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Help please! What are you top time, energy, sanity- & money-saving tips

(34 Posts)
Grockle Mon 14-Jan-13 00:56:37

My life feels chaotic. I want to have time to read a book or watch a film with DP. I seem to spend all week at work then cleaning, doing laundry, preparing food/ luncboxes etc. I have a chronic condition that leaves me in pain & exhausted so I need to try to reduce the amount I do.

Obviously, people still need to be fed but I've started using frozen chopped onion (I can't cut veg easily) and making 2 sets of sandwiches for DS's lunchbox so he can have one that day & 1 is ready for the next day.

I try to never leave a room without taking something with me to put away & I use the dishwasher for pretty much everything & fill it to bursting before it goes on.

DS usually goes in the bath after me (so saving water & time to run another bath).

What else could I do to make things easier for myself?

Jemster Mon 14-Jan-13 08:40:31

Hi Grockle I'm interested in replies as I think I may have the same condition as you and I find it hard to get everything done and some things I find physically too hard with my hands which is frustrating as have to rely on dh.
I have started a big declutter of the house last week as I think the clutter and mess makes things much harder to cope with. I am doing quite well and am doing a little bit each day. I am on maternity leave though so easier for me, harder for you working. I'm finding it a great feeling to get ruthless and chuck things out. Once I've done the whole house I'm going to try and look at ways to make things easier as being so disorganised makes me feel stressed.
Just to say you do a great job working full time and running a home. It's hard anyway but even more so when you are in pain and tired.

SlatternismyMiddlename Mon 14-Jan-13 11:48:32

Hello Grockle, I started to feel how you feel about a year ago, although without the chronic condition. I started to read around the internet for ideas which is how I came across mumsnet.

The one thing that keeps coming up (and which I have tried to avoid) is having less stuff ie declutter. I started off believing that if I could just get on top of everything with super duper organisation it would be ok, it has dawned on me that really I have to get rid of stuff. As hard as it may be I would start from that point if I was start again (as opposed to working may way round to it 9 months later).

In respect of money saving ideas there was a great thread on the credit crunch topic about little things that people do to save money, unfortunately I can't link.

You have touched on another hot topic when you said about your son's lunches: batch cook and freeze in portions. On the days that I am working I tend to 'remove from freezer, insert in microwave' rather than start a dinner from scratch every night. Also make sure you have a selection of 'oven cook from frozen' items in your freezer for those nights you are shattered.

There is also a very good thread on here about little things you can do to get more organised - I have referred back to it several times.

I hope you get some more ideas, please share if you do as I need all the help that I can get!

Virgil Tue 15-Jan-13 11:26:52

I'm not sure time saving and money saving are necessarily compatible since generally you will pay a premium for things like grated cheese, prepared veg etc.

However, given you struggle to chop vegetables why don't you chop all at once in a food mixer. I frequently buy a massive bag of onions and then throw them all in the mixer. Then decant into portions and throw in the freezer. Same can be done for peppers, carrots, cheese etc.

Do you have a slow cooker? That can be a lifesaver when you've come in from work and have no energy to cook (as long as you remembered to put it on when you left the house!)

wendybird77 Tue 15-Jan-13 15:06:27

I second decluttering (serious, ruthless) - less stuff means less stuff to manage, move around, clean, tidy up, etc. Everything has a place and all that (I'm not there yet, but I will be!). More storage is great, but does mean you'll just keep more stuff to store.

I do laundry every day so it doesn't build up and become a huge chore. I only have one laundry basket, so it can't build up too much. I don't iron. Anything. I don't own an ironing board and only have a small travel iron for sewing. I am having my washer and drier put in the family bathroom upstairs in a purpose built cupboard. In that cupboard will be a basket for everyone. When the kids are old enough they can bring their laundry and then take the clean and put it away themselves. DH is already old enough to do this. If he doesn't then it is out of sight and out of my way. Also I won't have to haul laundry up and downstairs - just a small bag of tea towels.

