Last week I posed a few questions regarding household chores, and I wasn’t too surprised when so many of you chimed in. I often go in waves when it comes to the day-to-day tasks of managing a household. Some weeks laundry really gets on my nerves and I want to go on a cooking strike, and other weeks I’m inspired to try new recipes and I find cleaning somewhat therapeutic. Whatever mood I’m in on any particular day, the thought of making any household chore easier is very appealing. That’s why I asked a few other bloggers to share some of their best tips to make the everyday tasks a little easier.
It’s that time of year again when the kiddos are heading back to school. My son is in grade 12, so he’s pretty self-sufficient. Over the years, I’ve stepped back more and more, allowing him to share a bigger portion of the day-to-day responsibilities that come along with getting to and from school and everything else in between. Basically, if I keep the fridge and pantry stocked with healthy food, he’s good to go!
Although we’re at the far end of the spectrum in our house, I realize that many of you have younger kids and school days can be complicated. While I was reading a few blogs and magazines this past week, I came across a variety of smart ideas that may work for you to get things running a little smoother at your house.
Jen over at IHeart Organizing has gone over and above to make sure getting her three small kids off to school is undemanding. I love how clothes are planned out for the week on Sundays and lunch and snack baskets are kept in the fridge for easy grabbing. Very clever!
I was reading Julie Morgenstern’s book Organizing From the Inside Out and I came to the realization that, although my home is quite organized, there were many changes I needed to make. I’ve always had the idea that ‘like’ needed to be grouped with ‘like’. Julie challenges this notion with her smart, but obvious suggestion of putting things away where you need to use them. Sounds simple enough, but when I thought about the daily tasks and activities that go on in my household, there was some rearranging I could do to speed up and simplify the process.
In most cases, grouping similar items together still holds true. However, this organizing principle falls apart when the items are an integral part of the day-to-day. For instance, most mornings I make a smoothie for breakfast. It requires quite a few ingredients (protein powder, chlorella, chia, hemp seeds, almond milk, frozen fruit, etc.), measuring cups, a blender, drinking cup and a straw. Every time I would make one, I’d dash around the kitchen gathering all the items up, wasting precious time. It finally dawned on me that if I kept everything grouped together as much as possible, it would make the process a whole lot simpler- duh!
I thought about other everyday tasks I could simplify. I placed a canister of assorted teas right beside the tea kettle instead of having them all in the pantry.
Back in my days as a teacher, there are a few things I added to my weekly routine to keep my home life running smoothly (or at least to keep my sanity). In the early days when I was lucky to keep my head above water, I’d think about what we were going to eat for dinner when I arrived home from work or my son’s hockey practice. Needless to say, out came the hamburger helper, frozen chicken fingers or another less than healthy or desirable option- yuck!
Eventually I grew tired of feeling frazzled at mealtime and eating food that lacked nutrition, variety and great taste. I also noticed that although my pantry was full, there really wasn’t anything to eat. I had fallen into the “oh it’s on sale and I may need it someday” trap. At some point you end up with 13 cans of pineapple chunks!
I decided to finally do something about it and created a meal planning system. It took some tweaking to get it right, but basically I was able to eventually implement something that works for us.
In order for meal-planning to work the best, you need to spend some time getting your kitchen organized. If your pantry is stacked miles high with no rhyme or reason and you’re not sure what’s at the back of your fridge, you’re going to continue wasting money. Take the time to do it right. If you need some help with this, I wrote a post a few months ago called Organizing 101: The Pantry.
Although my schedule is more flexible now, I haven’t let meal-planning fall by the wayside. It takes a small amount of time, but yields very big results. Once you see how easy it is to set up your own system and put it into practice, you’ll find it hard to believe you haven’t been doing it all along. And, best of all, your family will enjoy well-balanced meals that don’t deplete your savings!