ThriftyNut

Survival Tips for One-Income Households

Fun Taco Cups, Kid Tested, Mother Approved.

Wow has this summer been busy!  I am still doing projects here and there, but I am basically focusing on having a ton of fun while my kids are off of school and potty training a 3 year old, lol.  Hope everyone’s summer is just as fun!

I decided to give THIS recipe a try because I had leftover taco meat and was tired of the same ol’ tacos we always eat.  Not only that, but sometimes your children get bored too!  So I decided to change it up a little to see if I could trick them to eat more!  he he he  Let me tell you… Happy kids makes a happy mommy.  So here it is.

FUN TACO CUPS

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Using a pizza cutter, cut a tortilla shell in half twice, giving you four pieces.


**Fold into each muffin cup until it sits nicely.  Some might fight you.  I see (after I tried this, of course) that I could have flipped the pan over and used the bottom to get the cups (going in between the cups-negative space for those artist people-to get the diamond shape)… try it and tell me if it works!



Spritz or Spray (whatever your preference) with Olive Oil.
Throw in the oven for about 3 minutes to get a little crisp.
Fill with all the hot toppings you like… (cheese, meat, refried beans, more cheese)

Put back in oven until cheese melts (probably 4  min)

Take it out and add cold toppings (lettuce, tomato, sour cream)!  It is that easy!

Serve with Salsa (or if you are like me, ketchup, mmmmm)

I was watching 3 other kids the night I tried this.  So a total of 5 kids gobbled them up with great big smiles on their faces! Totally satisfied mommy!

For a printable copy (copy and paste this into a word document)

FUN TACO CUPS

Preheat oven to 400° F.  
Using a pizza cutter, cut a tortilla shell in half twice, giving you four pieces.  
Fold into each muffin cup until it sits nicely.  Some might fight you.
Spritz or Spray (whatever your preference) with Olive Oil.  
Throw in the oven for about 3 minutes to get a little crisp.  
Fill with all the hot toppings you like… (cheese, meat, refried beans, more cheese)
Put back in oven until cheese melts (probably 4  min)
Take it out and add cold toppings (lettuce, tomato, sour cream)!  It is that easy!
Serve with Salsa (or if you are like me, ketchup, mmmmm)

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Easy Way to Pickle! Why didn’t I think of this sooner!

I used to work for The Fireside in Fort Atkinson, WI a long time ago and they used to have pickled brussle sprouts that I just could not stop eating… shhhh  lol  I craved them for many years and looked for them periodically to see if they carried them.  I craved them so badly that I came up with this idea.  AND GUESS WHAT???   IT WORKED!!!!

Just before you are about to run out of pickles, go ahead and buy fresh organic Brussel Sprouts (they are the best!!!).  You can get them pretty cheap at the Farmer’s Market in the summer months!

Your pickle jar can be purchased at Walmart in the “Family sized” section.  Believe it or not, it is actually pretty close to the same price as the small jar, but you get an enormous size pickle jar… Plus, the jars are great (once you kill the pickle smell in them, lol) for reuse as a coin jar, storage jar, etc… possibilities are endless!

So, you eat your leftover pickles from the jar for lunch while you boil your brussel sprouts until they are soft (mine took about 10 min)…

When they are soft enough for a fork to slide through, they are done.  Strain them out and run cold water on top of them.

mmmmm, they look so good!  Half really could be eaten for dinner if you would like… They are great with just butter and sea salt on them.  I ate one and put the rest inside my pickle jar.

 

There is actually a pickle in it still… I couldn’t eat them all up that fast.  That’s ok, though!  It will all taste like pickles soon!  Just refrigerate and pop them in your mouth when ever you want!  If you are serving for a party, they actually taste even better the next day once it marinates a little more.

There you have it!  You could try all sorts of pickled items this way without having to be a chef!

Hope you like my tip for the day!

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Great Advice for Dishwasher

This one will be short and sweet…  I am so thankful I have an older sister who is wiser than me.  She taught me this cool trick.