Money. We have 3 accounts, 1 joint and one each for personal money. It means I don't have to manage my partner's money and we know how much we are spending jointly. We don't use credit cards, if we don't have the money we can't have it (apart from mortgage). All bills are direct debit and electronically managed, which means I don't get such an onslaught of paper through the post. We do most of our shopping online, which means we spend less on impulse buys. Meal planning is the way forward, including batch cooking and frozen meals for those nights you can't be arsed. We are bad at meal planning, but it is one of the things we are working on. I hate thinking about food and everyone wants feeding all the time. Meal plan. At least I only have to think about it once a month (and then shop and get the food delivered).

Hire help. Seriously. All the cleaning and household management take time and energy, there is only so much you can do to minimize it. If you can afford it, get a cleaner. If you can't, figure out what you can give up and get a cleaner.

Grockle Tue 15-Jan-13 20:06:15

Thank you for the responses. I declutter often! I don't know where junk comes from but I'm always trying to minimise the amount of 'stuff'. I know I feel much better when the house looks clean and calm.

I certainly try the 'everything has it's place' thing, as much for my memory problems as anything else. I love the laundry idea, wendy. I'd love to do that. I've stopped using laundry baskets and now put all my dirty clothes in the washing machine - when it gets full, it goes on.

I'm slowly getting back into cooking so batch cooking & having decent frozen meals in the freezer will be a big help. I think I need to go through the freezer and list what we have and try to eat our way through whatever is lurking in there. Proper meal planning will help with that.

I do have a slow cooker which I use occasionally. Since we eat meat very rarely, I don't know what to cook in it!

Thanks for being understanding, Jem. Sorry you are unwell too.

oopsadaisymaisy Tue 15-Jan-13 20:13:40

I'm a busy single parent. I work full time and ds has loads of activities I have to manage. I felt near suicidal with monotony of daily chores. My saviour is my slow cooker. I don't eat meat But I make lots of stews, curries, soups and I then don't have to worry about cooking when I get Back after we've been out at activities.

Cuddledup Tue 15-Jan-13 20:40:11

Look at - lots of tips and great podcasts.
Her book Organized Simplicity is also really good.

Grockle Tue 15-Jan-13 21:05:04

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have a look.

KeepYerTitsIn Wed 16-Jan-13 09:44:57

Bumping as I need help too please.

janeyjampot Wed 16-Jan-13 12:52:30

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Flylady in that sometimes I follow it religiously but other times I fall off the wagon and try to do it my own way. However, the best Flylady habit I have adopted is the bathroom one. I keep cloths and window spray in the bathroom and as soon as I have cleaned my teeth in the morning I wipe over the mirror, washbasin, shower screen and toilet. It takes less than a minute for each bathroom, and obviously I use a separate cloth for each bathroom so as not to wipe the taps with the cloth I've just used to wipe a toilet. My bathrooms always look clean and I never need to worry about it if someone calls in unexpectedly. Most importantly it changes the way I think about my ability to keep my house clean! grin

I can't seem to manage to adopt the whole Flylady regime but the bathroom habit has really stuck.

Grockle Thu 17-Jan-13 01:54:07

I like that idea too. I will give it a go. I like shining my kitchen sink as per Flylady but that's about as far as I got with her.

CheerfulYank Thu 17-Jan-13 02:00:38

Marking my place!

Iheartpasties Thu 17-Jan-13 04:38:01

This might sound daft but I like to have everything neat in my cupboards so I can actually find things. I have as much as I can in little boxes/baskets so that I can pull them out and see what is in there. Save a bit of rooting around to find things.

CheerfulYank Thu 17-Jan-13 15:48:30

After DS's bath I put him in clean undies and often the shirt he's going to wear to preschool the next day. blush Then he just has to put on jeans and socks when he wakes up.

