I’m about to enter a very busy season of my life. I have a newborn, a toddler, I work outside the home, and I’m starting graduate school. It’s imperative that I simplify my life in whatever ways possible to keep my sanity intact.
I know many of you are managing busy households as well. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share some time-saving hacks I’ve learned.
Put Junk Mail Straight in the Recycling Bin
I try to never let junk mail enter our home where we’ll have to deal with it later. We sort through it on the walk from the mailbox to the house and put junk into the recycling bin instead.
My husband set up auto pay for the vast majority of our bills. This decreases junk mail and prevents late fees. Of course, anything you can automate also saves time.
Run the Dishwasher Every Night
We unload the dishwasher each morning while our son finishes eating breakfast. Then, after each meal, we rinse the dirty dishes and load them into the dishwasher instead of piling them in the sink. This saves time, because you don’t have to scrub dried-on food. After dinner, we start the dishwasher (even if it’s not completely full) so that we can start fresh the next day.
Start a Recipe Binder
I have a binder with quick and easy recipes that we love. We use this binder for meal planning and can select meals in a few minutes rather than searching Pinterest for new recipes each week. We do enjoy trying new recipes and will often add one new meal per week. If it’s a hit, we print the recipe out and put it in the binder.
I personally don’t like meal prepping because I find that we won’t eat the same thing that many days in a row. However, if I am cooking something that freezes well, then I will make extra to save time on a busy night.
Throw Away Trash at the Gas Station
When we stop for gas, we do a quick scan of the car for any trash we can throw away. There is always a trash can by the pump, and this is a great way to get rid of crumpled receipts or empty snack containers.
Put Away Leftovers in Lunch Containers
We used to store our leftovers like this: chicken in one container, potatoes in another container, and rice in a final container. Then, when we wanted to eat leftovers, we had to get out three containers and scoop them onto our plate before heating it up. While that doesn’t sound like a big deal, we often passed up taking leftovers for lunch, and they frequently spoiled. Now after a meal, I pack the leftovers in glass lunch containers, putting a serving of chicken, rice, and potatoes in each one. Then, we can grab and go.
If Something Takes Less Than Five Minutes, Do It Now
I can’t remember where I first heard this, but it’s one of my favorite time-saving tips. Here’s an example: you get a bill in the mail. Instead of sitting it on your desk where you have to deal with it later, take a minute to pay online, then throw it away. Another example is finding something where it doesn’t belong and putting it away instead of setting it down where you will have to pick it up again later.
Having less stuff in your home means less stuff you have to clean, dust, put away, etc. It also makes it easier to find the items you actually use and need. I prefer to declutter a little each week instead of doing my whole house at once. I always keep a bag in the back of my car with items that need to be dropped off at the thrift store. Then, whenever I pass by, I take them (even if it’s just one small bag at a time).
Use the Notes App on Your Phone
This is my favorite app. When I empty a container, I pull out my phone and add it to my grocery checklist. If someone mentions a gift they would love, I add it to my gift ideas list. I use my notes as an organized brain dump. Who doesn’t need that?
Listen to Audiobooks
I used to feel guilty about not making the time to read. The first time I ever “read” through my Bible, I actually listened to most of it on my commute to school. Recently, I discovered that my library provides an app where I can listen to audiobooks for free (hoopla).
Audiobooks are perfect for mindless tasks like washing dishes, folding laundry, and commuting.
Turn Off the TV
I know this may sound crazy, but my husband and I have never had television. Turning off the television might help you get to bed earlier and have more quality time with the ones you love.
Use Grocery Pickup
If you’ve yet to try grocery pickup, it is life changing! I love that I can shop for groceries while my kids are napping. I try to schedule pickup for when I am already passing by the store, too. Not only does this save time, but I don’t have to drag two little ones out of their carseats. Additionally, I’ve found that it eliminates impulse buys and saves us money each week.
Repack the Diaper Bag After Each Outing
I repack the items I used such as diapers, spare clothes, and snacks when I return home. This saves time when I need to get two kids out the door.
Ditch Organization Systems That Don’t Work for You
I love looking at pictures of Pinterest pantries. The glass jars with matching labels are beautiful and tempting. However, I simply don’t have the time to pour all my ingredients into separate containers that lack expiration dates and instructions. I’m giving you full permission to ditch organization systems that further complicate your life, even if they work for other people.
Do you have any time saving mom hacks I didn’t mention? Please leave them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other!