Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 9 - Nine Time Saving Tips

A friend and I talked the other day about how busy we have both been.  Like really, really, busy.  We are not sure what we have been so busy with, but whatever it is we're doing, (all of those little things that add up into big things), is taking up a lot of time! 

The problem is that I have a love/hate relationship with organization.  I love the idea of being ultra-organized, but I hate the whole process of it.  It means I try {yes, I really do try!} to keep some organized chaos to our days.  

Here are nine time-saving tips:

Meal Planning:  I try to make a menu on Sunday afternoons for that week.  I keep track of what I have on hand in my pantry, fridge, and freezer, and try to plan my grocery shopping and menu all at once.  Then I try to do my grocery shopping on Monday.  I try to keep the afternoon free to put everything away, brown the meat and chop veggies.  I like to get a jump on the food prep so I can put a meal together quickly.  Notice all of the "try"'s in there.  That's the key word.  At times things will come up that will put the kibosh on the schedule, and I try not to sweat it.

Grocery Shopping:  This goes along with meal planning, but I wanted to add a little bit more.  I love to plan my menu and shopping by first using the ads.  I look for things that I regularly use, go through my coupons and put them in some sort of order, and make my list by store.  I have a notebook that I jot down the prices of things I regularly buy, and I also have a maximum amount that I will pay for something; for example, I won’t buy fruit for more than $1/lb.  If it is more expensive then it is probably not in season and not worth buying.  I always check the per unit or per ounce price on the shelf tags, too.  Meat is another item I have a maximum price to pay: no more than $2/lb. ever, and even less for the cheaper cuts.

Piggy-backing Errands:  My bank is in one of the grocery stores, so I try to do my banking at the same time.  The kids have youth activities and Scouts on Tuesdays and I have singing practice on Thursdays, so going into town early on those evenings and picking up forgotten items at the grocery market happen then.  

10-Minute (or 10-Things) Pick-up:  When I was growing up, mom would hold a “10-minute pick-up” which meant that we had to work on the house for ten minutes, putting things away where they went and doing a general straightening.  I remember groaning about it back then, and now when I holler out “Ten Minute Pick Up!” my kids groan about it now.  But it’s amazing how great the house can look after just 10 minutes of everyone pitching in together!

Clean in the Morning:  Lets face it, most of the summer the temperature may be hot, hot, hot!  Another thing that I learned from my mom is to get the housework done in the morning when it is cooler in the house and cooler outside.  Then I won't feel guilty when we lounge in the pool or head to the library for the afternoon since the work is already done.

Keep the Calendar Updated:  I don't know how many times the peeps in our home have forgotten about an upcoming appointment, event, etc.  I try to write everything on the calendar, even if it's just a little note to remember which garbage can to put out on the curb (green or blue).  My sister Emily is great at this, and I am getting better.  I've even started writing down what we're having for dinner, so when that question inevitably comes from one of my four darling children I can say, "Look at the calendar!"

Be a List-Maker:  List-making is part of my love/hate relationship with organization.  I try to keep a running to-do list so I don't have to dig too deep into my own brain to remember what it is I'm supposed to be remembering.  I have a small notebook that I keep in my purse with my purse-sized calendar (which I try to keep updated and coordinated with my on the fridge calendar) to jot down an epiphany as it occurs.  If a minute or two goes by my brain is diluted enough to forget that an important thought ever hatched there.  I also keep a post-it note pad by my computer to jot down important information, like a reminder that Baskin Robbins has 99 cent scoops on Tuesday nights.

Keep the Laundry Rolling:  In a household with a softball player, a football player, swimmers and a now shedding dog, I've got laundry going constantly.  At least it seems like it is.  One way to keep up with it is to make sure I put a load in first thing in the morning.  If that means that my hubs has no water pressure for his morning shower, so be it.  He should have gotten up before I did.  The early bird gets the water.  I also use TV as a bribery to get the laundry folded.  If the kids want to watch a show or a movie, then they must be folding the laundry whilst they watch.  It's a win-win for me.

Schedule Down Time:  If the days are getting away from us, I like to schedule a little bit if down time.  Maybe it's just taking an afternoon to do nothing, or heading to the park with a picnic.  Whatever it is, I don't let it get me stressed.

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