Thursday, March 26, 2015

Saving Time

It's a tad bit funny that I would write a post about ~saving time~ during this season of my life when I feel like I never have enough time for all I have to do.  Most days it seems I'm adding more to my to-do list than I'm marking off.  

There is so much work for moms to do isn't there?  Cleaning the house is work, and teaching school lessons is work, and cooking meals is work, and laundry is work, and then there's training and correction, and hugs and kisses, and giving baths, and reading stories and more!

There's no magic formula to homemaking.  It requires organization and self discipline.  It helps me to remember that God is totally trustworthy in every part of our lives.  He cares about your sink full of dishes and hamper full of dirty clothes, but more than anything He cares about YOU.  We should run to him when our burden is heavy.  Spending quiet time with Him is the best thing we can do for ourselves, our husbands, our children, and our homes. 

There are lots of things one can do to streamline chores, work faster, and make the household run a little smoother.  Today, I'm going to brainstorm a few ideas with you.  Comment your time saving ideas, please.  I would love to hear them.  

  • Cook two meals at once.  There are a couple of different ways you can do this.  Prepare two of the meal you are making and freeze one, or cook lunch and dinner at the same time.  Some days while I'm making the kids' lunch I will go ahead and cook dinner.  We get all of the clean-up done at one time and it feels great knowing dinner is ready to go.  Likewise, if you are already making a Lasagna or Shepherd's Pie you might as well make two and freeze one for a future meal.  The time it takes to double a recipe is not significant, but the time you will save on dinner preparation on a future evening is.

  • Triple buy at the grocery store.  If the budget allows it can be a great time saver to buy three of each of the things on your shopping list.  For instance, if my family makes a special request - say Cheesy Potatoes, or Peanut Butter Pie, I make a list of the ingredients needed for their special request.  When I go to the store I buy three of each of the items on the list.  I'm then able to make the requested dish plus I have the ingredients to make this item a couple more times in the future.  The needed ingredients will already be on hand.  Less time running to the store = time saved.  

  • Freezer cook.  Along the lines of the previous ideas, cooking meals and freezing them for the future is a huge time saver.  Choose a day to cook several meals.  Package them up, label, and freeze.  I've heard of women getting up to 30 meals ready in an all day cooking extravaganza.  I've not tried it, but it sounds like fun - especially if you could team up with a friend.  Having several dinners prepared ahead of time means major time savings in your future.

  • Clean the shower while you're in it.  Cleaning the bathrooms is a major chore (at least for me) and takes an enormous amount of time.  One of my favorite shortcuts is to clean the shower while I'm in it.  You might not believe it but it really does take tons of time off of cleaning the bathroom.  

  • Group errands and do them all on one day.  Running errands requires a good deal of time, usually.  Many years ago my husband and I lived in a small town and errand running wasn't too time consuming.  Everything was pretty close in proximity.  For the last 10+ years we have lived in larger cities where things are spread out and my errands can seem to take forever.  An easy way I have found to save time is to run all of my errands on one day and to make a plan for each stop in order of location.  If you can run all of your errands on one particular day (I know this doesn't always work out) it will save you major time.  

  • Give some small jobs to the little kids. Giving the kids a bit of the workload is good for them and good for you.  When my 3 (almost 4) year old asks to watch a movie I sometimes ask her to match up socks from our {gigantic} sock basket while she watches.   

  • Use wait times to do desk work.  Make yourself a portable desk and work while you wait on kids at soccer practice, piano lessons, etc.  What do you need for a portable desk?  Well, that's up to you and depends on what kind of work you want to do.  I like to carry a clipboard, notebook, pen, some stamps, calculator, etc.  You can use wait times to balance the checkbook, write out the bills, make a menu plan or shopping list, write a thank you note, and various other things.  

  • If at all possible don't shop when everyone else does.  I kick myself every time I shop on a Saturday.  I just did this recently and it was a great reminder why I should never, ever do that.  Lines are longer, aisles are more crowded, parking lots are full.  Shop early in the morning when other people are sleeping.  Shop during the week during the day.  Shop when most people don't and you will find you save a lot of time.  I know there are times when it can't be helped (believe me I know!) but as often as possible avoid the grocery store when everyone is leaving school/work and avoid the mall (and Target!) on Saturdays.  

  • Double up on some of your chores.  Clean the toilet while the kids play in the bath.  Give a spelling test at the kitchen counter while you are cooking dinner.  If there's a chapter of a book you are needing to read to the younger kids, read to them while they are soaking and playing in the tub.  They're getting clean and you can check that chapter off your to-do list.  Tidy the laundry room while you are waiting for the washer to fill up.  Pull weeds in your flower bed while you are on the phone.  Make a grocery list on your phone while you walk the dog.  Clean the garage while the kids are playing in the yard.  Sweep the kitchen floor while the kids eat breakfast.

  • Shop online.  This, for me, is a huge time saver (and occasionally a money saver too). Shopping online means avoiding lines and crowds, finding exactly what you need, saving gas, and more.  You can shop in your pajamas too!

  • Get organized.  Being organized saves a ton of time.  Have a place for everything and teach your children to put things where they belong.  Keep your car keys always in only one place.  Make a menu plan for your week.  Make a schedule for your day.  Anything you can do to be organized with your homemaking and homeschooling will save you time.  The more organized you are the more time you will save, and the easier life will be.  

  • Beware of the time wasters...TV, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  Do you want to save time?  Limit how much time you spend on any of these (and others like them).  

  • Don't sleep too little and don't sleep too much.  Either way you will waste time.  

  • Pack lunches while you are doing dinner clean-up.  This is easy to do when you are already cleaning up leftovers anyway and saves a lot of time in your morning.  Go ahead and set the table for breakfast before you go to bed.  I realize that may sound like a little thing but you would be surprised how much time you save in the morning if you wake up to a clean kitchen with the table ready for breakfast.

Okay, those are some of my ideas.  What are your favorite ways to save time?  

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