Kids or no kids, most of us want to feel like we have more time for doing fun things. In the 21st century, we have access to more time-saving services than ever before. Imagine we didn’t have washing machines or coffee makers or worse… no ovens and had to cook on open fires.
I consider myself the queen of efficient housekeeping. I can’t live in a pigsty but I don’t have a lot of time for cleaning, cooking, and laundry with two small kids underfoot. I’ve created systems that work, no matter what’s going on and they are tried and true. My systems save me so much time and brain power, I barely recognize the housework I complete.
Grocery Delivery Service
If you’re still trawling through the supermarkets on a Saturday, using up two to three hours of your LIFE every week for the Big Shop, you are literally wasting your time. Most supermarkets offer click-and-collect or home delivery services and it’s so worth the time and effort to set up.
I’ve been with Tesco for several years and each week I feel immense relief and gratitude that I have this in my life. It’s 9 am on a Wednesday and my weekly shop arrives on my doorstep. It’s a real-life ‘hey presto!’ moment for the fridge and it saves my wallet from overspending too.
I can’t imagine grocery shopping in person each week with my kids in tow, and then hustling the trolley load to the checkout, back to the trolley, to the car, and then finally, to the kitchen.
Prepared Vegetables/ Frozen Veg
As a young family where my husband and I make up the majority of eaters, buying pre-sliced carrots, shredded cabbage, or frozen broccoli is a no-brainer. When making a slow cooker dinner, I can just pile everything in while preparing the breakfast and let it simmer all day.
When using frozen vegetables, they take a fraction of the cooking time which means less steam in the kitchen, less time on the hob, and it honestly tastes the exact same. Buying convenient produce also reduces the potential for waste. Sometimes, we just can’t get through that whole head of broccoli or net of Brussel sprouts.
And I admit, I hate cutting up raw broccoli and having all the little green bits fall everywhere. The frozen alternative trounces fresh every time.
Clean Little and Often
I think if my house looks the exact same after cleaning it, I’m doing something right. A quick run-through with a duster and the vacuum several times a week is the most strenuous part of my housekeeping. But it’s the daily chores, like spot-cleaning the floor, wiping the counters, and collecting rubbish and clutter that keep my home presentable.
I have toy baskets, shoe baskets, paper baskets for mail — baskets for everything. Even my toddler knows where to hang up her coat or tidy away her shoes. The simple act of cleaning up after myself saves me a lot of effort and time. I’m not scrubbing anything. And now I see my toddler following my lead, without ever being prompted or made to feel like she has to and it’s a very satisfying feeling.
I use the vacuum for almost everything. When I dust and vacuum the whole house, it includes inside kitchen drawers, spilled coffee grounds in the fridge, underneath beds, sofas, curtains, corners, skirting boards, and even the bathtub and sink areas. It takes 30 minutes to do the whole house and it prevents grime from building up. Prevention is key.
Limit Toys and Clutter
We don’t have a playroom, but the girls do have a bedroom with toys and there is a play area in the living room. I keep very few toys at their disposal, which means, they play with everything. I swap out toys from time to time which mostly depends on personal interest or the weather.
I have the same rule for myself. I keep the trinkets to a minimum. Sure, all these little bits look great and wow, Pinterest has so many ideas, but they result in more work=more time spent cleaning, re-organizing, and tidying. I’m not a grey blob, I love decor and personal items, but I’m really cautious about adding to the visual noise. Especially because we are a normal family and beautiful displays very rarely stay beautiful/untouched. It’s so much cleaner to not have them at all.
NEVER Fold Laundry on The Couch
I think when you start folding laundry on the couch while watching tv, you’re just begging to fail. The dining table works perfectly if you don’t have a countertop in the laundry area. To save time, I do all of our household laundry in one day, which includes washing, drying, ironing, and putting away. I’ll do additional laundry during the week if needs must, such as home textiles or special requests, but otherwise, I let it build up.
Limit Screen Time
If you need a break, take a break. Make a hot drink and stare out of the window for 10 minutes instead of watching YouTube or switching on your TV. Screen time does not equal a break. Occasionally, scrolling through Instagram for a while is a cathartic and soothing activity, but not when it’s a constant distraction and almost out of compulsion. In reality, excessive screen time is taking more away from you than it’s giving back. Create time limits or little rules that keep you accountable. I like to think of social media in the same way I think of cake or alcohol — never before 5 pm.
Give Your Children Autonomy
Planning every moment of my child’s day would be an enormous time suck. It doesn’t need to be complicated. I make preliminary decisions for them, but after that, it’s their choice. I leave snacks at the ready and keep most child-approved items at their level. We’re now at the age where I no longer need to be their stylist and I give them suitable options.