leaves Sunday, day of rest.  I really like the now-forgotten tradition of resting on Sunday.  But quite often Sundays turn out to be as busy as the rest of the week.  For several years now, I have been consciously trying to keep Sunday at more of a restful state.  It is hard though, when you work at home like I do.  Work is always staring me in the face; there is no distinct separation.  So I try to mentally remove myself and get engrossed in some other activity.

Maybe this will help me up my homemaking game!  I must admit it feels good to have things clean and somewhat orderly, and getting back to a quasi-schedule just might be the ticket.  Wish me luck!


20 Responses to “Wash Day Monday, Ironing Day Tuesday…”

  1. Steve Olson

    Looks like my Grandma’s Old Schedule…
    Loved to visit on Saturday, at least two things would be baking for sure, bread and donuts, Icelandic Style, and of course a couple of electives, krumkakke, cookies of some sort, maybe a pie or cake, but always bread and always those doughnuts, we’d take a bag home and on Sunday morning my dad would practically plow through the entire bag over coffeee and the paper…

  2. Laura

    Thanks for bringing fond memories. My Grandma used to do laundry on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, etc. She would shop on Saturdays, walking a few blocks to a small business district with butcher shop, bakery and grocery store. In the 1960s, it seemed like a glimpse of the past.

  3. Val C

    Thank you for a great article! Homemaking brings back sweet memories from childhood!

  4. joyce

    I was telling my daughter this little poem/song when i was growing up and my grandmother and mom followed it. And I am 89 yrs old, so that was awhile ago.
    so glad you posted this.
    thank you.

  5. finnfemme

    You are so welcome, Joyce, Val C, and Laura! Now that we are all quarantined, it puts a nice vintage spin on everything doesn’t it?

    ~Marilyn 🙂

  6. Doreen Buchan

    22 days here and they are starting to run together. I like your writing. I too can take Tuesday off since the iron is only used while sewing.

  7. Jane Kelly Amerson Lopez

    Hi, Marilyn. Your post about Monday Wash Day came up in a search today when I was blogging about the challenge of knowing what day it is under the coronavirus lockdown. Glad to connect! Would love to know what you think of what I’m writing. My post will be up in about 8 hours.

    Be well! Kelly

  8. Anne Marie

    Mom use to live by this! She followed it to a T and then some! She was born in 1914 and I was born in 1954. I retired a few years ago and found my routine was NO ROUTINE. So recently, when the days started to all be blur-days, I started to follow these guidelines. Kind of nice knowing there’s something scheduled each day. I don’t iron much but I do when needing a bit of therapy. . . .nothing detailed just pillow cases, the tops of linen sheets and an occasional top or shorts that were in a drawer too long. The remainder of the list I was amazed I do. Just made rhubarb crisp with fresh cut rhubarb. . . Yummy!
    Thanks for posting this. . . . .it’s a gem in this time of uncertainty.
    Stay home, do what you can.
    Anne Marie

  9. finnfemme

    Thank you for your kind words, Doreen, Jane and Anne Marie!
    I was wondering why this blog post from 10 years ago was getting so much traction lately. And I finally figured out that so many of us have lost track of the days during this pandemic. We are longing for a bit of old-fashioned structure!
    I have been staying close to home, and venture out once a week (with a mask) to grocery shop.
    Stay safe and healthy, everyone!
    ~Marilyn 🙂

  10. Pam

    Timeless work-song. During a time where days are blending together, it’s nice to know that our cleaning routine can put rhythm back into our lives. Blessings and health to all.

  11. Gayle McCullam Hackbarth

    This poem reminds me so much of my Mother who followed it religiously! I TRY to follow and a routine does help to keep things in order. Thanks so much for your enjoyable article!

  12. Pamela

    I was searching for the rest of the poem about what work was done on what days. My great-grandmother followed this for the most part. I read where you said Tuesday would be a free pass for you as you rarely iron. Now most people who say this toss everything in the dryer. I LOVE to hang my clothes on the line, especially bedding. But HOW in the world do you hang your clothes on the line and they are mostly wrinkle free? You CANNOT have clothing that is partially cotton and must be all manmade fabrics and knits. I have to iron almost EVERYTHING. How are your clothes so wrinkle free after being hung on the line?

  13. Elizabeth L.

    Thanks for the flashback post! Since you don’t bake, as in sweet baked goods, maybe you could use an hour or two of the Saturday baking day to make a couple meals for the upcoming week. Maybe fry up some hamburger for taco Tuesday, make a casserole, etc. Also, maybe make a double batch of whatever you make on Saturday to throw in the freezer and now you have meals ready/prepped for next week and for future hectic or lazy evenings. Thanks again!

  14. Marti

    My mother had dish towels that had the Monday – Sunday rhyme embroidered on each towel. They each had an embroidered picture to match each day. I believe her mother made the towels. In those days young ladies had to make a sewing sampler to show your future husband’s family that you were a good seamstress and would make a good wife : D

  15. Ruth

    My Grandam used to tell me a rhyme, this is what I can remember,
    On Monday when the day is fine I wash the dirty clothes,
    On Tuesday I can iron them, although it rains or snows.
    On Wednesday the clothes I mend, and always like it too
    On Thursday I receive my friends, for I’ve nothing else to do,
    On Friday?
    On Saturday?
    Sunday is the day of rest,
    Of all the week it is the best.
    I cannot remember Friday And Saturday, but I think it may have started On Friday and on Saturday I……

  16. Robyn

    Live this! I was trying to remember the song that went with this.
    Verse—-Today is Monday. Today is Monday. Monday wash day.
    Chorus—- Is everybody happy? turn yourself around.
    I think there was more to the chorus. Can you help me out?

  17. Becky

    I was thinking about this saying, googled a question and saw your little note. I’m 81 and retired from working at 79. I have a lot of things I can remember from my grandmother and mother who are both deceased but I did not remember all of each day. But I remembered wash on Monday which I did today but I also ironed some. I always liked to iron and my family let me do so when I was five. To this day I still like to iron only I stopped ironing my husbands underware a long time ago. I am going to follow these so I can be better organized with my household duties.
    Thanks so much for your story.

  18. Chrissy

    Pamela if you line dry your clothing on a breezy day not only will they be wrinkle free but they will be soft as down, smell wonderful and be brightened by the sunshine. It’s the best way to get wrinkles out of cotton.

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