10 simple ways for parents to save time
Do you panic every day when dinner-time approaches? Have you been so rushed you've left the house in your slippers? Or end up with half-packed school bags as you reach the school gate? Then take these 10 tips on how to grab back some time and organise your life.
Shower at night
While it might seem like a superhero level of organisation, showering and washing your hair in the evening can save precious minutes in the morning rush hour and help you get out the door on time.
To keep your locks quick to style each morning, make sure you condition your hair with a deep-conditioning treatment every second wash. This will keep your hair salon-smooth and easy to style.
Shop monthly for grocery items
There’s no reason to spend a couple of hours every week in the supermarket. Doing a big shop for supermarket items like toilet paper and cleaning products once a month can mean that your weekly shop for fresh bread, fruit and veg, and perishables can be done in a jiffy once a week after dropping the kids at school or on the weekend.
If you really want to save time, do your big monthly grocery shop online. Before you start, save a couple of itemised shopping dockets and use these to create an online shopping list. Then, you can tweak it slightly month by month, instead of having to select items from scratch every time you shop.
Train your kids to put a load of washing on
Along with spending less time in the supermarket, parents wanting to save time should spend less time in the laundry . Domestic goddess and co-author of Speed Cleaning (ABC Books) Shannon Lush advises teaching kids how to put on a load of washing. She suggests keeping dirty clothes baskets in the laundry marked whites and colours. “When one of the baskets in the laundry is full, whoever is there puts a wash on. Then whoever is in there when it's finished, hangs it on the line. It's a simple way for other people to help.”
Eradicate ironing from your life
Claim back the hours you spend ironing with this simple tip from Shannon Lush: Spray your clothes with a lavender oil and water solution (one teaspoon of oil to one litre of water), after your threads have left the washing machine. This will get rid of creases altogether and you can kiss ironing goodbye. “Lavender oil is a fibre relaxant so the creases just drop out,” says Shannon.
Recharge your batteries with a power nap
If you’re sleep deprived (and hello, what parent isn’t?) recharge your batteries in a jiffy by taking a ‘power nap’. Set your alarm clock for 25 minutes as soon as you feel yourself getting drowsy and you’ll wake before you enter the deep-sleep zone and feel instantly reenergised.
Have dinners on standby
If you ever find yourself thinking, ‘Oh no, it’s dinner-time, what do I feed the kids?’ then you need some quick dinners on standby. Get speedy dinner inspiration with these 25 quick family meals. Just keep meat in the freezer ready to be defrosted in minutes and a well-stocked pantry so you can whip up a range of family-frendly dinners which can be prepared and on the table in 20 minutes.
And if you're feeling particular clever, double the ingredients and pop one meal in the freezer for a night when you don’t even have 20 minutes to cook.
Car pool the school run
If you drive your kids to school and back every single day, why not set up a car pool with other mums in your neighbourhood at the school gate? You’ll not only save time and petrol, but you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too.
Simplify your beauty routine
Don’t waste hours on fiddly beauty regimes. Here’s one that all mums will have time to do – simple mum-friendly beauty tips.
Also, if you like a natural bronzed look during swimsuit season, buy a daily body moisturiser which builds a gradual fake tan. It won’t take you any longer to apply than your usual body moisturiser and your skin will be glowing.
Get on top of paperwork
Don’t let paperwork build up and intrude on special family weekend time by having a bill paying system in place. Simply allocate a drawer or tray to unpaid bills and then save time by paying them in one batch every fortnight online.
Give yourself a mental boost
If you’re feeling tired and unable to go about things as efficiently as you would like, take a few deep breaths to calm your body and mind. Breathing deeply fills the lungs with oxygen, sending richly oxygenated blood around the body, lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.