Getting Bossed Around by 1003 Household Hints and Work Savers

1948 was fraught with potential perils-- many of them right in your very own home!...

At least, that's the way it seems in this vintage booklet, 1003 Household Hints and Work Savers. From making the most of your vegetables, to dressing on a budget, and cleaning your house, this book tells you how to avert the disaster that lurks around every corner.... And with an excessive amount of exclamation points, so you know they're serious!!!

So come with me today, as we get warned... curtailed... lectured... and overly punctuated...


  • Bulging ends on tin cans signify real danger! The food inside is spoiled and poisonous. Don't open the can!
(Ack! RUN-- that can of creamed corn, it's gonna blow!)


  • Don't you throw that bacon rind away! Clean, then save it for flavoring soups and vegetables.
(Yes, MA'AM!)


  • Can't afford whipped cream? Nonsense! Light cream will whip if you will spend a little time.
(But I've got a thousand-and-three things to do and-- no, no, I'm not arguing with you. Fine, I'll do it.)


  • Don't pour milk or cream down the drain simply because it has turned sour! In the first place, if the cream is just turning, you can restore it to sweetness by adding a pinch of baking soda. If it's really sour, use it as topping for soups, in salad dressings, gravies and in baking.
(It sounds so tempting, doesn't it? Spoiled cream with baking soda in it... yum.)


  • Never-- oh, never, never!-- use soda in cooking green vegetables. It increases loss of vitamins-- and even if the vegetable looks pretty, it won't mean much with important food-value gone.
(So, um, never?)


  • No one need know you scorched those vegetables! Just set the pot in a pan of cold water and let it stand for 15-30 minutes. Don't scrape the bottom of the pot.
(Well, everyone knows now that you put it in your darned book, lady.)


  • Who's too proud for day old bread! It's not only cheaper and just as nourishing, but actually better for the teeth and gums, according to experts.

(Should go so nicely with my spoiled cream and baking soda.)


  • Many of the potato's most valuable vitamins and minerals are in the skin itself. Don't waste it-- eat it!

(Tell me, were you a drill sergeant in the war, by any chance?)


  • Not all in one lump, please! Keep raisins, citrons, currants or other fruits evenly distributed throughout your cakes by dusting them with flour before mixing them in your batter.
(Flour-crusted citrons-- my favorite!)


  • Be smart, be thrifty-- be a wardrobe magician! Plan clothing purchases to get extra service from each item in the ensemble.
(Hocus pocus and... poof!-- Giant shoulderpads!)


  • Wait, lady, wait! Before you buy that new dress, consider the possibilities for later restyling!
(Who are you and how did you get into my dressing room?)


  • If you drive a car, get in on the side nearest the wheel, instead of scraping along the whole seat until you worm your way into position, thus wearing out the seat of your fur coat.
(Yes, but you haven't really lived until you've scooched across the entire front seat in mink, dahling.)


  • Oh, them golden slippers! And the silver ones too! Applying a careful dabbing of gold or silver paint, respectively, will make them glamorously new again.
(I will wear my painted shoes with my rump-worn fur coat.)


  • Don't even think of discarding your tan shoes because you don't like the worn-out color! Give them a coat or two of good black shoe dye and there you are with an extra pair of shoes.
(Am I the only one here who see bad things afoot when the rains come?)


  • Warning! To protect your rubber swim cap, wash it thoroughly, dry, and cover with a little talcum powder or corn starch inside and out. Then store in a cool dry place.
("Beverly, you really need to do something about that dandruff." "Oh, no Marge, that's not dandruff. That's corn starch. I just forgot to rinse my bathing cap.")


  • Be good, sweet maid, and clever, too... by making a snug, warm coat out of a worn blanket... by changing a retired chenille bedspread into a short beach coat or a long house coat.
(Honey?... What happened to the bedspread?... Oh. I see. You're wearing it.)


