Some days it seems that the 24 hours given to us are just not enough. As our heads hit the pillow we find ourselves wishing we had just a little more time to get everything done, but heck, even if we did have the time, where would we find the energy?
Between cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping, time just seems to slip through our fingers. After getting sick of being weighed down by my daily to-do list, I finally sat down and brainstormed ways that I could automate some of my more time consuming chores pretty much to the point where I’m not even doing them anymore.
This has freed up my schedule tremendously, and I highly recommend you adopt these habits as well.
Here are the chores with the corresponding tools that have helped me cut some of life’s more menial tasks.
This tip takes my #1 spot for a good reason. Crockpot cooking is one of the best things I started doing. All you do is throw in some protein, water, veggies and spices if you like, and you’re done. It’s so easy and your meat comes out fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy. I can’t believe I lived so many years eating rubbery chicken from the oven.
Tip: For added tenderness, do not freeze your meat, but instead cook it immediately. It makes a WORLD of difference.
Also, don’t be afraid to buy two or even three crockpots if you are busy and have some major cooking. This three holer is great for families. Click here.
I use this for all my weekly premade meals. And because these meals are a huge t-saver and could be a blog all their own, I’ve listed my recipes here.
2. Chopping vegetables-Food processor
Speaking of recipes, that brings us to the veggies. Keeping chopped vegetables (think white onions, green onions, bell peppers, tomatoes) on hand is a fantastic way of saving time in so many ways. For one, it makes it easy to throw together a quick meal by taking some protein, beans and veg and tossing them in a bowl. Healthy, balanced meal=done.
Having some meat and chopped veggies ready to go also helps your kids or significant other be more independent in their personal food prep. Translation: They get off the what’s-for-dinner-train and feed themselves. If they whine tell them to pretend they’re at Chipotle.
So if you want some help with preparing your veggies, I would highly recommend investing in a food processor or any other chopping gadget.
I once timed myself to see how long it took me to chop sweet potatoes and onions for dinner. TWENTY MINUTES! Not to be dramatic, but that is a lifetime, especially since they are a staple in my family. So me being a stickler for time, I got a food processor. Big difference. Now I’m able to chop and slice like Edward Scissor hands.
One thing to note: If you are wanting to slice sweet potatoes, which are much harder than regular, white potatoes, then you are going to want to get the expensive big boy food processor (cost: ~$200). However, there is also the option of buying an industrial sweet potato slicer (cost around $65) and fastening it to your counter or wall. A good one by Tiger Chef can be purchased here. It comes with suction cups so you don’t have to drill into your wall.
3. Vacuuming and mopping-Roomba and other iRobots
Oh the eternal wrestling match between you and your home. Keeping a clean house can be a full time job—if you let it. Although this could (and will) be a another blog, I will keep the focus on vacuuming in this bullet point.
I can’t tell you how much I hate vacuuming. It’s hard. It’s heavy. It literally sucks. My mom, who must have gotten sick of the struggle too, bought herself a Roomba vacuum cleaner and loved it so much she got one for me too. Thanks, Ma!
Can I just please say that the Roomba is A-to-the-MAZING?
You set it up to clean an area (remove electronic cords and anything else that might impair it), press the Clean button and go!
The bless-ed contraption even plays chipper tones indicating it has completed the job.
And it gets everything–including pet hair.
Their website also carries other fantastic iRobot devices such as the Scooba Floor Scrubber, Braava Floor Mopper, Mirra Pool Cleaner, and Looj Gutter Cleaner. Sounds like a Swedish orgy, and I want in.
The Roomba will cost you anywhere between $400 for the lower grade up to $900 for the high end guy.
Expensive? Yes. However, think about how much time you spend cleaning your floors, daily or weekly forever and ever until you die. Is that how you want to spend your life? With this robot, you could have your floors (both hardwood and carpet) cleaned every single day with the push of a button. And maybe you could check on Amazon or Craig’s List for some cheaper or second hand robots. I have the lowest end Roomba and it works great. To me, it’s worth the investment.
4. Dusting, scrubbing, wiping, spider killing-Maid
The iRobot not for you? You want the whole shebang? Then check out Groupon for surprisingly affordable maid services. They have some great deals out there. Plus, when you sign up to use a company for repeated visits—weekly, bi-weekly, monthly they almost always offer discounts. You can even have a team come in once a year for that heavy-duty spring cleaning.
5. Grocery Shopping-Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Pantry
I paid the $99 for a year of Amazon Prime (which comes out to $8.25/month) and have been killin’ it with the free two-day shipping. Now I wonder how I survived without it.
For one, you can find virtually ANYTHING on Amazon. I use Prime and have subscribed to automatic, reoccurring orders which makes them cheaper. What do I order? Organic baby food, diapers, wipes, dog food, shampoo/conditioner, toilet paper, paper towels, K-cups—pretty much everything I used to get at Walmart.
Amazon Pantry is the same idea except you can order food items and have it all sent for a flat fee of $5.99.
Amazon Prime Now is just like regular Prime except you can pay an extra $7.99 to have the items brought to you in 1-2 hours, however it’s only available in certain areas.
Automating even a few errands can do wonders for relieving your bogged down schedule. Another benefit is that it takes items off the old mental checklist which frees up brain space.
I’m sure that if you look at your calendar or to do list you will be able to think up ways you can automate some of those items. Don’t just stop with ideas. Take the extra step and implement them! By doing so, you can take your life from being a series of tics on a check list and transform it into a well-oiled machine.
Here are a few other automating ideas that might work for your household:
Bill pay, Dog food/water dispenser, doggie door, teach your kids to do some things for themselves—up coming blog! If you want to get extreme, how about permanent, tattooed makeup. Has anyone done this? I’d love to hear about your experience!