Are you wondering why I try to save time? It's so I can do what I want (which is not housework). Some of these strategies are to keep me less overwhelmed with the day to day stuff. Others really help so I can do things I enjoy (like cook) and entertain the kids. Then the remaining ones are just to help me shave off time from my to do list so I can enjoy other things....like a Bravo show, a good book or playing with the kids.
1. Keep toys nearby. These are the baskets for the kids under the living room coffee table. It is just steps from the kitchen. When I need to prep dinner or empty the dishwasher, I just begin the kids playing and slip away.
put a pile of clean dishes for the next meal on the table. This is the dinner pile. It's ready and waiting for the kids or my dear hubby to set the table. I do this often as I clear the table. Since I am walking from table to sink and cabinets, I save steps. Then it's on someone else to set it, which leaves me to prepare meals more easily.
Laundry System: When a basket upstairs gets full, my husband brings it down. He puts it right next to the washer and replaces the hamper with an empty one (yes I own 4 total dirty hampers...2 for us, 2 for kids). This way I peak into the laundry room and begin a load if needed. Another great tip is to start a load in the washer before bed. Then in the morning move it to the dryer. Then before lunch or dinner I move the laundry into the room it belongs. I can do this while the kids are getting their shoes on to go out or on a commercial break. Before bed I put away the laundry. This system helps me stay on top of laundry easily without feeling it's a hassle.
We have kid stuff in the laundry room. I use that room as the messy room for crafts. When I have work to do cleaning or laundry, the kids play and I work.
Art supplies within reach. We keep two plastic trays and container for markers, crayons and pencil along with paper or coloring books at the end of the table. It's such a time saver because I can set the kids working on a page or story and use the time to finish cooking or cleaning.
6. Schedule. The paper attachment is a suggested schedule for our day. It helps me not feel overwhelmed when there are hours to the day and my preschoolers are full of energy. The topics are vague and leave room for creativity and being spontaneous. Like: p.m. activity, computers, books, craft.
7. Also in the picture is our Menu Plan for the week. Seriously if there is one thing to do it's to plan out in advance a week or two of meals. I write it up and never feel the angst of what is for dinner. It also means very few times have I ever needed to hit the store unplanned.
8. Cleaning: To the left of the menu is our cleaning schedule. It shows that I clean one thing a day...such as floors, bathrooms, vacuum. It means my house is never squeaky clean at all once, but it also means I never spend more than 20 minutes cleaning at a time (unless it's a special occasion or seasonal cleaning).
9. I usually have 3 complete outfits (for the general weather and general day) pulled and at the front of my closet. This helps on those mornings I don't want to think about it. Also my closet is in color order...though it's hard to tell from that picture. So I don't have to search long for a shirt at all. Quicker and effective!
10. New one we just began. Nothing is in my sink. All things go right into the dishwasher, it takes a few extra seconds at various times of the day, but I haven't been getting that overwhelmed feeling of seeing a pile of dishes. My husband and I are only ones following the rule now, but I think if we stick with it, the kids will too when they are old enough to load the dishwasher.