50 Ways to Streamline Your Life, Part Three


Ever feel like you’re riding a really slow horse in a long line of really slow horses?

Life can be like that. You have places to go, people to see, and your mode of transportation is not performing as well as it should be. Or there are road blocks. Or you get lost along the path.

I’ve been talking the last three and a half months about where we are on this road called motherhood and where we want to be headed. If you’re just jumping in, the conversation starts here.

And most recently, I’ve been addressing ways to streamline, ways to be a little more efficient with your everyday so that you can spend less time on the “urgent” and more time on the “important.” (Go here for the beginning of this series on ways to develop systems and routines that help you be more efficient and effective in your Life as MOM.)

16. Set your maids to work first thing in the morning. Don’t think you have any servants? Au contraire! Put a load of laundry in the washing machine, make sure the dishwasher gets run, start soup or chili in the crockpot for dinner, and measure out the fixings for a loaf of bread in the bread machine. Make your modern conveniences work for you. If you can make these things regular habits, food and clean underwear will never be too far from reach.

17. Use little minutes. What can you do while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew or while you’re on hold with the phone company? You could just twiddle your thumbs OR you could peruse your to-do list and see what can be done while you wait. You’ll be amazed at how little time it takes to fold a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher or wipe down the counters.

18. Cook ahead and freeze several meals. I cannot tell you how nice it is to pull out a lasagna, a pan of enchiladas and calzone dough from the freezer. By pulling those out to thaw on Thursday night, I’ve freed myself a weekend of cooking – almost. Even if you can’t cook all day, just double each night’s dinner this week and freeze the extra meal. Later in the month, you’ll enjoy your frozen assets.

19. Clean the bathroom while you’re in there anyway. I hate cleaning bathrooms. But, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I’m finding that I can clean and organize the countertops while the littles are in the bath. I can scrub the shower right before I hop in. I can empty the trash cans when I leave after my morning routine. How can you get the tough job done?

20. Delegate. Focus on the tasks that only you can do. If you spend your time on things that the kids, your husband, your mother, your mother’s helper can do, you are misusing your time. Do the things that no one else can and then pass off the jobs that others can. For instance, my kids can all empty the dishwasher, but they can’t all scrub toilets. If I have 15 minutes, I should tackle the toilets and send some kids to put away dishes.

21. Develop a method of cleaning and tidying for each room. If you spend a few minutes to think through an efficient method, you will reap those minutes back a hundred fold. It may seem silly, but write down each step. That way when someone says, “How can I help you?” you will have a well-prepared response. And personally, the step-by-step instructions help ME!

22. Include a child with you in your errands. It’s easy to let fellowship with our children fall by the wayside when we think we have so. much. to. do. May it never be that they are surplanted by our “to do” lists. Alternate taking a different child with you as you run to the grocers, the cleaners, StuffMart. Converse along the way. You’ll be able to “check something off your list,” but you’ll also be making valuable connections with your kiddos.

23. Store like items with their kin and locate them where you use them. For instance, all my baking utensils are in my baking drawer which is right under the cupboard where I store my flour, sugar, etc. I do all my mixing on the counter in between. By storing things this way, I eliminate unnecessary steps and make everything easy to find.

24. If you bake often, consider preparing your own homemade mixes. We regularly measure out the “dry team” for waffles, pancakes, scones, and cornbread. Then near serving time, we dump the bag in a bowl, add the wet team and bake accordingly. It cuts out several precious minutes and ensures that we have what we need for the recipe.

25. Maximize relaxation. When you have some free moments for just MOM time, consider what you really want to do with that time. What will rejuvenate you more? Surfing the internet or taking a bubble bath? The choice is yours. Make it count.

26-50: To be continued…

What’s your favorite way to cut corners? Tell us in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Abundant Living says:

    The way grandmas used to do it works for me. laundry on one day, ironing on another, dusting on the next, cleaning floors on yet another, and mass baking for a separate day…and if everyone cleans up after themselves(not always an easy feat!), it makes for an easy time. i loved how you mentioned using little minutes.

    also, a friend gave me a HUGE pieces of advice that works wonders: when you bring in the mail, quickly go through all fliers, junk mail, and bills. throw away what you can(if only you could do that with bills!) this has helped my bad habit of forming piles!

  2. SonyaAnn says:

    “18. Cook ahead and freeze several meals.”
    This is my favorite. I love time savers.

  3. I clean the bathroom when the youngest is in the tub. I can also use that time for any face scrubbing, eye brow tweezing, or any other personal hygeine stuff. Sometimes I’ll kick off my shoes, roll up my pants and let my feet soak in the tub.

  4. I find keeping a spiral notebook and pen handy while I’m in the kitchen or at my desk is the best way to keep all my notes, lists, and thoughts in one place. I consider it one of my maids; it has become that important to me.

  5. I have been a mom for nine years and now have 5 children. I have been doing most if not all of the streamline suggestions and they have really helped. my biggest struggle is that it is not a one time thing and I feel like I always am “adjusting” our streamline. A new sport, new baby, vacation, someone sick, the food in the freezer is gone…you know the drill. For the longest time I would get really upset and not be kind when my routines were broken. My fuze would be short with everyone because I LOVE routine and order. So I just wanted to give a shout out to all the woman who maybe in that transistion stage of tweaking your routine that it is just that “a stage”. Those are the times that I take a week, get a college girl to come clean, and redo all the chaos that has now happened and we slip back into that nice comfortable routine again.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

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