  • To clean door knobs without injuring the wood finish behind them, cut cardboard shields to fit around the door knob and key plate. Then go to it!
(I guess this isn't one of the "time saver" activities then. "What are you making there, Suzie?" "Oh, I'm just cutting out some shields for around the doorplates...")


  • Don't shake your dust mop out the window of you want your neighbors to love you! Tie a paper bag around the mop head and shake vigorously. Then throw bag and dust away.

(Did you know the famous feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys all began because of a dusty mop?)

Well, I think that's enough hints for today. Anyway, I just got a warning from the Punctuation Police-- I've reached my exclamation point limit for the entire year. (I probably shouldn't have tossed them into the mix in one lump. I really should have separated them with flour.)

Otherwise, perhaps I will see you again on this Wednesday, when we take a look at some newly thrifted finds.


Da Old Man said...

Jenn! What great hints! You barely scratched the surface! Must have at least 985 more!
I'm waiting for my cream to start to turn sour so I can add baking soda! Or should I just flour my raisins?!
I'm confused!

Sher said...

Wow, I'm impressed! You've read a whole book and given a critique. Me, I've only baked cornbread...

Thrift Shop Romantic said...

Da Old Man- Well, space permitting, I totally would have hit ya with the entire 1003... okay, well, NO, I wouldn't have. But good to know that sour cream hint was helpful. Tastes delicious with floured raisins.

Sher- Mmm, cornbread. Suddenly hungry now. :)

Lana Gramlich said...

BWAH ha ha! I needed that laugh--thanks much! Gads, I LOVE being a modern woman!

Rosemary said...

I am running to go and cut doorknob shields.
I am cracking up at these helpful hints.
Have a great week!

Thrift Shop Romantic said...

Lana- There are definitely some advantages. :)

Rosemary- Heh, good luck with that. I can only imagine your husband's reaction if he saw you making doorknob shields. :)

countrygirl3031 said...

OMG, I'm cracking up reading this. The rubber swimcap and the tan shoes painted black were the best!

Thanks for making my day!


Thrift Shop Romantic said...

CountryGirl- I've lost sleep over those tanned shoes. I just envision horrible social faux pas for these poor 1940s dames, going to some swanky event in painted shoes... :)

Anonymous said...

You know.. this book may come in handy given what is happening around us at the moment :P heheh
It is SO cute!! To be a fly on the wall back then ... :)

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

I especially got a a kick out of the fur coat advice. :)

Thrift Shop Romantic said...

Evie- Let's hope it doesn't come down to us having to paint our shoes. :)

Lynn- Seriously, who gets in on the passenger side, when they're driving?! :) I think they were reaching to make their 1,003 quota. :)

chyna said...

Wonder what type of paint to use when painting ones shoes. I'd love to have a pair of gold or silver shoes. Oh but wouldn't the aerosol from a spray can harm the universe?! Ugh what is a girl to do???!!!!

Oh and who in the world puts soda in their greens? That is one useless hint!!! (oh drill sargent)

Thrift Shop Romantic said...

Chyna- Heh, paint brands weren't specified. :)

And I don't exactly know where that soda and greens thing comes in. Must have been an old wives tale that it made the greens look greener.

chyna said...

Greener beans must have been an Atomic age thing. We do need to remember the Spry people were brainwashing folks left and right. Bet they were convincing the public to make their beans greener by using soda.

Has to be the lead in the paint messing with their brains. ;)

MSBABY said...

"Many of the potato's most valuable vitamins and minerals are in the skin itself. Don't waste it-- eat it!"

Reminds of mealtimes of long ago at my G-Grandmother's house. "Eat it! How will you ever learn to like it if you don't try it?"

msbaby from Funny Kids Gifts, Toys and Other Fun Stuff

Thrift Shop Romantic said...

Chyna- Maybe there was a really aggressive United Baking Soda Coalition then, or something. :)

MSBaby- Ah, yes-- we had the 2 spoonful rule at my house. You at least had to have two bites of everything just once to see if you liked it. Then after that, you could decide for yourself (and mom would just sneak it into the food anyway). :)