line drawing showing woman wearing heels standing with feet together, arrows highlight areas of strain

Housework with ease

Occupational therapy advice was given to the housewife to diminish the strain of everyday tasks. A leaflet entitled ‘Housework with Ease’ was found in our archives, dating back to the early 1950s. Although full of useful advice, some aspects perhaps haven’t stood the test of time and really do show how different life now is some 70 or more years on.


Here are two excerpts:

Fatigue and Irritation:

When you feel tired, nervy and depressed, and find your family irritating, it is often your muscles and nerves that have let you down. Study and experiment have shown that there is a right way and a wrong way of using your muscles. The experiments were originally carried out in industry, but this booklet shows that what works well in industry can be adapted for the home. No one deserves more help than the housewife. Why should she be depressed and grow old before her time when knowledge is available that will help her retain her vitality?


Protective reactions of muscles may be constantly taking place without our being conscious of the avoidable strain which results. A tight skirt, for example, prevents free movement of legs and feet necessary for good balance. It is therefore important that you should be sensibly dressed to allow free movement.

Your shoes should have broad heels to make good balance possible – not necessarily flat heels. Shoes should be comfortable, with a good grip around the “waist” of the foot to prevent undue pressure on the toes.


Read the entire ‘Housework with Ease’ leaflet (pdf)


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