Hacks. From shining your stainless steel with baby oil to the million uses for paper towel tubes – there’s a hack for almost everything. All of them have the same goal – to save TIME! So, let’s learn how to save some!
I’m a working Mom of twins who is essentially single (my husband works 12 hour shifts). I am also a tad obsessed when it comes to efficiency. It is a dichotomy of sorts; raising twins and being efficient. But…it can be done! So, let me share some of my favorite tips:
First and foremost, you need to understand where you are wasting/ spending most of your time. Always looking for your keys? Invest in a key hook. Re-washing funky loads of laundry? Make laundry switches a part of your morning/ nightly routine (or, even better…enlist your husband to take over laundry 100%). But, the most important thing is to look for any patterns that result in time wasted – find just one and tackle it!
The “On the Way” Principle
This one is easy and just entails a mind-set change. You’d be surprised at how much ground you cover in your home throughout the day/evening. I’d be willing to bet that you walk by your bathroom or laundry room at least 10 times a day. Why not make the trip worthwhile? Here’s what you do: keep your eyes open, observe what is in your surroundings. An old sock lingering in the hallway? Next time you walk down the hall, pick it up on your way to the laundry basket. That lone Lego under your foot…ouch! Put it in your pocket for the next time you pass the toy box. You’d be surprised how much the “On the Way” principle can limit or fully eliminate the amount of clutter in your house!
Your kids are young, it’s not safe to leave them in the tub unsupervised. As I sit and “watch” them, I feel like I am wasting so much time. Then it hit me! I could be cleaning the bathroom right now! I clean the toilet, floor, sink and mirrors all while my kids have a blast in the tub. Win-win-win!
For You Pumping Mamas
All the gear associated with pumping is unbelievable. Cords, flanges, membranes, tubes and bottles oh my! I pumped exclusively for my twins for 11 months. It was such a challenge! I’m going to give you two time-savers here…The first: only wash your pumping parts once a day. After you pump, put them in a big Ziploc bag and put that in the fridge. Then, at the end of the day – wash them. Next, buy a good hands free pumping bra. While you pump you can do many things with both hands! I chose to work and read. I even got into doing small crafts while pumping like a mo fo! Or, set an alarm on your phone and catch some zzzzz’s while you pump (but, don’t lay down)!
Oh the dreaded potty training phases! With my twins, it was double trouble! My son trained easily. My daughter…not so much. I was set on training them at the same time – regardless if they were both ready or not. Big mistake. I should have just gone with training him (since he was ready) and then training her at a later time. But, what’s done is done. I’ve spent loads of time cleaning underwear before throwing them in the washer. I couldn’t imagine throwing poopy pants into my sparkling washer. No way! There are three solutions to this poopy problem: 1) Keep a bucket of bleach water and dawn soap filled up. Throw them in (as soon as you can) and deal with them at the end of the day. 2) Get the soiled pants into water as soon as possible. It wipes off pretty easily if you catch it early. 3) Throw the underwear away. Sometimes it isn’t worth the effort. Also, stick a panty liner or pad in their underwear – this will help with small leaks/ accidents.
Take Advantage of the Dawn
Wake up 15-20 minutes before everyone else each day. Before you sleep the night before, have a plan for what you want to accomplish. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in just a few minutes. Or, take that time to meditate to prepare for the chaos that is about to ensue! I did opposite of this when my twins were babies. I stayed up 15-20 minutes longer and wrapped things up for the day. Saved my sanity!
Kids and their shoes…they are constantly getting lost. I was spending WAY too much time going on shoe searches. Then I came up with a very simple practice: Shoes go on in the car and they come off before we exit the car. I put a small basket on the floorboard of my car and I fill it with a few types of shoes per kid. Then, when we arrive at our destination – we put their shoes on. When we arrive back home – we take their shoes off. Never a lost “soul” again! Remember to keep a few types/ styles – that way you always have choices. I do keep one pair of crocs per kid inside the house; just so we have the option for impromptu walks or backyard jaunts.
If your kids are old enough, opt for a shower instead of a bath. It will afford you a bit of time to get some things done while they shower. But, only if they are old enough to not drown. My kids are 3 ½ and this works fine for us.
Do most of your calls in the car. Remember, always hands free and safe!
Just get one.
Tablecloth On the Floor?
Yep, you read that right. Get a vinyl tablecloth and put it underneath their highchair. Then, roll it up and add it to your compost pile.
Instead of using bibs, try out pastry cloths. I’m a fan of the IKEA sleeve bibs – but when they grow out of those, the pastry cloths work wonders! They are long enough to tie behind their heads and cover their knees. Then, throw them in the washer. They’ll be stained, but don’t fret!
This one is non-negotiable…run and empty your dishwasher every night. Every. Single. Night. Then, instead of putting your dishes in the sink – just do a quick rinse and put them in the dishwasher. It is way less effort!!
Indoor Movie Theater!
When things get way out of control…and it will, I promise you. Put the kids in their car seats on the floor in front of a movie/ show. Strap them in and give them a snack and soothing toy. Car seats don’t have to just be for the car! But, remember to avoid neglecting them for too long – especially if they have a short attention span.
If you have more than one kid and they are constantly losing things or fighting over things – just assign them a color. I assigned “green” to Gwen and “orange” to Owen (note the “G” and “O”). They naturally choose the items that are associated with “their” color and they are happy about it! It also saves time when trying to organize their personal items.
Bibs for the Babes!
You’ll save “loads” of time on laundry and outfit changes by using bibs. Switching out a bib instead of switching out an ENTIRE outfit is so much faster and easier!
Set up Multiple Changing Stations
This works well if you have a large house. You’ll spend way less time commuting through your house if you just put a changing station on each floor; or just add one more if that is too overwhelming.
We try to eat outside as much as possible. It will save tons of time on cleaning and the frustrations with mess!
Don’t fret about the waste, you can recycle them if you scrape off the food. Dishes…yuck.
Don’t Let it Dry!
Stuck on mess takes way longer to clean than to just clean it before it dries. I keep a separate rag for their eating surfaces and I only use non-chemical cleaners for those areas. Then, when your kids get older you can have them help you clean up!
Just do it every day. Avoid laundry piles and don’t worry about folding the kids’ clothes – just throw them in bins for organization. I have a bin for pants, underwear, and pajamas – never fold those. I do hang up shirts, but that isn’t the most efficient. If you want to get really obsessed – go and buy a giant pack (or two) of white socks – all the same. Then you never have to pick out socks or find their match!
Online Grocery Ordering
Clicklist has saved me so much time! Order your groceries online (you could do it while they bathe) and they’ll bring it to your car at the store. GENIUS!
Keep a bag fully stocked in the car. Never waste time packing a bag. My favorite supplies are diapers, wipes, empty Ziploc bags (for garbage or soiled clothes), sunscreen, clothing changes, water bottles, hand sanitizer, blankets (muslin…they are small), and snacks that last. I loved my roll-up diaper caddy for when they were little. Now, we just have a backpack.
I rarely take my kids into public restrooms. Instead, I bought a fold up potty that I keep in the car. Pull over on the side of the road, bust that out and use hand sanitizer. Done and done! If you have boys, even easier – they can pee in the gutter or grass. Dogs do it!
Never spend time chasing the kids down in an unsafe environment. If you childproof everything, you can get things done while your little ones roam safely in your castle!
This guest post is written by Leslie Killinger, full-time mom, wife, employee, artist and friend. She has twin toddlers and makes life look like a breeze.