1921 Tips for Sharing Kitchen Chores with Housemates

schedule for doing kitchen chores
Source: American Cookery (November, 1921)

It can be tricky figuring out how to share kitchen chores with housemates. A hundred-year-old magazine article titled Homing-it in an Apartment had this advice for a group of four young women sharing an apartment:

Then there was the question of meals. It was determined to prepare their breakfasts and dinners and to put up lunches. To allow a certain freedom, it was agreed that each should pack her own lunch, and that regular meals should be cooked and served, turn and turn about, each partner acting for a week. A second member washed the dishes and took general care of the apartment.

American Cookery (November, 1921)

18 thoughts on “1921 Tips for Sharing Kitchen Chores with Housemates

  1. Oh, my, and this didn’t even get to the problem of the refrigerator … not that they had one back then. You know, using someone else’s milk, especially.
    Are we to assume that cooking included shopping for the week?

    1. Good question . . . the schedule doesn’t address shopping. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are so many potential things to disagree on sharing an apartment.

  2. This made me smile. It’s almost exactly the way things were done aboard when I was making offshore sails. On a trip from Hawaii to Alaska, we had a ten-person crew, and each day a different person was responsible for the meals. That person got to create the menus from whatever was in the stores; needless to say, near the end of the voyage, the pickings got a little slim! At the same time, each day a different person was responsible for cleaning the heads and general housekeeping — but that person was excused from standing watch for the day. It worked like a charm. Funny to see how that system is so similar to what’s described in this advice column.

    1. I never thought about how crews were organized for offshore sails, but this makes a lot of sense. It’s interesting that the schedule is similar to this old recommendation for how to divide the kitchen work when sharing an apartment.

  3. A plan for sharing chores looks good on paper. I don’t think it would work for me. I’d need to find people who love to clean so that I could do all the cooking. I am a total failure at keeping the home spotless.

  4. My son lived with 5 others – it all looked good on paper and worked for the first week… then classes and homework and odd schedules caused the schedule to be tossed to the side. My son ended up doing most of the cooking since he was better at it than the others!

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