Invest a dollar in this item…

Here is how you use it… Scrub the dishes, load the dishes, put the Homemade Dishwasher Soap in the dispenser, scrub the sink and all the way around it, then throw it right into the dishwasher daily.

THAT’S IT!!!!  There is my advice.  Don’t you just love it!

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An Activity a Day keeps the Melt Downs Away

Don’t you just love that title?  An Activity a Day keeps the Melt Downs Away.  Yea RIGHT!!!  I don’t know about you, but my kids WEAR ME OUT!!!!  So, I have come up with a few things that seem to work in my household.  With a little helping hand (called the Internet) THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET!!!! Some of these might just get you laughing with your kids too!

Don’t forget to look up from the computer once and a while and come back to reality… Melt downs seem to happen when I forget to give them undivided attention.

1.  A New Way to Take a Bath!  Bathtubs are great to buy you about 30 min of time for you to relax… Or clean your bathroom!  Find some time for yourself like painting your toe nails while they are in the tub… Or pluck your eye brows, lol… Anything you can do for yourself at this time can encourage you to clean your kids more often!  lol  One of my favorite things to do is read a book while they are in the tub.  (My kids are getting older, so I don’t have to worry AS MUCH about drowning)… Some fun ideas… Glow Sticks, Bath Crayons and BUBBLES.  I was a little scared about the how dark it would be if I turned the lights out while they had glow sticks, but luckily I have a window in my bathroom and covered it halfway to keep some light in there.  They spent almost 45 min in the tub that day… I just kept adding hot water.  I have never seen their fingers shrivel up that much.  Even in the next scenario!

2.  Go to the pool!  Look around and find a cheap place to go swimming.  They are there if you look for them.  Call hotels and ask too, can’t hurt!  I know some have packages for parties.  If you have a YMCA or a YWCA in your area, check for their rates.  Get on the mailing list for upcoming events.  In my town, they have a pool at the high school.  They have open swim times available and times for home schoolers and preschoolers.  Find out when the discounted days are and take advantage of them.  Your kids will love it and so will you!

3.  Go to the Lake!  Not just for summer… Take your kids turtle/frog hunting and fishing/ice fishing or for a boat ride (if you are able to).  Just spend some time soaking up sun rays and water.  You and your kids will feel refreshed.  If you don’t have all of those items, just take them for a slippery walk on the ice or collect rocks or shells.

4. Toilet Paper!  Don’t be stingy.  You can just use what’s left on your dispenser if you don’t want to waste a whole roll.  It doesn’t cost that much to have fun once and a while.  Your kids will not stop laughing at this one.  Let loose once and a while and make a mess…

Wrap them up like a mummy… Make long(er) hair, Make a pretty dress (if you have girls), make bib over-alls for your boys… Make big shoes… etc

You can easily clean it up by telling them to scoop it into a pile like a leaf pile to jump in.  That way, it is all in one spot and you can throw it away when you are done.

5.  Sumo Wrestling… SO FUN!!!!  

I think the pictures speak for themselves!  They had a ton of fun with this one… Goal is to WEAR them out!!!  Without getting hurt.  You definitely have to keep an eye on them if they are indoors doing this.

I CAN’T wait for it to get warm out and the ground is dry.  I will definitely be taking this one to my back yard where they won’t hit their heads on the wall or coffee table.  Some close calls here.

6.  Get them outside… Especially in the snow…  Fresh Air wears them out!

7. Play Brain Games that will get them active.  There are many ways to do this…  This site has many fun ideas to “Reset” the sanity… Check out more ways here…  I LOVED #15 because it got them active and had fun thinking.

8.  Make sensory stones… This one looks like fun and I can’t wait to try it.  This is where I found it…

That’s it for now!  I will continue to update this one because I think it is the most important.

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CLEAN FREAK? HAVE YOU SEEN MY HOUSE? lol I have kids!!!

