Time-Saving Ideas!

I loved reading all your time-saving tips from last week’s blog giveaway! I think my all-time favorite was the coffee filter in the bottom of the potty chair. Boy, do I wish I had known that one during our potty training years!

Anyway, I wanted to organize the tips into categories for my own reference, and thought I’d share them with you here. Hopefully it will help you benefit from everyone’s great ideas without having to read through every comment on last week’s post. I’ll toss in a few of my own ideas and comments along the way (in italics).

And next week I’ll tell you about my amazing time with a mission team in Poland!

Use of Time

  • Get up 1 hour earlier than the kids. This was how I survived, too. It wasn’t always easy, but SO worth it.
  • Use time when folding laundry or washing dishes to interact with kids – games, read, etc.
  • Up early with husband before kids are up.
  • Schedule appointments, shopping, etc. early in morning.
  • Don’t say yes before talking to husband.
  • Limit movies, TV, socializing on computer.
  • Recognize “me time” as an idol.
  • Get up before family, pray on way to gym, grocery stop, kids up. (This idea came from Leanne, who won the random book drawing. Congratulations, Leanne! You’ll be getting an email from us.)
  • Take time for a nap. Will be more rested, more productive, less irritable
  • Empty or load dishwasher while overseeing slow eater  .
  • Make few evening and weekend plans. Involves less time preparing to leave, more time at home together.

Time management

  • Schedule!
  • Older children care for younger while mom plans.
  • Follow a written schedule.
  • Make a plan at the beginning of the day to help you stay focused. I have also found that planning at night for the next day helps me. I know what I didn’t get done during the day, what needs to still be done, and I get up the next morning with a battle plan already drawn up. All I have to do is follow it!
  • Prioritize. Stop for children’s needs. It’s easy to let a to-do list become more important than the people we are serving!
  • To-do list to check off.
  • Morning list and lists for each portion of day.
  • Workouts in a.m.
  • On Sunday evening, review the upcoming week, email husband events and calendar for week. This is a GREAT idea! I would probably try to do this on Saturday night.
  • Breastfeed. Saves time, and gives Mom some down time!
  • Get enough sleep. Even if it means getting a nap when the kids nap.
  • Analyze and streamline. Eliminate tension-creators.
  • Try to follow fairly consistent scheduling.
  • Don’t procrastinate. You’ll eventually have to do it anyway. Get the job done right away.
  • Do 2 things at once – memorize verses while kneading bread, etc.  Only TWO things at once? J
  • Take kids for a Once-a-Month Retreat Day at grandparents. Gives Mom a break.
  • Whiteboard in kitchen for recording upcoming events, prayer requests.
  • Do it. Don’t spend too much time planning and scheduling. It’s easy to spend a lot of time writing up elaborate plans that aren’t always all that necessary and that just keep us from getting started.

Bible study

  • Listen on iPad while working.
  • Bible app on phone.
  • CDs in car.
  • Post Bible verses in bathroom.
  • Read books/magazines while waiting for children’s activities – save time at home for Bible study.
  • Listen to Bible teaching while folding laundry.


  • Pluck eyebrows, take care of other personal grooming while children bathe


  • Address discipline issues as they arise.
  • Train children early to behave properly.
  • First time obedience. How much time do we waste with children who haven’t learned to obey immediately?
  • Prepare baby’s bottles ahead.
  • Prepare children ahead for departures. Explain what they will need to do before you are under time pressure.
  • Take books, flash cards, vocabulary cards to use while waiting at dentist, etc.


  • Double recipe and freeze extra for future use.
  • Pre-soak utensils.
  • Meal plan for month. This takes some initial time, but it saves so much time in the long run. And you can reuse your monthly plans. They don’t have to be different every month.
  • Use the crockpot. Especially on days when you are going to have to be away from home. Or start something the night before if you need to take a meal with you the next day.
  • Cook ground meat ahead.
  • Cook chicken breasts ahead in crockpot and freeze.
  • Write up a 4-week default menu that you can refer to when you don’t have time to plan.
  • 1-2 month default menu on computer. Record what was actually eaten. Note leftovers so you know what needs to be used up and when it was originally prepared. This sounds like a good way to keep track of leftovers.
  • Know at least one of your fastest meals and keep all its ingredients on hand.
  • Use menu-planning software.
  • Keep a list of meals eaten, which can be used to plan the following month.
  • Keep a well-stocked pantry with building blocks for simple meals.
  • Make sandwiches ahead and freeze
  • Bag up dry ingredients for baked recipes.
  • Prepare as much of breakfast as possible the night before.
  • Prepare snack-size baggies of crackers, fruit, cut veggies.
  • A menu plan allows a spouse to be more easily involved in shopping/cooking.
  • Do food prep ahead – grated cheese, cut up veggies, etc.
  • Store foods and supplies where they will be used – i.e. coffee, filters, etc.
  • Start dinner in the morning.
  • Package dry ingredients ahead – baking, seasonings, etc.
  • Start breakfast in crockpot the night before.
  • Have little children eat on kitchen floor on sheet before leaving for somewhere. Pick up sheet, shake out. Saves cleanup of table and floor. In our household, we would probably have ended up with an even bigger mess attempting this.
  • “Clean out the refrigerator” for dinner once a week. Homemade soups are a great way to use up miscellaneous leftovers in the fridge.
  • Freeze homemade baby food in ice cube trays. Thaw one cube at a time, as needed.


