Historical Hints for Home Comforts

From a book published in 1858:

Hints for Home Comforts:

A short needle makes the most expedition in plain sewing.

A leather strap, with a buckle to fasten, is much more commodious than a cord for a box in general use for short distances; cording and uncording is a nasty job.

There is not anything gained in economy by having very young and inexperienced servants at low wages; they break, waste, and destroy more than an equivalent for higher wages, setting aside comfort and respectability.

A piece of oil-cloth (about twenty inches long) is a useful appendage to a common sitting-room. Kept in the closet, it can be available at any time to place jars upon, &c.,&c., which are likely to soil your table during the process of dispensing their contents: a wing and duster are harmonious accompaniments to the oil-cloth.

In most families many members are not fond of fat; servants seldom like it, consequently there is frequently much wasted; to avoid which, take off bits of suet fat from beef-steaks, &c., previous to cooking; they can be used for puddings.

Nothing looks worse than shabby gloves; and, as they are expensive articles in dress, they require a little management. A good glove will last six cheap ones with care. Do not wear your best gloves to night church – the heat of the gas, &c., gives a moisture to the hands that spoils the gloves; do not wear them in very wet weather; as carrying umbrellas, and drops of rain, spoil them.

Children should not be allowed to ask for the same thing twice. This may be accomplished by parents, teacher (or whoever may happen to have the management of them), paying attention to their little wants, if proper, at once, when possible. The children should be instructed to understand that when they are not answered immediately, it is because it is not convenient. Let them learn patience by waiting.

We know not of anything attended with more serious consequences than that of sleeping in damp linen. Persons are frequently assured that they have been at a fire for many hours, but the question is as to what sort of fire, and whether they have been properly turned, so that every part may be exposed to the fire. The fear of creasing the linen, we know, prevents many form unfolding it, so as to be what we consider sufficiently aired; but health is of more importance than appearances; with gentleness there need be no fear of want of neatness.

Exercise in the open air is of the first importance to the human frame, yet how many are in a manner deprived of it by their own want of management of their time! Females with slender means are for the most part destined to indoor occupations, and have but little time allotted them for taking the air, and that little time is generally sadly encroached upon by the ceremony of dressing to go out. It may appear a simple suggestion, but experience only will show how much time might be redeemed by habits of regularity; such as putting the shawls, cloaks, gloves, shoes, clogs, &c., &c., or whatever is intended to be worn, in readiness, instead of having to search one drawer, then another, for possibly a glove or collar.

Eat slowly and you will not overeat.

Keeping the feet warm will prevent headaches.

Late at breakfast – hurried for dinner – cross at tea.

When you dry salt for the table, do not place it in the salt-cells until it is cold, otherwise it will harden into a lump.

Persons of defective sight, when threading a needle, should hold it over something white, by which the sight will be assisted.

Reading by candle-light, place the candle behind you, that the rays may pass over your shoulder on to the book. This will relieve the eyes.

In winter, get the work forward by daylight, to prevent running about at night with candles. Thus you escape grease spots and risks of fire.

Be at much pains to keep your children’s feet dry and warm. Don’t bury their bodies in heavy flannels and wools, and leave their knees and legs naked.

Apples and pears, cut into quarters, and stripped of the rind, baked with a little water and sugar, and eaten with boiled rice, are capital food for children.

For ventilation open your windows, both at top and bottom. The fresh air rushes in one way, while the foul makes its exit the other. This is letting in your friend and expelling your enemy.

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