Through the years of baby clothes and different strategies for small spaces, I think I finally have a handle on things.  Am I clean freak?  HA! HA! HARDLY!  These are the ideas that I have come up with to save time, space and sanity.  I will be adding to this list indefinitely…

1.  My single most best and favorite tip… ROLL all your clothes, towels, blankets.  You will be amazed at the space you save.  I guarantee you will add an extra shelf.

Here my blankets are folded… As you can see, two more blankets (of the same size as these) would have filled this shelf… Maybe a couple more if you want to JAM it in there.  lol


When you roll, you can do MANY layers… saving space… No more need to JAM it all in there and have it all fall on you when you open the door!  I could fit probably 8 more blankets in here… More, actually, because the blankets shown, are my biggest blankets!

2.  Put a load of wash in DAILY… If you keep it going and only do one a day, you will kick the fear of loads and loads of work to do.

3.  Use a “to do” list.  Organize yourself before you start.  That way you will be ready for those unexpected guests when it has been a while since your last toilet cleaning.  Have a separate cleaning calendar and fill the whole thing in.  No more guessing.

4.  Organize your medicine cabinet… I found that flipping cereal boxes inside out, taping back up and labeling them makes for a really easy and cheap way to organize all the mess.  This made me VERY happy… Wish I did this YEARS ago.  No more digging to the bottom of the box hoping to find headache medicine, all the while bending over giving you a whole new feeling to the headache.  You can have your kids decorate them as well.  Most mom’s have these items hidden anyways…  It will make you smile when you see them!

5.  Keep all your drawing utensils (crayons, markers, stamps, paper) and play dough separate from all the other toys.  I keep mine in a cute bin that holds everything.  I just keep it in the cupboard above the fridge and slide it out when I want it.  No marks on the walls and it is a real treat and creative tool that never gets old.  Just pull out the goodies and let them fish through the bin themselves.  No more whining that they don’t want to color with crayons.  They can do whatever they want and use their own imagination instead of relying on you.

6.  Toy circulation is a must!!!!!  Keep the kids excited about their toys.  Pull them out when the kids start acting naughty… Life saver when you get sick and there is no one to take care of you or your kids.  Just grab a bag and empty it on the floor.  Hours of fun!  When you get a new bag, bag up the old ones and put them back in the basement.  I have heard of people using this as a tool to get the kids to clean up as well… “Anything left on the floor is going in the garbage.  10…9…8… and so on”… Use garbage bags and they will think you are serious when all you are really doing is putting them away for another month.

7.  MAGIC ERASERS!!!!  Wow, shoe scuff marks, marks on leather, grease stains, wall stains, hard water build up, etc…  I am truly amazed.  And guess what?  You can get them at the dollar store (2 in one box).

Added 02-29-2012

8. Put up a tension rod under your sink to store your spray bottles on… Freeing up more space for your other stuff under the sink.  This is awesome!  Keeps it neat and you know right where it is when you go to grab for it.  Thanks to this blog, I have restored the sanity under my sink.  http://jengrantmorris.blogspot.com/2010/09/under-my-sink.html

9. Use organizers whenever you can… I put a stackable organizer under my bathroom sink.  LET ME TELL YOU… I feel better because I did it.  Proud moment here.  The mess has a place now.  Nothing is falling out or getting caught behind the drawers… lol

Crazy me… I went to the dollar store and spent $4 on creating sanity in my snack cupboard… LOOK how pretty…

I didn’t spend much, but this does 2 things… makes it nice and organized (SANITY) and allows me to monitor how much my kids eat by dividing into snack cups (seems like they are NEVER hungry for dinner, but snacks?)…  I started to get lazy and let them eat right out of the bag without getting up to put it in a bowl for them… I don’t like doing that because that encourages bad snacking habits.  We all eat more out of the bag instead of listening to our body tell us we are done.  So, dividing into snack bowls before hand is really easy… I just tell them to grab whatever they want out of the snack drawer…  At night, they are told “nothing with sugar”.  And they know the difference.  I didn’t have to get up, it is all ready for them… Can we say… SANITY!!!!  Ahhhh
I will be getting one for my fridge… stay tuned for that post! lol

Until next time…

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Ammmmmmmmazing! Slow Cooker Honey Chicken!

