Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Favorite Life Hacks

I wanted to share with you some of my most used shortcuts or newly learned little tricks in order to cut corners and save time on the day-to-day kind of stuff. I jotted down a quick list for each category:  laundry, cooking, cleaning, and kids, but would love to hear of any that you swear by! I'm all about making life easier where possible, especially since time is never on our side.

Laundry

                                                                                         photo via Pinterest
 
1.      I try to do a load of laundry every other day or so, at least for the kids. I wheel this cart around collecting what needs to be washed so I can keep loads separated by person. I then throw all washed and dried clothes back into the baskets and can take each load where it needs to go to be put away.

2.      I wash everything on cold so I don’t have to sort by color (except for towels and sheets, which I wash on hot).

3.      Hack of my life: I keep these mesh bags next to everybody’s hamper. Dirty socks are placed in here, and when the bags fill up I simply zip them and toss them in the wash. This has saved SO MUCH TIME sorting and pairing.


Cooking

1.      I’ve really been trying to work on meal planning, which is an obvious one here. We do grocery pickup whenever we can, and that way I have all of my recipes out in front of me and can add the ingredients that I need to my cart. For this, it’s a good idea to keep a notebook or binder full of favorite recipes so you have something to glance at when deciding what the week will hold. I got this one and love that it now contains all of my recipes in one place instead of pieces of scrap paper, links that I saved to my favorites, pins from Pinterest, etc. If you don't have the option of online grocery shopping, something like this is also super helpful. It helps so much with your grocery budget to stick to a pre-planned list.

2.      Wash and portion all produce after your grocery run. We love these storage containers for all of the kids’ fruit, which are reusable, dishwasher safe, and BPA free. They also make it super easy to grab a snack or to toss into a lunch box for school days.

3.      I love love love this spill lid stopper for boiling pasta, which the kids eat all the time.

4.      This onion holder for slicing is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. I also like buying pre-diced frozen onions. It's the same cost as fresh onions and we never waste any, let alone the time they save.

5.      Use a pizza cutter or kitchen scissors to cut up waffles, pizza, pancakes, etc. 

6. We do a Hello Fresh box once a month or so, and many recipes call for honey. I just learned that by spraying your cup with PAM prior to measuring, any remaining honey (or molasses, etc.) will slide right out.

Cleaning


1.      Use an over the door hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies. I like that this keeps them easily accessible and easy to find.

2.      Microwave 2 tablespoons baking soda in 1 cup water in a microwave-safe container for 2-3 minutes (I like to add a splash of lemon juice to make it smell clean). Your microwave will wipe down so much easier this way.

3.      My most dreaded part of cleaning is dusting blinds, but it's a little easier with this trick. Spray down your blinds (if wooden, like mine) with a wood polish. Use an old inside-out cotton sock on your hand, like a sock puppet, to pinch and swipe each individual blind clean.

4.      At the end of each day, I throw all toys into a laundry basket so I can go room to room to put them away. Saves me time and running around the house.

5. Then, of course, there's the Roomba. We run it overnight every night to help keep up with the endless crumbs. 


Kids

1.      Put a command hook on the back of your highchair to hang bibs (if your kids will wear them unlike my little savages.)

2.       If your kids color with crayon on the walls, instead of scrubbing it off, get out a blow dryer and hold it over the crayon for a few seconds. It'll melt and you can wipe it right off.

3.      Keep toys in bins and store them all away. Take one bin out at a time, then pack it up and rotate on a weekly basis. This keeps kids engaged in what is in front of them, and makes all of their other toys interesting and exciting when they are brought out again.

4.      Keep puzzle pieces in large freezer Ziplock bags. You can cut the picture off of the box and tape it to the bag so you know what puzzle pieces are inside. Store all of the bags in one large plastic bin.

5. Use only one kind of sippy cup to rid yourself of the million spare parts and spouts. This one has been a huge difference maker. We moved 100% to the Munchkin Miracle 360 cups aside from the Thermoses packed for school.


Hope some of these help you in taking some time back for yourselves! Anything to make life a little easier in the midst of work and kids is a win in my book, so send any more tips and tricks my way!


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