Please tell me your time-saving strategies around the house!(32 Posts)
I am a part time working mum, and I do loads of other stuff in my 'spare' time. So I'm looking to set up routines and strategies that will help me run the home reasonably well without dropping dead of exhaustion, or throwing up my hands and living in squalour.
So what strategies / routines / tricks of the trade are your lifesavers? I have started menu planning and doing a weekly internet food shop. I have got a 5 y o dd and a (very messy) 3 y o ds at nursery school, and a rather messy dh. I cook every night and do most of the housework, although dh does lots with the dc and baths them every evening. Dd has severe eczema and food allergies so I have to cook everything from scratch and wash her clothes more frequently than otherwise (because of all the cream!) So that gives you an idea of my life!
Buy as many labour saving mod cons as possible - make sure you have an excellent washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, fridge-freezer etc.
De-clutter - the less you own, the less you have to tidy away.
Everything you own should have a place.
Don't leave a room empty handed, don't allow anyone else to leave a room empty handed.
It is not unreasonable to expect everyone to help out.
Make sure you clean the fluff thing in your tumble dryer so it's most effective.
Have times of the day when everyone helps tidy up for 10mins.
Cook in the slow cooker.
When talking to your dp/dh (if you have one) say you do xxx while i do xx then we will sit down together/ have a cuppa/ wine/ watch tv etc (makes men more inclined to help)
When you buy new things make sure they are easy to maintain. (for eg at the moment we have a crap soaf with 2 throws on, it drivesme batty its another job to do or the room looks a mess so we have now brought a leather sofa so its one less job and easy to maintain)
Thanks for those ideas!
Anna I seem to be on a constant drive to de-clutter; I do think we own too much stuff in all honesty. I am guity of owning far too many kitchen gadgets!
Lovemygirls I have just been given a slow-cooker and haven't got round to using it yet. What kind of recipes work best?
I do things like
Chicken casserole, curry, spag bol, chciken chasseur, chilli, soup. Theres loads of things you can do.
Roseylea I sympathise with the allergies/cooking from scratch. My DD is like this too and it is a lot of work. I try to cook in bulk and freeze.
Do you use microfibre cloths for cleaning? I find them great for spot cleaning and have them dotted about the house. You can give things a really quick once over with them (floors, windows, sinks, etc).
Have a complete spring clean and ruthless throwing out session and then spend an extra 10 minutes each night getting back to that point once DCs are asleep.
...+ do everything LoveMyGirls says - she's absolutely right
Put things away as soon as you are done with them - don't pile them up to put away later.
If necessary put a basket on the stairs and chuck stuff in it - every time someone goes upstairs they have to take some stuff up with them to put away.
Make packed lunches and put out clothes/uniform the night before. Keep on top of housework - itis easier to do a little each day than a huge marathon clean every week.
Declutter in a major way.
Do paperwork regularly, and buy a filing cabinet for filing important stuff.
For papers I keep a box file for each family member. For artwork I have a portfolio size folder for each child. Have plenty of coat hooks child height (we have 12 for our 3 kids) so jumpers and random PE bags can be hung on them, and a shoe rack for their shoes to go on.
Make the kids tidy up before bed or they'll miss a bedtime story.
I give a sack of board games and toys away regularly to freecycle/Oxfam when our shelves get too overloaded - nobody misses them.
Having said that, we're contemplating moving house to get more space ...
Cook double portions so that you don't have to cook every night.
thanks for those brilliant ideas
I will get organised, I will I will I will...
I have just started on teh FLYbaby thread. It has been great. One of the biggest things that I have learnt is that you don't have to set aside an hour t do housework You can get loads one if you do 5 mins here and 5 mins there...it all adds up.
For example I have cleaned al of the interior pannels of my windows in my conservatory this week. I did 3-4 panels 5-10 mins a day over a few days and now it is done. I mostly did it whilst I was waiting for tea to cook.
Keep vanish stick by the bath so when the DCs take off their clothes you can use it on the stains before putting in the laundary basket
Always turn clothes around to the right way before putting in the laundary basket.
Put knives in one compartment, spoons in another etc etc in the dishwasher,makes unloading it so so much faster
Never leave the house in the mornig without beds made,dishes washed etc.
Similarly never go to bed until all tidy and sorted. Breakfast stuff out.
Train kids to put dirty clothes in laundry basket but don't wash unnecessarily.
Make lists all the time.
If you have a downstairs law, get extra toothbrushes for the kids and have them do their teeth here brfore schoool.Mine come down in pyjamas but I bring their clothes down the night before so they change down here.
Each night, before bedtime, DS1 (5) and I do a timed tidy up where I set the timer at 5 minutes to tidy up each room. We've been doing this for a couple of weeks now and remarkably he's really happy to do it, despite DS2's (1) attempts to undo all our good work.
my kids age 5,7,9 help lay the table and after a meal put their own plates and cutlery in the dishwasher
I used to work as a cleaner in a hotel and our top cleaning tip was to use towels to clean a bathroom with.
I have loads of cheap ikea hand towels, I wet one corner and squirt some flash onto it and clean with that end then dry with the other dry end.
Use it on everything except inside the toilet where I used cut up j cloths and once they are used they are binned. It is easiest to do this when kids are in the bath as I have to be in the bathroom to supervise them, once they are in bed I wipe the bath out.
I use the same towel system to clean windows, again wet one corner and I have a small bottle full of washing up liquid for the upstairs.
Have large storage baskets to chuck all kids toys in at the end of the day so it looks tidy. The less you have to move when you hoover the better.
Have wipe board to make a shopping list and things to do list, wipe off when done, I change my colours from green to RED when it is getting desperate!!
Keep things close to where you use them so you don't waste time wandering about collecting things when you need them.
Get children into the habit of bringing their dirty clothes down and putting them in the correct laundry basket (oh, have three laundry baskets for whites/darks/coloureds)
Have a quick tidy up before bed time so you wake to a nice tidy house.
And de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter! It's the biggest time saver there is - cleaning can be done in a flash!
Also, make a rule that the children tidy their room before they go to bed. Even if it isn't perfect it will never get into too much of a mess.
A basket/box for each person's clean washing.
Electric carpet sweeper gets rid of the worse of the mess on the carpet in just a few minutes.
School uniform is kept in the kitchen so I can sort it for the next day whilst making tea
I know all about cooking from scratch - we do that too and it is very time consuming. I batch bake bread, cakes, buns etc. and wrap them individually ready for putting in lunches.
My most labour (and water) saving trick is to rush outdoors when it's been raining heavily (neighbours think I'm crazy ...) with a squeegee - and squeegee the windows when they are wet. Very quick and no smears. Depending on wind direction you can usually only do one side of the house at a time!
DON'T have an ironing basket. When clothes are washed and dried hang them on hangers straight away or fold them and put them away. Iron as and when you need them. Nine times out of ten most items don't even need to be ironed. I used to spend hours trying to clear my ironing basket and it really used to get me down knowing it was there. Just take ten minutes the night before ironing what you need the next day. Life's too short.
Ages ago I saw a program about a family with loads of children and they were mega-organised. They had a box for each child, filled with everything they needed for school.
As school mornings drive me crazy, I have just sorted out 2 plastic boxes to contain everything to do with school for my 2 x DD's. (one each) I'm feeling quite hopeful that this will stop the manic morning dash up and down the stairs, finding pumps, PE kit, homework, books etc.
It contains all the above + recorder, swimming costumes and hats, gloves (will need soon- no doubt).
Feel quite giddy now!! (How sad is that!!!)
(thought it was an idea worth sharing.)
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