January 24, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday -- Shortcuts!


This WFMW post is inspired by my good friend J. Ny who is struggling with the balancing act that comes with being a working mom. She asked for tips on how to have time for herself while "getting it all done" and so it go me thinking about my own chaotic life and what works for me. And suddenly, it came to me -- time-saving shortcuts! I have tons and they help me everyday so I thought I'd share some of them. Here goes:

(1) Swish and Swipe! This tip totally comes from The Fly Lady and I've added my own modifications. Clorox wipes are hidden treasures in my house. We use them for everything (hubby is obsessed). But they are handy because they eliminate the need for all-purpose cleaner and sponges, etc. Just keep a container of the wipes in each bathroom. In the mornings (and not every morning, mind you) I grab a few wipes and wipe down the sink area, the faucet, the toilet, drop 'em in the bowl, flush and I'm done. This keeps the bathroom from becoming an overwhelming project on the weekends. Inside the shower we keep a bottle of tile cleaner and a sponge and I'll give it a scrub while I'm taking a shower. I also keep a spray bottle of shower cleanser in the shower and spray the doors before I step out. I keep a few plastic grocery bags in the cabinet under the sink and use them to empty the trash when it gets full. After doing these 4 things, the bathroom is virtually clean and it takes all of 5 minutes! Of course if you have the luxury of a cleaning lady, you're a lucky dog and you can skip this one.

(2) Pre-prepare Dinner! Dinnertime is tough in my house because I don't get home until 6:30pm and by that time Oldest is starving and Youngest is almost ready for bed. So I try to have quick dinner solutions that are ready to go as soon as I set foot in the door, if not before. For example, I made Monday's chicken pot pie on Sunday night after the kids were asleep. Yes, I would have preferred to be watching my missed episode of Rome but it was worth it in the end. All hubby had to do when he got home with the kids on Monday was pop the pie in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes. By the time I got home it was done and the kids were already eating. Yay! I try to do this for most of our dinner meals when I can (i.e. have chicken marinating in the fridge or a casserole ready to bake) it really saves time and headache in the long run. Also, I make a grocery list for the week on Sundays and we all go grocery shopping for the week together. I don't know why but hubby likes coming and it ends up being a family outing so I don't have to feel bad about missing the kids while I'm running errands. I also bring my cookbooks with me to work so I can plan meals during the day since the evenings are nuts.

(3) The Snack Basket. The snack basket is serious business in my house. When I unpack the groceries, I take all of the snacks out of their boxes and put them all into a basket on the kitchen counter. This way, when Oldest wants a snack or when I'm packing lunches, all we have to do is pick something out of the basket. I try to stock it with healthful stuff like fruit cups, snack size packs of goldfish, mini-rice cakes, clementines, etc. It makes it easier for Hubby to because if I'm not home he can just get Oldest something out of The Snack Basket without (a) panicking (b) calling me or (c) giving her something randomly inappropriate. I also keep snacks for Oldest, like individually-wrapped cheese sticks or grapes, in the bottom crisper in the fridge where she can access them. She loves to open the drawer and get her own snack.

(4) Bathtime! This is one of my personal favorites. Hubby actually inadvertently put me on to it one day when he was bathing the girls. Instead of using a regular baby bubble bath, he used his Dial body wash as their bubble bath. Of course I chastised him about it, but once they were out of the tub, I realized how great they smelled and how squeaky clean they were. And it foams up nice and bubbly like regular bubble bath! So all you have to do is give them a good pass of the washcloth in the key areas and ta-da! Bath accomplished. Eliminates the "please stand up for Mommy so I can scrub you down" battle. I also "Swish and Swipe" the girls' bathroom while they are playing in the tub. 2 (er- 3) birds with one stone!

Hope you liked my shortcuts. Hey, they work for me!


Homeschool Mama said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing them.

Justice Jones said...

Good tips! Bath time is a great time to get a few things done. Clean a room, change some linens, run a load of laundry. Just be careful with the Clorox wipes. They are not flushable. In fact, we had a plumber come out two times for a repeat offender toilet and on the second time, he pulled a big wad of wipes from way down under. GROSS!

Justice Fergie said...

oooo - didn't know that about flushing the wipes -- thanks!

Nikki said...

Wonderful tips! Thank you for sharing them. I especially like your snack basket idea.

Justice Ny said...

Thanks a lot. I will definitely implement the swish and swipe idea immediately, because most of my Saturday is spent cleaning and this will eliminate some of the work. And I like the snack basket idea. Now, if DH will come grocery shopping with us and make it a family outing that would be great because right now, going to any store with DD (who's now trying to run everywhere) is a headache.

Thanks for the tips. Oh yeah...I'll work on the cooking thing too.

tAnYeTTa said...

perfect tips!

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