Thursday, April 28, 2011

Miscellaneous Time Savers

Just a few of the things I do to save time at my house.  They may not all work for you, but I always like new ideas to save more time!  
  1. To clean a messy microwave:  Put a bowl of water in the microwave for 5 minutes.  When it stops, discard the water and wipe the microwave.  Most of the grime should come right off. 
  2. To clean the under part of the vent above the oven (I'm sure it has a name, just not sure what that might be = ):  Boil a pot of water on high.  Let the steam "work" the grease.  Then take a a mixture of baking soda and water and scrub the vent.  Be careful not to burn yourself.  Remember the stove is hot! 
  3. If possible put plexi-glass up all around your kitchen back splash.  Then you won't need to scrub walls or change wall paper as often.   
  4. Line the shelves and trays of your refrigerator with paper towels to catch spills.  If something spills, you simply clean up that area and replace the paper towel.  You can put them down in the produce drawers to catch water too.
  5. When taking food to church or a social functions, use disposable aluminum pans.  You won't have to worry about losing your dish or washing up a mess.  Just throw that mess away!
  6. I hate to peel potatoes!  It takes forever, makes a big mess, and I end up cutting half of the potato off!  But then, I learned a nifty little trick from my Grandma: Boil the potatoes first.  Then peal them while they're hot.  The peals just slide right off!  Not as fun as playing "hot potato" when you were little, but it gets the job done.
  7. Keep dirty dishes in your dish washer.  If you don't have a dishwasher, you can rinse dirty dishes and put them in a plastic tub under the sink until it's time to wash them.  This way your kitchen looks neat and tidy in case you have unexpected company.
  8. Run the dishwasher at night while you are sleeping so that you are ready to go in the morning. 
  9. When taking a shower, wash your shower or bath tub just before you get out of it.  Use the same kind of soap you use for yourself.  Now you just have to wash the sink and toilet and your bathroom is clean.  (I wash the sink and toilet before I take a shower and the shower when I'm finished with it, but still in there.  Saves a bunch of work and you know that your bathroom is company ready.)
  10. Train your little guys to be sure their clothes are not inside out when throwing them in the laundry hamper.
  11. If you laundry area is big enough you can provide a few baskets and teach the kids to sort out their clothes.  We do: dark clothes, bright/colorful clothes, white clothes, towels/bed sheets, school uniforms (unless we're homeschooling at the time) and socks.  I keep socks separate so that I can to keep up with them better and treat them for stains if needed. 
  12. Have each kid pick up 5 things.  (Older kids can do 15 if necessary.  They don't need to be big, but the child does need to be able to count to the number of items you have chosen.)  They can be his own, or if his things are already neat, he can help arrange pillows on the couch, take Daddy's shoes to his bedroom, put a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, or straighten chairs at the table.  Just so long as he puts away or straightens 5 different things.  This is really helpful with people are about to come over and you don't have time to do deep cleaning.  (I have people over at my house quite often.  I use this allot!)
  13. Throw all clean socks in a community basket.  I have 3 girls sharing one room.  To save room in drawers and time figuring out what belongs to whom, I throw them all in the same basket and let them find their own.  Keep the basket in the closet or under a bed where it isn't seen.  In winter time, I do this with tights also. 
  14. Train the little ones to rinse the tooth paste wads out of the sink when they are finished brushing their teeth. 
  15. Decide what tomorrow's dinner will be tonight.  Put the meat in the fridge, so you will be prepared.  
  16. I know someone who sets bowls and spoons out at night so that when she wakes up she's ready to get breakfast for the kids.  I'd rather know that my counter tops are clutter free and clean, but you can do whatever works best for you.
  17. Use a crock pot!  I usually get my dinner ready before I even get the kids their breakfast.  That way I know it's in the crock pot and I'm on my way....  It's cooking while I do house work and run around like a crazy person.
  18. If you have leftovers, divide them up into lunch portions and put them in the freezer.  Send them with your kids to school or your husband to work.  This saves lunch money and time packing lunches later in the week.
  19. Play "race the clock". 
  20. Make all school/work lunches for the entire week in one day.  That way you simply have to gather the things you need for the next day's lunches the night before and throw it together.  Saves a LOT of time!  I usually get it all together before the kids are even home from school.  They give me their lunch boxes and I put the new lunch in there and put it in the fridge until the next morning when they leave for school. 

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