16 Forgotten Chores Our Grandparents Did Every Day

In today’s technology-driven world, there is a tool and an appliance for most household chores. From a washing machine to a stand mixer to make dough, and a dishwasher to clean the dishes, these modern appliances make your life convenient and comfortable. These forgotten household chores that are so smoothly taken over by machines were once part of the daily lives of the previous generations.

Read on to learn 16 forgotten household chores your grandparents did every day.

Hand-Washing Clothes

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Before the washing machines found their way into our homes, laundry was manual and involved scrubbing clothes by hand. The labor-intensive process involved washing clothes by placing them on a washboard, rubbing handmade soap on them, wringing out excess water manually, and finally hanging clothes to dry.

This chore required significant physical effort and time. Imagine washing not only trousers, shirts, and socks but also bedsheets and bedcovers by hand.

Ironing Clothes

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After washing and drying clothes, they were ironed using a flat iron, a heavy metal iron heated on a stove or open flame. The irons demanded constant reheating and careful handling to avoid burns. Ensuring clothes were smooth and wrinkle-free without scorching the fabric required time, patience, and muscle power.

Churning Butter

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Butter didn’t come in a box and certainly not from supermarkets; it had to be made at home from cream. Heavy cream was churned in a butter churn of a jar with a dasher. This chore required repetitive hand movements to separate the solids from whey. The resulting butter, which took up to an hour to be made, was a household staple.

Beating Rugs And Carpets

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Without vacuum cleaners, rugs and carpets were taken outside, hung on a clothesline, fence, or wooden railing on the porch, and beaten with a carpet beater.

Significant effort was required to remove dust and dirt from the carpet fibers, which was physically demanding and sometimes involved multiple family members.

Dusting Of Solid Surfaces

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Dusting might be an alien concept in modern homes, but the previous generations took pride in keeping their homes dust-free, even without vacuum cleaners. With a damp (not wet) rag cloth, they wiped all the solid surfaces in the house. They even waxed and polished wooden furniture.

Scrubbing Floors By Hand

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The floors were swept with brooms first and then cleaned with a brush and bucket of soapy water. The chore required to be done with hands and knees.

Unlike modern mopping, this method required scrubbing each floor section individually, often taking several hours. It required considerable physical effort to achieve a clean and shiny surface.

Drawing Water From A Well

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Before indoor plumbing, water was fetched from a well or hand pump outside the house or in a common space shared by neighbors. This involved lowering a bucket into the well and hauling it back up, often multiple times a day, to meet the household’s water needs for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing.

Mending Clothes

Today, in the age of fast fashion, clothes are bought, worn a few times, and then discarded without a second thought. However, life during previous generations was very different.

Clothing was not as available as it is today; hence, mending and sewing were essential skills. Socks were darned, torn garments were repaired, and new clothes were often handmade.

Household Repairs

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Professional services were not as easily accessible as they are today. Hence, your grandparents relied on their skills for household repairs. Fixing leaky roofs, repairing furniture, or putting up fences were often DIY projects.

Preparing Meals From Scratch

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With grocery markets not what they are today, your grandparents often grew herbs and vegetables themselves or sourced produce from the local markets. They cooked meals using what was available to them, which meant preparing food and preserving it through canning, drying, or pickling.

Canning And Preserving Foods

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Many households engaged in canning and preserving to ensure a supply of food throughout the year, especially during the harsh and lean winter months. This involved boiling jars, preparing fruits and vegetables, and sealing them in airtight containers. Apart from preserving fruits and vegetables, meats were dried and cured for storage.

Baking Bread

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People didn’t buy bread from stores but baked bread daily or weekly. They kneaded the dough by hand and baked their bread in wood-fired ovens.

Making Household Products

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Many products, especially soaps, detergents, and candles, were made at home. Soaps were made using lye and animal fats. It involved combining ingredients and boiling them. This soap was used for laundry and personal hygiene, thus promoting self-sufficiency and reducing dependence on store-bought goods. Apart from this, they also made candles and natural products to keep ants and cockroaches at bay.

Tending To The Garden

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Many households relied on home-grown vegetables and herbs, a labor-intensive activity. Gardening contributed to the household’s food supply and demanded knowledge of seasonal cycles. It involved planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting crops.

Chopping Firewood

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Before central heating became a norm, homes were warmed, and food was cooked by wood or coal-burning stoves. Wood was chopped by hand, requiring strength and the skill to handle an axe safely. Gathering and chopping enough to last through the day or week was a daily chore, particularly in colder climates.

Cleaning Lamps And Chimneys

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In the areas where electricity reached late, lamps fueled by oil or kerosene were used for light. Cleaning the glass chimneys and trimming the wicks was essential to ensure a bright flame. This chore involved removing the lamp, washing the glass, and maintaining the wick to prevent soot build-up.

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