SlatternismyMiddlename Thu 17-Jan-13 18:08:12

Always get the stuff you need for the morning the night before, it saves so much hassle getting out the door in the morning.

I have managed to reduce my electricity bill quite a lot. I'm not sure what made the difference but I started to be alot more careful about switching lights off and washing dishes by hand more, the dish washer was only put on 2-3 times a week.

Grockle Thu 17-Jan-13 21:48:40

iheartpasties... I've just cleared out a drawer and put all my spices in that. And my baking cupboard is now neatly arranged in little boxes.

CheerfulYank, that's impressive! I put DS's clothes on his radiator and I get mine ready too. I wear a uniform to work so it doesn't save loads of time but it means I don't have to rummage through the drawers looking for matching socks or work pants.

QueenofWhatever Fri 18-Jan-13 19:34:23

A useful tip I picked up here was to have a weekly family meeting. It sounds fairly cringe worthy but every Monday evening, DP and I sit down with our Dodo diary and work out what's happening that week - his football and band practice, my book club and yoga, DD's INSET days and parties (god, we sound so stereotypical!). We also write the meal plan on the black board as I go to the greengrocers on a Tuesday morning.

I agree with a lot of the other advice here and I am an avowed minimalist. It really is the answer IMO and it's not just physical clutter - less time on the Internet, less junk mail, less everything really. This all combines to less mental stress.

starfishmummy Fri 18-Jan-13 19:48:43

We're the opposite to cheerfulyank. Ds has his bath in the mornings so if he has been wearing a t shirt during the day he goes to bed in that with pj trousers!

starfishmummy Fri 18-Jan-13 19:49:21

We're the opposite to cheerfulyank. Ds has his bath in the mornings so if he has been wearing a t shirt during the day he goes to bed in that with pj trousers! saves a bit of laundry.

starfishmummy Fri 18-Jan-13 19:51:23


curiouscat Fri 18-Jan-13 19:56:15

Never iron anything. Keep stash of spare pens, pencils etc for easy homework. Gather clutter and tell children/DP it's going in the bin unless they claim it and put it away. Have bathroom wipes handy to whizz over basin if surprise visitors come. Keep lights low and the dust won't show. Get rid of pot plants if they're a pain. Take your book to bed an hour before you normally go. Try taking time for yourself and the chores may melt away, if they don't at least you'll be happier.

BikeRunSki Fri 18-Jan-13 20:05:56

My toddler often goes to nursery in the previous night's vest.

Everyone's clothes out the night before.

Everything we need for the next day in the car or by the door the night before - nursery bags, work bags, library books, party presents. Any packed lunches, snacks, drinks etc in fridge.

One load of washing in every day. I put it in the machine, set the programme, put detergent in etc in the evening, then press the start button in the morning. if I do it at night it wakes DD up. Then I put it in tumble dryer / on line in that brief time between getting back from work/nursery and going to bed.

I have a stash of Wellies in bigger sizes - many hand me downs - which has proven handy more than once when we're on the way out and DS has wailed that his boots are too tight.

Stash of party presents, birthday cards, wrapping paper at home.

The DC have meals at nursery. I try and chop the ingredients for grown up dinner in the morning so it's quicker to prepare in the evening, or put something in slow cooker, or get something out of freezer.

Batch cooking and meal planning.

Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puds.

Tesco delivery once a fortnight, milkman, greengrocer who delivers.

Flexitime at work.

Nice jersey tops and a cardy for work, not shirts that need ironing! (DH job does not need him to be tidy).

BikeRunSki Fri 18-Jan-13 20:10:13

Even if you don't have full meals in the freezer, I freeze portions of pasta sauce, chess sauce, mash etc for quick kiddy meals.

BikeRunSki Fri 18-Jan-13 20:10:15

Even if you don't have full meals in the freezer, I freeze portions of pasta sauce, chess sauce, mash etc for quick kiddy meals.

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