Mother tested, Kid approved, FOR SURE!!!!  Not only are you saving money by NOT ordering Chinese, you can have a similar recipe in your home for a fraction of the cost AND because it is made in the slow cooker???  Yea, saving you time and energy.  Isn’t that what we all want?

This is the first (well close to it), Chinese Chicken Recipe that I can find that didn’t have all sorts of weird ingredients in it.  I loved this!  AND so did my kids!  So much so, I started blogging before I sat down to eat…  I am waiting for the rice to cool a little.  Find original recipe here… http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/01/slow-cooker-honey-sesame-chicken-recipe.html

Amazingly, I had mostly EVERY ingredient on hand!  I left out the sesame, but it tastes great anyways!  VERY easy…

It smells and looks AMAZING TOO!!!!  So much so, I put testers for the kiddos on toothpicks just like they do at the mall or grocery store!  he he… my kids got a kick out of that one!

Here are some really happy kids…Have fun trying it yourself!  LOVE IT!!!!

Just waiting for the final approval… My husband!  lol

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Our Chore Game

Oh how I love Pinterest… It has inspired me to Blog again!!! So, I found this awesome project to help get the kids in the mood to clean… And BOY DID IT WORK!!!!  I found two ideas on Pinterest that I thought would mix together… Find one here, HERE and the other HERE,
updated on 03-02-2012

There are a few things that I would like to say about it…  One is to make sure you figure out how long the kids will stay “into” the chore game…  They seemed to be ok doing about 2 things with great attitude and then they would start to whine when they got to the 3rd chore…  I am still perfecting this, so bare with me… I will let you know my progress as I go and let you know if I pull my hair out or if it turns gray!  Lol

So, I saw this post on Pinterest to use a pair of dice to roll which chore you get… I thought the kids would get a kick out of that… And when I saw the dice at the dollar store yesterday, I had to pick them up and start this chore game in my own house!

So, the planning on the chart was very simple… I just used a marker and taped it up on the door. I was really just trying to see how the kids would respond to it… So far so good! I actually like this way better, because I can change it every time we play… If I feel like I need some help, I just think of 6 chores that they can safely do. Write them down, tell them the chores and then we each roll one dice… EVEN ME!!! The boys got a kick out of that one!

Once the chore is done, to MY satisfaction… There are rules! Good attitude and done in a somewhat timely manner (they are kids, you know)… I found a pickle jar in my house waiting for a home! It was the perfect thing to hold their progress! It even had 3 measuring slots… I put tape on each of the lines… One reads $1, the second $2 and the third, $3… To fill the jar… I would like to say that I found something fun like bouncy balls or marbles, but I don’t have those lying around (and my kids would be playing with them anyways)… So, I settled on bird seed. Lol Yes, I said bird seed. I put a ½ cup scoop in the bird seed and whenever they do their chores with a bunch of enthusiasm, I add a scoop for each boy… If they reach the $1 line, they have the choice to cash in, or wait for the $2 slot… It will be interesting to see if this is what they will choose. I am still debating whether I want two separate jars, one for each. I can already foresee fighting happening. So, I think I will make a second one tomorrow.

Cleaning Kitchen FloorHere is my son working hard at our chore game! He was off to clean by himself… Gave him some Basic H and told him not to spray it on himself (but if it did, it is non-toxic and wouldn’t hurt him anyways—even if he swallowed it)… So, I helped my other son in the mean time get started on vacuuming. He also got a kick out of helping me for the very first time.

I just watched him very closely and told him not to vacuum the curtains, toys or wires. He listened very well! I had fun watching him and helping him do my weekly chores. I thought, WHAT WAS I WAITING FOR!!???!!

Vacuum Happy

Not only that, but we had a visitor over today who was pulling toys out and my oldest turned into ME!!! He was getting so frustrated that there was a mess! Lol So, plan has been successful! I also caught him asking if we could play the game again later that night. YAY!!! We will see how long this lasts! Pinterest? You have seriously outdone yourself. Thank you for keeping everything Pinteresting! I feel so inspired!

