In regard to the minutiae of family work, the writer has known the following methods to be adopted. Monday, with some of the best housekeepers, is devoted to preparing for the labors of the week. Any extra cooking, the purchasing of articles to be used during the week, the assorting of clothes for the wash, and mending such as would otherwise be injured - these, and similar items, belong to this day. Tuesday is devoted to washing, and Wednesday to ironing. On Thursday, the ironing is finished off, the clothes are folded and put away, and all articles which need mending are put in the mending-basket and attended to. Friday is devoted to sweeping and house-cleaning. On Saturday, and especially the last Saturday of every month, every department is put in order; the casters and table furniture are regulated, the pantry and cellar inspected, the trunks, drawers, and closets arranged, and every thing about the house put in order for Sunday. By this regular recurrence of a particular time for inspecting every thing, nothing is forgotten till ruined by neglect.
Another mode of systematizing relates to providing proper supplies of conveniences, and proper places in which to keep them. Thus, some ladies keep a large closet, in which are placed the tubs, pails, dippers, soap-dishes, starch, bluing, clothes-lines, clothes-pins, and every other article used in washing; and in the same, or another place, is kept every convenience for ironing. In the sewing department, a trunk, with suitable partitions, is provided, in which are placed, each in its proper place, white thread of all sizes, colored thread, yarns for mending, colored and black sewing-silks and twist, tapes and bobbins of all sizes, white and colored welting-cords, silk braids and cords, needles of all sizes, papers of pins, remnants of linen and colored cambric, a supply of all kinds of buttons used in the family, black and white hooks and eyes, a yard-measure, and all the patterns used in cutting and fitting. These are done up in separate parcels, and labeled. In another trunk, or in a piece-bag, such as has been previously described, are kept all pieces used in mending, arranged in order. A trunk like the first mentioned will save many steps, and often much time and perplexity; while by purchasing articles thus by the quantity, they come much cheaper than if bought in little portions as they are wanted. Such a trunk should be kept locked, and a smaller supply for current use retained in a work-basket. .
A full supply of all conveniences in the kitchen and cellar, and a place appointed for each article, very much facilitate domestic labor. For want of this, much vexation and loss of time is occasioned while seeking vessels in use, or in cleansing those employed by different persons for various purposes. It would be far better for a lady to give up some expensive article in the parlor, and apply the money thus saved for kitchen conveniences, than to have a stinted supply where the most labor is to be performed. If our countrywomen would devote more attention to comfort and convenience, and less to show, it would be a great improvement. Expensive mirrors and pier-tables in the parlor, and an un-painted, gloomy, ill-furnished kitchen, not unfrequently are found under the same roof.
Another important item in systematic economy is, the apportioning of regular employment to the various members of a family. If a housekeeper can secure the co-operation of all her family, she will find that "many hands make light work." There is no greater mistake than in bringing up children to feel that they must be taken care of and waited on by others, without any corresponding obligations on their part. The extent to which young children can be made useful in a family would seem surprising to those who have never seen a systematic and regular plan for utilizing their services. The writer has been in a family where a little girl of eight or nine years of age washed and dressed herself and young brother, and made their small beds, before breakfast; set and cleared all the tables for meals, with a little help from a grown person in moving tables and spreading cloths; while all the dusting of parlors and chambers was also neatly performed by her. A brother of ten years old brought in and piled all the wood used in the kitchen and parlor, brushed the boots and shoes, went on errands, and took all the care of the poultry. They were children whose parents could afford to hire servants to do this, but who chose to have their children grow up healthy and industrious, while proper instruction, system, and encouragement, made these services rather a pleasure than otherwise to the children.
Some parents pay their children for such services; but this is hazardous, as tending to make them feel that they are not bound to be helpful without pay, and also as tend ing to produce a hoarding, money - making spirit. But where children have no hoarding propensities, and need to acquire a sense of the value of property, it may be well to let them earn money for some extra services rather as a favor. When this is done, they should be taught to spend it for others as well as for themselves; and in this way a generous and liberal spirit will be cultivated.
There are some mothers who take pains to teach their boys most of the domestic arts which their sisters learn. The writer has seen boys mending their own garments, and aiding their mother or sisters in the kitchen, with great skill and adroitness; and at an early age they usually very much relish joining in such occupations. The sons of such mothers, in their college life, or in roaming about the world, or in nursing a sick wife or infant, find occasion to bless the forethought and kindness which prepared them for such emergencies. Few things are in worse taste than for a man needlessly to busy himself in women's work; and yet a man never appears in a more interesting attitude than when, by skill in such matters, he can save a mother or wife from care and suffering. The more a boy is taught to use his hands in every variety of domestic employment, the more his faculties, both of mind and body, are developed; for mechanical pursuits exercise the intellect as well as the hands. The early training of New-England boys, in which they turn their hand to almost every thing, is one great reason of the quick perceptions, versatility of mind, and mechanical skill, for which that portion of our countrymen is distinguished.