The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning or saving money. – Mrs. Child, The American Frugal Housewife
I’m not big on new years retrospectives or resolutions: I find it counterproductive to make grand decisions which I’ll inevitably not live up to – instead I’ve been trying to take on bite-sized resolutions all through the year. But maybe the idea of taking on small resolutions is itself a big resolution…Ack! Well, before I get tangled up in philosophical conundra, I’ll get back to the original reason for this post: my current mini-resolution is to post more, and to restart my “Sunday Tips” section. My mom gave my a copy of The American Frugal Housewife, from which the above quote is taken, for Christmas (along with a couple of other books which will probably show up soon). This book was published in 1833 by Mrs. Child:
This lady looks like she means business, doesn’t she? Well, she did: in addition to publishing books on housekeeping she was an abolitionist and women’s rights advocate. Go Mrs. Child! I think she’s awesome, so I’ll be taking regular Sunday posts from her book. We can all do with a little more frugality these days – even if we stop short of making our own soap.
People these days have far more crap, generally, than they did in Mrs. Child’s day; if we take her at her word on saving things we’ll all wind up on Hoarders. One of general ambitions in life is to never show up in TLC reality television, so I’m taking a less-than-literal approach to this. I really, really, do love her discussion of efficiency and time-saving, though. I always wonder, given the number of technological shortcuts we have available to us, how efficient and useful it is to concentrate on the labor-intensive DIY-type reuse projects Mrs. Child suggests. Any thoughts? I’m hoping to explore this more – and maybe do some math and experiments – as I go through her book.