Before I had a baby, it used to take me 90 minutes to get ready. What in the world was I doing for 90 minutes? I have no idea. Post baby? I can shower, dry my hair, make coffee, and fold a load of laundry in less than 30 minutes.
Because . . . survival. That’s why we moms are so efficient. My days of leisurely living have been exchanged for the joys of sloppy kisses and that clean baby smell.
I love comparing notes with other moms to find easy shortcuts to make my life easier. And so, my friends, here is my list of easy life hacks that are sure to save you time and a little sanity.
Put a hook on it.
We installed tons of hooks near the back door and in our laundry room, which helps me get all of our bags, purses, jackets, aprons, and hats off the counter tops (and floor, and chairs). Simply hanging things up gives the illusion that things are clutter-free.
Leave a bag of diapers by the door.
We store our diaper bag by our back door, and I hide a bag of diapers in a nearby cupboard so I can easily pack the bag without having to run across the house to our daughter’s room where we keep the “real” diaper stash. It also allows me to pack her bag at night without sneaking into her room, ninja style, to grab some extra diapers.
Keep a grocery list on your phone.
Our family keeps a running hand-written list of things to buy on our fridge. However, I also keep a list on my phone (I use the Cozi app) so that the minute I realize I’m out of something, even if I’m nowhere near the kitchen, I can simply add it to the list so I don’t forget. Because as a busy, sleep-deprived mom, if it’s not written down, I will almost definitely forget it. Later, I simply transfer those items to our written list when it’s convenient.
Use laundry baskets to corral items that need to be returned to bedrooms.
As I’m picking up, I always find a random tiny shoe on the floor, or a scarf that I took off absent-mindedly as I was washing the dishes, or those dangly earrings that come off the moment I walk in the door. Instead of creating piles or making 100 trips to put things away, I keep a basket in our laundry room for each bedroom. I simply drop the rogue item into it, knowing that when I (eventually) go to put away the laundry, that item will find its way home. It helps me declutter quickly.
Buy staples in bulk.
We installed shelves up to the ceiling in our laundry room, and it may be my favorite feature of our house. I use those shelves to house extras of just about everything that we use regularly–toilet paper, soaps, laundry detergents, paper towels, zip-loc bags, tin foil, and cleaning supplies. That way I never have to run to the store at the last minute because we ran out of dish-washing soap. I simply go grab another bottle from the laundry room. If our stash is running low, I add it to the list. I do the same with toiletries and store them in my bathroom cabinet, and with non-perishable food items in our pantry. Because we always have our staples on hand, we only have to make a “big” grocery store run about once a month, and then use smaller markets that are easier to run in and out of quickly for most of our food shopping.
Shop online. Duh.
Not only do I not have time to go to the store, but toting a toddler with me makes just about every shopping trip more difficult. And so I buy everything I possibly can online. I use Amazon Prime to purchase most non-perishable goods (from laundry detergent to light bulbs), and I use their subscription service to save 20 percent on diapers (not to mention they automatically reorder every month so I never even have to think about buying them). I also shop online for almost all gifts and clothes (I subscribe to emails for free shipping coupons), and love to discover new online boutiques for one-of-a-kind finds. It saves me hours fighting crowds at the mall.
Prep the house every night before bed.
Every night I try to spend five minutes walking around, picking up toys and putting the house back together. Although I realize that as soon as my toddler wakes up in the morning my house will look like a tornado hit it, this still means I can wake up to a peaceful, neat house, and it keeps things from piling up as the week goes on. I also run the dishwasher every single night and unload it first thing every morning, so the dirty dishes never pile up in the sink.
Pick your battles and decide what is meaningful for you.
My closet is usually messy, and there is usually clutter all over my side of the bathroom sink. My husband and I are the only ones who see it, and I have decided it’s not that important to me. However, I make our bed every single morning because there’s something about having a peaceful bedroom that makes me happy. And I know my husband values a clean kitchen. (See above tip about running the dishwasher at night.) Spend your energy on the things that are meaningful to you and your spouse, and give yourself the grace to not be perfect everywhere, all the time.
Fellow moms, what are your other time-saving mom hacks?