17 Old Fashioned Homemaking Skills for the Modern Homemaker
Old fashioned homemaking skills for the modern homemaker. I hope this will give you some ideas for including vintage skills in your modern life!
A Modern Homemaker with a Vintage Heart
I don’t know about you but I absolutely love the thought of vintage homemaking. The Pioneer life sounds so romantic. My favorite books to read to our kids are The Little House Books. Before we moved to the country, I dreamed of being just like Ma Ingalls. Bread baking, gardening, and raising your own food sounds so fulfilling.
Now that we are here, I realize that doggone they lived a hard life! Laura sure made it sound easy! The truth is I don’t really want to live like a pioneer. I love the thought of it, but I sure do enjoy air-conditioning! Plus, the thought of making head cheese kind of grosses me out!
The good news is, we can pick and choose the skills we would like to develop and thankfully our survival doesn’t depend on whether or not we can grow and preserve enough food for the year! So, let’s look at some vintage homemaking skills that we modern homemakers can enjoy!
Some Ideas for practicing the Art of Homemaking
1. Cooking from Scratch
I started with an easy one! Although, I can’t say this was always easy for me! We ate plenty of Hamburger Helper in our early days of marriage! Not to mention brown and serve sausage…yuck! From scratch cooking is a homemaking skill that anyone can master.
The key to cooking from scratch is to stock your pantry with staples. Things like flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda etc…all of those things make whipping up baked goods a breeze. You can make bread, a cake, or muffins. Keeping things like pasta, beans, and rice can make dinner plans so much easier.
Grab my free pantry staple checklist here! Sign up below and I will send you the password to access everything in my printable library, including the pantry staple checklist!
Another thing to remember with cooking from scratch is to keep it simple. Think of dinner as a meat, a veggie and a starch. So often our dinner is a roasted chicken, some roasted brussel sprouts or sweet potatoes and a salad. Or some pork chops, rice, and a salad or veggie. Simple, easy, and nutritious.
Here are some from Scratch Recipes
2. Bread Making
Of course, this is kind of an extension of cooking from scratch. However, bread baking has such a feeling of accomplishment. If you have never baked bread, just give it a try one time! Your family will look at you with new eyes! Try it just for the smell alone! I have a super simple no-fail bread recipe here. You can make dinner rolls, hamburger buns, or cinnamon rolls with this dough recipe!
Once you master a simple yeast dough, you can venture into sourdough which is super fun to get into!
This is one of the most fulfilling homemaking adventures. What if you could serve your family a meal that was not only made from scratch but the salad or the vegetable was grown by you! Can I give you a little hint? Growing lettuce is not hard! It is the perfect beginner veggie! Give yourself a little win!
If you are interested in getting started with gardening, I have a post here on tips for starting a vegetable garden!
4. Fermenting and Preserving Food
Let’s say you get that garden going, and you have an excess harvest! One of the most fulfilling skills to learn is food preservation. I don’t love to can, but do believe that it is an important homemaking skill to learn. Water bath canning isn’t really that difficult and you can enjoy things like pickled beets and jalapenos all winter long!
Another great way to preserve your veggies and make them extra nutritious is fermenting. If you don’t know much about fermenting, it is a super-easy way to preserve your food! I have a post on fermented carrots and one on making sauerkraut.
I used to have a love-hate relationship with sewing. It took me a while to figure out that my main problem was my hand-me-down sewing machine. If you can invest in an inexpensive sewing machine, sewing will become so much more enjoyable. The tangled thread problem and busted needles have disappeared with a newer machine. I bought this one and it is under $200.
Also, keep it simple when you are just starting out sewing. Try making things like napkins or pillow covers. I also have a tutorial on making a simple dress. Or how about something super simple like adding pockets to your favorite dress, and you would be so surprised to know that making your own tote bag is actually easy!
Check out all of my Sewing posts here
6. Line Dry Your Clothes
There is something so satisfying about seeing clothes hanging on the line! Certainly, give yourself some grace with this. I do not line dry all of my clothes, but maybe start off with just drying your sheets and quilts. It gives them such a fresh smell and doesn’t really add any extra time or effort.
Plus if you know how to hang clothes on the line, you don’t have to panic if your dryer goes out!
If you need laundry help, especially if you have children, you may like this post!
7. Cheesemaking and Yogurt Making
We have a milk cow, so this is more natural for me to have this desire. However, you don’t have to have a cow to do this! You can definitely make cheese from store-bought milk.
One of the first homemaking skills I learned was how to make yogurt. I started this when we lived in the city and didn’t have a cow. It is one of the easiest and most frugal homemaking skills you can learn. You can make yogurt with just a carton of yogurt and some milk. It only involves heating the milk and then keeping it at around 100 degrees. If you have an instant pot, it is even easier. That is one of the best modern homemaking tools! I have a post on making yogurt in the Instant Pot here.
8. Make a Welcoming Hospitable Home
This might be my absolute favorite of the homemaking skills. I love making my home pretty! I have always felt that my home is an extension of me. It is so important for me to have a welcoming home. Please know that I am not saying your home needs to look like it is from a magazine. Mine definitely doesn’t, and it isn’t always clean either. Making a welcoming home is more of a feeling of comfort and love for the people who enter.
Inviting people into your home even if it isn’t perfect is one of the best ways to show hospitality! Don’t you love the old-time practice of setting an extra place at the table for dinner? That speaks to me in such a special way. Living each day to welcome and serve others is where it’s at friends!
all of my home decor posts
9. Reduce Disposable Items
Taking control of the disposable items you buy is one way to be more frugal. Things like purchasing a large pack of flour sack towels and using them instead of paper towels. How about beeswax wraps instead of plastic bags and plastic wrap? They are super easy to make and I love having my leftovers wrapped up in these pretty fabrics. Here’s how you can make some for yourself!