  • Buy a month’s worth of groceries to save trips.
  • Always shop with a list.
  • Shop online and from food co-op.
  • Organize shopping list according to store layout to save backtracking.
  • Master laminated shopping list – separate for different stores.
  • Master shopping list on refrigerator. Take with you when you head for the store.
  • Keep a list of family members’ current sizes and needs of clothing. Refer to at garage sales and stores.
  • Buy all but perishables in one shopping trip.
  • Buy in bulk. You won’t run out so often and shopping time is shorter because there is less to buy. If you have the storage space, this is kind of like having your own little store! When the flour bin in the kitchen is empty, you can go to your bulk storage and replenish. This has really helped minimize the times when I am in the middle of a recipe and find out I am out of an important ingredient.
  • Stockpile when items are on sale. This saves money in the long run!
  • Use a magnetic pad on fridge for noting items that are getting low.
  • Separate lists on fridge for individual stores – grocery, warehouse, general.
  • Keep master list on computer. Highlight in red items needed
  • Clip coupons will husband drives.
  • Organize errand day to be most efficient.
  • Plan menu and shopping list on day when shopping flyer comes out.
  • Errands all on one day. Take snacks and water.


  • Delegate!
  • Train children to help when they are young.
  • Train children to do chores – work with them, laminated checklist.
  • Give “portions to your handmaidens” in morning – get washer, crockpot, dishwasher, etc. busy working for you. Your appliances are your servants! Keep them busy, and you’ll have more time for people.
  • Use Maxwells’ chorepacks.


  • Set up 36 folders. File copies, workbook pages, plans ahead for each week.


  • Presort as clothes get dirty.
  • Use mesh bags for each person’s white socks. Wash and dry in bags. No need to sort! I like this one! Another one I wish I had known about a LONG time ago!
  • Organize clothes as you hang them.
  • Do laundry together for all the people in one room. Makes sorting easier.
  • Hang shirts out of dryer.
  • Store undies under sink for easy access after baths.
  • Iron all in one day while kids are napping.
  • Wash each kid’s clothes separately – saves sorting.
  • Kids put away clean clothes.
  • Mattress protection pad under sheets on toddler bed.
  • Hang clothes on the line on their hangers. Great idea!
  • Put together outfits ahead for kids to grab.
  • Fabric hanging shelves – label by day, put complete outfit in each cubby hole.
  • Do 1 load of laundry 5 days a week.


  • Clean bathroom while child bathes (sweep before kids come in).
  • Finish one room before moving on to another. Use a basket to gather things that go somewhere else. Disperse all at once when finished cleaning.
  • Dishes all done before going to bed.
  • Kitchen clean before going to bed
  • Use Swiffer duster and Clorox wipes.
  • Coffee filter in bottom of potty – poo dumps out easily and bottom of potty stays relatively clean! Love it!
  • Read and follow “31 Days to Clean.” Another of my favorites for bringing the house into order is “The House That Cleans Itself,” by Mindy Starns Clark.
  • Sweep while daughter eats in high chair – saves time, and food doesn’t have time to dry onto floor.


  • Try to exercise most days. Leads to more energy.
  • Exercise while child bathes.
  • Walk with friends to combine exercise and socializing. The accountability also helps you and your friends keep up the walking.


  • Read newspaper standing. You will be more apt to only read the essentials.


  • Scan documents into computer files instead of paper files
  • Carry notebook or use whiteboard to write down tasks, research topics, etc.
  • Handle mail once.
  • Tear articles out of magazines to read or to file.
  • Large wall pocket chart for 8-1/2 x 11 sheets for sorting papers.
  • Email/text answers to phone messages to schedule time.
  • Paperwork during kids’ classes.


  • Use cell phone – no sales calls, on silent to avoid interruptions, respond to voice mail with email or text.
  • Return phone calls while on a walk.
  • Cook while returning phone calls.


  • Keep email always accessible. Use a shortcut in browser window.
  • Set timer to limit time spent at computer.
  • Keep running list of needs on computer. Go to computer once or twice a day and refer to list. I think I’ll try this one. It’s so easy to run to the computer to look for something, and then get distracted with a dozen other sites and emails.
  • Get up early for computer time, and leave computer alone once everyone is awake.
  • Read facebook and email while standing.
  • Save facebook and computer time for when kids are in bed.
  • Separate email for shopping/retailers. Another email address for correspondence. I really need to do this!
  • Limit Facebook to once a day or 2 x per week.
  • Follow blogs with Google reader.
  • Use a Facebook account without personal info for coupons from companies, and don’t have a regular account.
  • Organize favorites into folders for easy access.


  • Prepare on Saturday


  • Keep a basket for items to be returned/delivered to other people/places.
  • Get rid of things not used.
  • Organize what you use.
  • Keep an inventory system with numbered boxes and lists of what is in each box.
  • Try to stay on top of maintaining rather than letting things get bad. This saves you from major time-consuming overhauls of the house, and also saves time because you’re not wading through a mess, looking for things all the time, or demoralized by the mess.
  • Put things away in right places. This saves everyone time, especially the next person that needs the item!
  • Organize buckets for specific activities/events (swimming, picnics, baseball, coloring, etc.)
  • Store library books on separate shelf.
  • Remember that less is best.


  • Invite group of friends to your home all at once.


  • Keep potty chair in car trunk.
  • Keep wipes in car.
  • Set clothes, etc. out the night before.
  • Diaper bag, load van night before.
  • Clean house before leaving on trip. Come home to a clean house!
  • Plan errands for efficiency.

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