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Great Sites for Creative Inspiration

Below are a list of my favorite sites if you are the creative type… or not so creative but would love to learn a few things on how to do a project.

CUT OUT AND KEEP http://www.cutoutandkeep.net THIS IS MY FAVORITE SITE  This is one of the coolest sites I have discovered so far.  It is an unbelievable list that goes on and on with “how to” craft tutorials on just about EVERYTHING!!!!!!!  No joke, stop by and you will be absolutely amazed that you got this information FOR FREE!!!!!

YOU TUBE http://www.youtube.com/ As posted in my last blog… Awesome resource for making items on a budget or to start your creativity flowing.

FAVE CRAFTS http://www.favecrafts.com This is an awesome site on free patterns for crocheting, sewing, knitting, candles, glass, painting, pet crafts, wedding crafts, wood crafts, quilting, leather crafts, storage and organization crafts, etc…

LION BRAND YARN http://cache.lionbrand.com This is a great site to not only get some free patterns for crochet/knitting, but to purchase yarn through as well…  BUT… I know you will want to be smart and go through Ebates and find JoAnn Fabrics (or even WalMart to save even more–no shipping) instead, right?

That’s it for now!  Have fun getting creative!

Update… Newest member to the creative family….
PINTEREST  http://pinterest.com  This is by far my most favorite website.  I have to say that it is an information highway and you can be lost in creative heaven for hours if you do not control yourself.  lol  Finally a place to spark your creativity and have a “place” to put all your ideas and your DIY projects.  You are able to bookmark “PIN” your favorite websites and view MANY of your friends bookmarks “PINS”.  They are put into categories of your choice in which anyone has the choice to follow you or your individual categories.  Very addicting and FUN!

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YouTube

I seriously would not know what I would be like these days, if YouTube wasn’t invented.  It is like an information highway…  Not only is it entertaining watching funny home videos, but EXTREMELY educational as well.  It will show you “how to” do just about everything.

ORGANIZING…  Numerous videos on how to organize just about EVERYTHING in your house.

REUSING… Want to know what to do with your over abundance of recyclables?  Some great examples that I found off YouTube…

1.  Reuse soda bottles/milk jugs/juice containers…
a.  Create a FREE Topsy-Turvy for your tomato plants using a 2 liter soda bottle and some string to hang…  Just paint the outside with some craft paint or glue some fabric on it to make it look nicer, and Voila!!!!
b.  Create soil pots for planting indoors!  I just started this one… I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!
c.  Make your own greenhouse… Mini style.

2.  Reuse magazine pages…
a.  Make storage bins-cover a shoe box with magazine cutouts and then roll up extra pages to glue all the way around the box.
b.  Make a vase- This one is way cool.

3.  Reuse toilet paper/paper towel rolls…
a.  Use for holding your hair ties
b.  Use as a seedling starter cup

4.  Reuse old clothes…
a.  Reuse those jeans you can’t fit into anymore by turning it inside out and make a purse. Those pockets are great for storing things.  Make a laptop bag or a shaggy area rug.
b.  Reuse those sweaters to make mittens, hats, scarves, arm warmers, leg warmers, etc…

HOW TO crochet, knit, sew, paint (watercolors, oil paints, craft paints), speak a new language, play an instrument, shave, put your makeup on and what you should buy, etc…

BUILD a house, computer, go cart, robot, deck, your muscles, etc…

Forget how to do CPR?  Watch it on here and keep it fresh in your mind.

You can watch FREE workout videos

The list goes on and on…

Let me know your favorite things to watch on YouTube!

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Dreaded Shopping Trips with the Kids

Per request, I have decided to write about shopping with the kiddos.  We all hate to go to the grocery store, why would our kids enjoy every minute of it?  Hopefully some of this advice will have a new fresh look at the whole experience.

