Closet Cleaning

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, April 6, 1914: Alma went home this morning, and it seems so lonesome without her. Hauled the stuffings out of a closet this afternoon, and then hauled them back, which means that I cleaned it.

1913-10-52.bI can’t find a picture of a 1914 closet, but maybe this shows a closet door. Picture Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Alma Derr was Grandma’s cousin who came to visit the previous Saturday. She lived near the small town of Ottawa in nearby Montour County.

I think I got Grandma’s genes when it comes to cleaning closets!

I also haul the “stuffings” out . . . and then put them back. :)

27 Responses

  1. Haul the stuffings out. I like that. Did the same in my storage room this week. :)

  2. I like Helena’s cleaning style! With my friends having just left, I know what she means about ‘lonesome’.

  3. Most old farm houses that I have seen did not have closets in them and added on later. Wooden wardrobes were used. That is interesting that her house had closets, it tells me that her family took extra special care in making sure the house had everything they would need.

  4. Cleaning closets is not one of my favourite things!
    Diana xo

    • I always find it difficult to get started at cleaning closets, but it always feels really good when I’ve finished the task. :)

  5. Helena got the spring cleaning bug! I’m feeling it, too–just want to put stuff by the curb!

  6. What a wonderful idea–old diaries give a first hand glimpse of how people thought about the times in which they lived–much better than learning about a different century in a history book!

    A while back, I purchased an old diary written in central Massachusetts during the early 1900s when trolley lines changed the face of rural life between the cities of Boston and Worcester. Reading the diarist’s feelings (and fears) about progress was quite eye opening but also not so different from how those in our era felt when the information super highway came to town. Different modes of “travel” can be quite threatening!

    Anyway, say hello to your newest follower. :) I know I’ll thoroughly enjoy your blog!

    • The diary that you bought sounds really interesting, and the connection to events that changed the character of the area is fascinating. I also enjoy thinking about the similarities and differences between the times that my grandmother wrote about and now.

  7. I love her attitude for cleaning the closet :)

  8. Helena definitely had a great sense of humor. It’s a delightful diary entry. I too have the spring cleaning urge and put the stuffings back in the closet! :)

  9. Yes. Our 1928 house has little teeny closets. So when I clean them it’s usually because I can’t get anything else in and the stuffings are falling out! :-)

    • I have memories teeny closets in the farm house where I grew up. The suburban home where I live now has very spacious closets.

  10. Her “which means I cleaned it” comment just made me smile. Almost like “and that’s that, don’t question me” :-)
    (I do hate that she was feeling lonely after her visit.
    We take for granted our ability to connect to anyone at anytime these days.

  11. I’ve never heard “hauled the stuffings out.” What a great phrase. A lot of houses didn’t have built in closets. A piece of furniture served the purpose of storing clothing items.

  12. How did I miss this post??? Love the way Grandma cleaned her closet: that’s my way, too!

  13. Spring cleaning at its best!!!! Send your old t-shirts to me lol :-)

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