You can also make your own lotion bars and salves and put them in reusable tins. You can also make your own sunscreen and cut down on disposable bottles.
10. Learn to Crochet
This is one of the best ways to pass cold winter evenings or long car trips. If you can take the time to learn how to crochet, you can make so many wonderful things! Baby blankets, rugs, and dishcloths just to name a few!
I have a great tutorial that teaches the basics of crochet with three different stitches. In the end, you will have your own dishcloths to use in your kitchen!
11. Organization is Homemaking 101
I think organization might be one of the most important homemaking skills you can acquire as a homemaker. There are so many things to keep track of, especially if you have children or if you work outside the home.
At the very least, you should have a large wall calendar where all appointments and commitments are written. However, appointments and commitments are only part of what a homemaker needs to keep track of. Home cleaning and vehicle maintenance, menu planning, projects, and animals if you have those.
Making a home management binder can be a lifesaver for your sanity. A place to keep track of all that needs to be done and all records that need to be kept.
Check Out My Shop for Printable Planners
12. Keeping Chickens
This may be a stretch for some, but even if you live in town you may be able to keep backyard chickens! This is a wonderful way to teach your children responsibility and also put nutritious food on the table. Eggs from chickens on grass are far superior to anything you can get at the store!
If you have space, you could even raise chickens for meat, learn how here.
13. How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken
Before we moved to the country and started raising our own food, I couldn’t even reach inside a storebought turkey to take the packet of gizzards out! It was beyond what I could stomach! Now, I can help butcher and gut a chicken that we raised. Time and experience can change a person!
A great frugal skill to have is cutting up a chicken. If you want to buy locally raised meat, often the farmer sells the chicken whole. Why not learn to cut it up for yourself? I have a tutorial with video right here.
Learning how to make things from wood is so fulfilling. You can make all sorts of things for you home and save money in the process. Power tools may seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of using them, it can be very empowering! One of my favorite projects was this blanket ladder.
see all of my woodworking projects
15. Soap Making
I have been working on this skill over the past two years. Such a fulfilling and fun hobby to work on! For years I was very intimidated by the thought of making my own soap. However, I finally got up the nerve to give it a try and I am hooked!
Here are all of my posts on soapmaking:
16. Be a Wise Woman
I didn’t put these in any particular order, but truly this should be number 1! Pray and read your Bible. Your life as a homemaker will be far more manageable and fulfilling if you give your heart and life to God! Through the Bible, you will gain the wisdom and instruction you need to truly live a fulfilling life. Here is a post on wisdom.
What? How does this fit with homemaking skills? Well, did you know that many of our past presidents and great inventors were homeschooled? Join the ranks of the mother of Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Edison! I included homeschool because our public school system is going through some crazy stuff right now. If you have ever considered homeschooling your children, now would be a great time to give it a go!
Having your children alongside you while you learn to be a homemaker is an education in and of itself. Homeschooling allows the freedom to teach your children to not only read and write, but also to learn old-fashioned and practical skills that will serve them well into the future. Then you don’t have to worry about them being indoctrinated with racism and all manner of deviant lifestyles. You can give them a pure and wholesome childhood.
a few Homeschooling posts
No pressure to do all of these things at all! Pick one or two and get started! I hope you feel inspired to bring some old-fashioned homemaking skills into your modern life!
I so enjoy reading your emails about farm life, homemaking, family, etc. Such a welcome read and happy to know this type of life is still being pursued.
I stumbled on your site and am glad I did. I read your article “Every wise women part 2”. I’m an older women who had the life you are living. We had six acres and I had a very large garden with apple and plum trees. We raised pigs once, chickens and had a beef steer. My husband was able to hunt for our meat as well. I canned everything that I grew and picked at an orchard for fruit I didn’t have. We fished and canned that as well. Fresh milk from our neighbor and was able to make our butter from the milk. I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom to three wonderful children. I learned a lot from the older women who lived there and tried to pass my wisdom/learning to my children. Now that our children have families of their own and we are retired we have moved where we can just relax. I am so glad that some of the younger generation is finding the joy of being a wife and mother and raising their own children at home. I also love how you point out that God has designed women to be a mother and wife and that being a homemaker is wonderful and not something to be ashamed of. Homemakers handle more then cleaning. We raise children to be productive people and help to others. A value of a homemaker can’t be priced because we do so many jobs, cooking, cleaning, manage money, child care, nurse, and counselor to name just a few. Keep up the good work and God bless.
Thank you Karen, this might be the most encouraging comment of all time! I love to hear about your life and family! Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage me!
I’d like to propose another option to an inexpensive new machine. I have a 1953 Singer sewing machine…the iconic black machine with the beautiful curves. It’s still going strong and makes the most beautiful stitch you’ve ever seen. I picked it up in Fredericksburg, Texas about 20 years ago for next to nothing and have been using it ever since. About a month ago, I took it in to be serviced…a belt change, lubed, a plug change, changed out the old light for an LED light and a general cleaning, the first time it’s ever gone into the shop. Cost was $138. With regular at home cleaning and oiling, the machine (according to my repair and refurbish guy) will likely be used by my granddaughter when I’m long gone. Granted, the machine only does a straight stitch but for the majority of sewing that most people do, a straight stitch is all you need. I also have my mother in law’s 1960 Singer, tan and light brown. They are also a rugged, easy to operate mechanical machines. It, too, will outlast me. The new, basic Singer machines are not built to the same standards as the older models and they’re not built for longevity. However, they are inexpensive and readily available. Anyway, just a thought on other options for a good, reliable workhorse of a machine.
Great point! I had an older machine but it was definitely not a very nice one! I have heard that the older singers were made way better than the new ones! Happy Sewing!