time management

Time Savers: Clean Your Car

I lived in my car while I was in college.  I didn’t sleep there… but I could have.  I had my books, my purse, a change of clothes, the diaper bag, toys, mail, some food scraps, countless cans of soda and water bottles…  all readily available in my car.  Did I mention I drove a compact?  It wasn’t a pretty sight.

I have friends who clean (vacuum and wash) their cars weekly.  I wish I had the time or the dedication to do that.  My poor car is well-loved, and well-used.  It can get a little unruly.

We get to the bus stop 10 minutes early every day (because the bus has been known to be super early occasionally).  Once a week, I make an effort to tidy up while we wait.

  • I bag the trash that has accumulated on the floor (tissues, fast food bags, old papers).
  • I dust the dash and console with a dusting brush I got at the Dollar Store.
  • I straighten up the trunk (stroller, diaper bag, hidden Christmas gifts…).

It takes me about 5 minutes and my car would thank me for it if she could.

time management

Time Savers: Get the Dishes Done

When you call to your family that dinner is almost ready, do they immediately appear?  Mine don’t.  I call a few times, then I hunt them down and make sure they really are hungry.  Sometimes I even get their plates ready for them while they mosey into the room.

While I’m waiting for the family to trickle in, I get the prep dishes cleaned so there is less clean-up after dinner.  I can clean anything that doesn’t make it to the dining room table.  A mixing bowl, measuring cups, pans for breading, a spatula, any knives, or pan lids can all go straight into the dishwasher before we sit down to eat.

If we are eating something that made a cooked-on-mess, I transfer it to a serving dish and soak the cookware while we’re eating dinner.  This is especially true for crockpot meals when the sauce has been baked onto the pan for 6 or more hours.

Then, after dinner, all we need to do is rinse our plates and start the dishwasher load.

time management

Time Savers: Soak Your Dishes

time savers
Tuesday Time Savers

We go through dishes faster than our dishwasher can wash them.  If I start the dishwasher after dinner, the sink fills up with snack plates and milk glasses before the other dishes are clean, let alone dry or put away.

Those sink-dishes get crusty while they wait their turn.  Then, they need scrubbed rinsed before they go in the dishwasher.  Did you ever find a sippy cup with leftover milk in it at the bottom of your sink?  Yea.

If the dishwasher is full, and the dirty dishes are filling up the sink, do a prewash.  Fill a dishpan with hot soapy water and soak the dirty dishes while they wait for a turn in the dishwasher.  It also helps keep the sink sparkling clean!

My husband doesn’t always remember to rinse his dishes, but he will put them in a bucket of water if it’s readily available.

Try a dish soap with bleach in it.  The dishes come out of the dishpan sparkling, before you even touch them with a scrub brush!


time management

Time Savers: Air Drying

time savers
Tuesday Time Savers

Growing up, we didn’t have a dishwasher.  Actually we did, but we used it as a shelf until we finally sold it.  Mom washed the dishes and one of us dried and put the dishes away.  Sometimes Dad washed and Mom dried.  Either way, it was a team effort, so it took half as much time.

I don’t trust my seven-year-old to carry stoneware and glass across the kitchen, and he can’t reach the shelves, yet.  I also don’t trust him to get the dishes clean enough.  So, I’m without a partner for now.

To make my dish-washing time go a little more smoothly, I let God dry my dishes.  With air, that is.

Don’t waste time standing at the sink drying the dishes (dirtying a towel that will need to be washed…).  Your dishes don’t need to be dried by hand (unless you have really hard water and don’t like spotty dishes).  Get something else done while the dishes dry themselves.

I wash all of my dishes, then I wipe down my counters and stove, then I sweep the kitchen floor.  And, when I’m done, my dishes are dry and ready to be put away.


time management

Time Savers: Toss the Junk

time savers
Tuesday Time Savers

Where do you put your mail?  For awhile, we piled it on the dining room table.  Then, we put it on the kitchen counter.  Then the desk.  Then the trash!

More than half the mail that comes into this house is junk.  The other half is typically something that needs filed, never to be seen again.  Don’t wait!  Do it right away!

I sort the mail over the trash can, and immediately toss the junk.  I can have it separated into “keep” and “toss” piles by the time I get to the trash.

Then, sort the rest of the mail and put it in it’s place – coupons in your purse, magazines in the rack, insurance papers in the file cabinet, bills in your busy bag…

Don’t wait until it all piles up!!

time management

Time Savers: Commercial Breaks

time savers
Tuesday Time Savers

Did you know that a show with a 30-minute slot on TV is really only 22 minutes long?  That’s 8 minutes of commercials for every half-hour of TV you watch.  Do you watch any shows that are an hour long?  They aren’t!!  You’re watching more than 15 minutes of commercials every hour.

Now, we don’t have cable or a satellite hooked up to our TVs, so the commercials we see actually interest us (because we haven’t seen them more than 100 times, yet).  But, even an interesting commercial doesn’t need your full attention.

Take those 15 minutes and tidy up a nearby mess!

  • Pick up the toys scattered throughout the room.
  • Find the remote and put it away.
  • Gather up the snack bowls and put them in the dishwasher.
  • Fold some laundry (you can do this while the show is on, too!).
  • Run the vacuum.
  • Dust a shelf or two.

A little daily tidying will make your weekly cleaning a lot easier.



cleaning, time management

Laundry Lessons: My Routine Today


With baby #2 on the way, knowing we were going to use cloth diapers, I couldn’t handle three or more extra loads each week.  I would go insane…

After bargain hunting for a few months, we got a great deal on a new HE washer/dryer set.      It’s HUGE!  I’m down to about 6 loads a week (including diapers!) when I used to 12 or more.


I only gather dirty clothes once or twice a week.  Because the washer is bigger, I can wash a lot more at a time and we need to go longer between washes.  If I see the hamper overflowing, I’ll empty it.  Clothes still get sorted into three compartments:  darks, lights, and whites.  I keep cloth diapers in a small basket on the dryer and I keep socks in another basket beside the dryer.


I try to wash load every day.  When there aren’t enough dirty clothes to wash a load (said no one, ever), I was rugs or sheets. My washer has this awesome feature that warms the water, even on a cold cycle, to dissolve powdered detergent.  I got so used to skipping fabric softener and bleach with the old machine that I still don’t use either.  Someday I’m going to try to make my own fabric softener.


I use my clothesline only in the summer.  I haven’t exploded any pens in my new dryer, yet, so I use it when it’s too cold (or I’m too lazy) to hang the clothes outside.  I do love drying the cloth diapers in the sun.


This is where I fail.  The dryer is on the floor, so I put a basket in front of it, open the door, and pull all of the clothes out into the basket.  Then they need folded, but I have other things to do, so I walk away.  I have to force myself to stand there and fold the clothes before I move onto something else.

Putting Away:

The loads are larger with this new set.  Which means, the baskets are fuller and heavier.  I fold the clothes, but I let the basket sit for my manly man husband to carry up the stairs for me to put away.

What tips and tricks have helped you find a laundry routine that works for your family?