Going shopping was so much easier with one child.  I have 2 boys (Aiden, age 4 and Jameson, age 2).  At first, shopping was easy when Jameson was young enough and still in a car seat.  Then screaming matches were the “thing” to do with each other.  Here is what I did to get a handle on the situation.

1.  The first and the foremost easiest way to shop with kids… Leave the kids at home.  But it is not always an option…

2.  Figure out when your stores are not as busy.  Shop during the week at odd hours where you will not be standing in line for long.  Late at night or early in the day works the best.  If you save your trips to the store for the weekend, try to shop on Sundays.  Saturdays seem to be the worst days to shop.  Not only are the kids stressing you out, but add the stress of bumping into another cart when you turn down the isles and your kids standing in the way of people trying to get through the madness as well.  Ugh!

3. Make sure you go at the right times for your kids.  Make sure they go to the bathroom before you leave, make sure they have eaten something (as well as you) and make sure it is right after they wake up.  This provides an awesome window of time for you to shop without resistance.

4. One thing that I have always done that helps tremendously…  Do not let them out of the cart, EVER… Once they get that freedom, they will beg and throw fits EVERY time you go to the store.  If they still fit in the cart, use it.  Use the carts that are designed for multiple children if you have more than one child.  STRAP THEM IN!!!!  This is so much better than telling your child to hurry up because they are dragging their feet behind you.  The only thing I have not solved yet is the kids kicking each other.  They should make carts that face out, not in.  lol  Also, the goofy looking “Car” carts for kids are awesome (full of germs, but awesome).  STRAP THEM IN!!!!  I made that mistake once running after kids in two different directions while the check out lady was waiting for me.  And use hand sanitizer when you are done, or you will pay for it later.  lol

5. Keep your list simple and plan it out before you get to the store.  Do not stand in front of the item wondering which one you should pick and expect your kids not to touch things and stand still.  Prepare your list before you start to go to the store, or your kids will not last long.  Not only is this a sanity saver (by keeping your cart moving at the store), but a money saver and a time saver as well.  You will not stand in front of your cupboards opening and closing hoping something would magically prepare itself onto your plate.  You will not be forgetting stuff and having to drive your kids to the store for the second time this week.  You will not be spending more money and wasting food because you forgot you purchased brats without the buns and oops, it expired.  You could also search online for coupons and print these up before you go as well!

6.  Let them hold a toy/or something you are already planning on buying to keep their hands busy and focused in the cart not around them.  This works for a small window of time (this is where planning your list before you go helps) until they start throwing items out of the cart on the ground.

7.  My youngest boy, Jameson is still too young for reasoning.  When he sees a toy, he wants to open it.  He doesn’t understand that we have to purchase it first, so he screams.  Every time.  One thing that has worked well for me is warning.  Before you go into the store (be consistent–EVERY store), warn them of the consequences.  Tell them that if they scream or misbehave in any way, they will not come with you next time.  If you have the time to do this, tell them that you will drop everything and leave (no warning) if anyone misbehaves.  This does work.  Jameson started screaming once at Good Will and all I had to do was start heading for the door and he said “No”.  So, I gave him one more chance and he was good for a while longer.  One thing that worked for Aiden was leaving without him the next trip.  He was devastated that I did not bring him with.  He understood the consequences from misbehaving and has been an awesome shopping buddy since then.

8.  Check out lane madness… waiting… waiting… what can we get into?  Aiden is mad because he wants to go into the game room so conveniently positioned in front of him.  Jameson is jealous of Aiden touching the candy and picking up toys and teasing him and I can’t make the checkout lane go any faster.  What do I do?  I make them give me kisses.  It works.  Make them laugh.  Hearing screaming from Jameson because Aiden is trying to kiss him is sooo much better to hear than a tantrum scream because he is out of control.  Play a game… Aiden and I have a few games we play that we can take ANYWHERE…  Guess this song game (sing partial songs from favorite movies they have at home).  Try the guessing game.  Give them 3 or 4 descriptions…(like I have whiskers, a tail and I meow… what am I?)  They are sooo happy they can figure it out (even if it is easy).  Or I start a story and he finishes it.

