Photo courtesy FlickrA few days ago, a careless dance move stressed a knee and introduced me to my new best friend, the leg immobilizer. I rediscovered the virtues of the housekeeping principles Seattle home economist Harriet Fish designed for the Boeing Airplane Company’s disabled women employees.
I learned about this system in the Fifties: my mother introduced me to the Heart Association’s helpful pamphlets. The system is based on Frederic Taylor’s rules of industrial efficiency. When the pamphlets arrived from the printer, mother burst into the kitchen waving the sheaf of titles, cheering “If these will make life easier for someone who is ill, think what they will do for me!” She worked outside the home at a time when all clothing had to be ironed, silver polished, and men did nothing under the roof except repairs.
Over the decades, I automatically set up a new house by keeping things where I used them first and storing them so I didn’t have to stretch, bend, twist, or stoop to reach them. I chose standing work surfaces one inch lower than my elbow. When my son was born, I realized this system was speeding my recovery. It’s so convenient, it’s like having someone to fetch and carry.
As I made my first tentative steps on a cranky knee this morning, I realized that the system is still in place. Most of the time, it’s so efficient that all it does it let me work too fast, but when I want help, Taylor’s system is there to hand me what I need. Try the simple practices outlined above. They turn the least promising kitchen into an efficient, productive work environment.
-30- More after the jump.