They were only three little words written at the end of a paragraph, but they immediately influenced my housekeeping routine. I was immersed in a 1950s Barbara Pym novel. Mildred Lathbury, ready to tackle a messy kitchen, grimly noticed that “the plate rack needed scrubbing and the tea cloths boiling.” I was jolted to the present. The tea cloths boiling? Why, of course! The perfect way to kill bacteria! Since that serendipitous read, I have been boiling my dish cloths regularly. Thank you, Barbara Pym.
Such tricks are like vintage life hacks, those aces in the hole that give us a sense of simplicity and satisfaction. As we step into September, family life begins anew in many ways: a new season, new schools, and the many activities that accompany such changes. Let’s glean some old-fashioned advice in the areas of home and health, navigating our way toward a successful September.