9.  Whatever you do… Do not give in at the checkout lane.  If you are planning on buying something for them, do it in the store.  Otherwise you will have a nightmare on your hands every time you are waiting to check out.

10. You are now out of the store!  One thing I taught Aiden to do is always hold the cart when in the parking lot.  He is controlled by me yet he still feels freedom.  He is only 4 years old and his attention span is still not good enough to watch where he is going from the store to the car.  It is amazing how well it works and I know he will be safe if someone starts backing out.

If you have 3 kids under the age of 4, I would suggest all of these rules for you.  Plan ahead, strap them all in a cart, and get out fast.

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10 Ways to Save Time in Your Day

10 Easy Ways to Save Time in Your Day

We all have the same 24 hours in a day and it often feels like it’s not enough time. With busy schedules and a fast- paced life, many of us would love to have even just a few extra minutes in our day. The good news is that you can reclaim a few minutes just by making minor adjustments to your daily tasks.

1. Subtract Steps. Carry all of your cleaning supplies in a bucket rather than walking back and forth to the cleaning supply area. Fold clothes as you take them out of the dryer. Unload groceries directly into the pantry or fridge rather than putting them on the counter first.  Pack a Project. Don’t waste your time just standing in line, sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting for a friend or client who is meeting you for lunch or sitting in the car to pick up a child or spouse. Spend those few free minutes working on a project. Balance your checkbook, work on cross- stitch craft, write letters, update your planner, catch up on your reading, etc. If you know you’ll be waiting, take along something to do.  Create a ‘Free Time Bag’. Instead of wasting your free time by running around the house looking for something to do, grab your ‘free time bag.’ A book you’re reading, your crocheting project, magazines, crossword puzzles, and stationery and pens can all be held in a tote bag. Keep the bag in an easily accessible place and you’ll always be ready when you have a little free time.
2. Make Standard Lists. Make standard lists for anything that you rewrite often. This would include grocery lists, instructions for the babysitter, instructions for the house or pet sitter, etc. That way you don’t have to completely recreate them each time.

3. Plan Your Meals. Before going to the supermarket, make sure you have planned your meals and have a shopping list. This should eliminate last minute trips across town to the store just to pick up eggs or milk. You’ll also save time since you won’t be scouring the pantry, fridge, and freezer, wondering what you can put together for dinner.

4. Make a To Do List. To Do Lists let you see the big picture. You get an idea of what has to be done during the day and you can approach the day more systematically.

5. Group Like Tasks. Return phone calls and schedule appointments before moving to another task. Run all your errands at the same time and plan your route to eliminate driving back and forth across town. This will not only save you time, but also money on gas.

6. Put It Away, Now. Whenever you’re finished using something, put it away. This will save you time and energy at the end of the day when you tidy the house since things should already be in their proper place. This will also save you time when you need to find something. You won’t be late because you were frantically searching the house or your office for a missing item.

7. Delegate Jobs. At home, give the kids age-appropriate chores. Even toddlers can help load the dryer, sort laundry, straighten up toys and magazines, and do some dusting. At work you can delegate portions of a project to a coworker who isn’t quite as busy as you.

8. Screen Your Emails. Don’t read every single email you receive. Look at the subject of your emails and delete anything you do not intend on reading, including any junk mail or chain mail. Look at the subjects again and only read those that are important and need to be dealt with today. The others can be saved for when you have more time.

9. Get Things Ready the Night Before. Mornings can be hectic and seem unproductive. Prepare lunches, pack schoolbags and briefcases, plan breakfast, and make your To Do list before going to bed. Your morning will be less stressful and everyone should be able to be a little bit more self-sufficient and organized.

10. Eliminate Ironing. Buy clothing that doesn’t require ironing. Don’t let clothes sit in the dryer or laundry basket after they’re dry. This can cause them to wrinkle and need ironing. Once they’re dry, immediately fold or hang them to prevent this.

References…Get Organized Now! Newsletter – By Maria Gracia
February 13-19, 2011

http://www.getorganizednow.com

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