We're all incredibly busy with our families, pets, careers and health. A 2019 Yelp survey about chores found that Americans spend over 690 hours a week on household chores! The same study found that 80% of couples argue about household chores. Here is a collection of home tips and home hacks for getting things running smoother around the house! These are sure to save you money, frustration and time.
Home Tips - Parenting
- Make a homework “box”- gather all the supplies your kids use for homework. Put them in a storage container or tackle box. Items can include a ruler, stapler, crayons, scissors, glue sticks, calculator, etc. Keep this box in a cabinet near the kitchen table or where your kids do homework most often. Homework done? Pack it all away again for tomorrow.
- Want to save large pieces of art your kids bring home? Buy a large piece of poster board, fold in half and tape together on three sides. You can then use this as a “file folder” for irregularly shaped drawings or paintings. This folder is then easily stored under a bed or behind a couch.
- Take pictures of your child’s artwork, then upload them to a site and make a photo-book of your favorites. There’s also an app, Art Kive, that allows you to do this right from your phone.
- Have your children draw their own cards for friend’s birthday parties, or use blank business cards/stickers to write their names down and tape to gift box. Save money on expensive cards that little kids don’t even notice!
- Keep a basket of healthy snacks available in your pantry, or assign your kids a drawer in your refrigerator. Let them practice independence by getting their own snacks and water when needed.
- Our favorite home hack...or should we say car hack? Keep a box of “supplies” in the trunk of your car, including a few extra diapers, wipes, a change of outfit for each kid, some snacks, and a couple bottles of water with sippy cups. You can even add different items to the box or bag depending on season, such as extra mittens/hats in winter, swim towels in summer, sunscreen, bug spray, an extra sweater in the fall, spare socks, etc.
- If your kids are always arguing about whose turn it is to do chores, take a shower first, etc., assign them even or odd and have them go by the date on the calendar, no questions or arguments allowed.
- Make your baby’s crib with two layers of sheets and two layers of mattress protectors. If you wake up to a wet infant and wet sheets in the middle of the night, you only have to take some layers off rather than make over the whole bed.
Home Tips - Cleaning
- Freeze lemon juice cubes, then put a bunch down your garbage disposal to give it a good cleaning. Sprinkle baking soda down the drain before adding the ice.
- Keep disinfectant wipes in several places of the house- in your kitchen, in each bathroom, etc. Then you can wipe down surfaces regularly as you go about your day.
- Trying to save a ruined pot? Put boiling water and a dishwasher detergent packet in it, let soak.
- In survival mode? Clean just one thing every day. You can either go big or go small (a counter, a bathroom, a shelf, etc.) and eventually it will all add up.
- Buy a robot vacuum and run it regularly. Have your children get into the habit of picking up the floor every night before dinner or bed so the robot vacuum doesn’t “eat” their small toys on the floor.
- Try to do 1-2 loads of laundry a day to keep up.
- Wipe all your kitchen counters and kitchen sink down every night after dinner, then "close" the kitchen. Start the dishwasher to everything is clean and ready to be unloaded in the morning.
- Divide household chores into quiet chores and loud chores. Try to get some quiet chores done during every nap time, even if its only paying a bill or folding some clothes. Decide whether to do 15-30 minutes of cleaning every day or leave it all to 1-2 hours on the weekends. Experiment with what works for you right now.
- Use a mixture of vinegar, water and blue Dawn for cleaning around the house, especially grimy areas like tub bottoms, etc. Let sit for a few minutes, then scrub off. For especially hard-to-clean areas, use half vinegar, half Dawn. For regular cleaning, a tablespoon of Dawn mixed with 50/50 water-to-vinegar will do. A dish-washing wand filled with half Dawn, half vinegar works great for scrubbing around the inside of the shower.
- A used dryer sheet on the end of a mop will pick up pet hair and human hair really well.
- Make sure to wipe down ceiling fan blades at least weekly to keep your house dust-free between cleanings.
- Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer works amazing for ink stains on fabric, sofa upholstery, etc.
- Throw shower curtains in the regular washing machine with your usual detergent. Add a little bleach or vinegar for caked-on grime.
- Wipe your baseboards with a dryer sheet to repel dust. Do this to the blinds as well (after giving them a thorough cleaning).
Home Hacks for Organization
- Make a list of all weekly or monthly household chores, cross them off the list as fast as you get to them, then restart the list when everything is checked off. This works well when you’re especially feeling overwhelmed like after a move, or birth of a new child, and you don’t have a specific timetable for when to get things done but want to get back in the swing of regular household cleaning.
- Alternative home hacks to above. Divide your house into 3-5 “sections”, write down a list of “regularly” and “sometimes” cleaning tasks for each section. Each day, knock off one section- do all the “regular” and a couple “sometimes” tasks depending on how much time you have.
- Use over-the-door shoe racks for storing items such as hair ties, accessories, brushes, lotions, chapstick, dance tights, etc. to make the most out of your storage space. This can also work well in a pantry for miscellaneous items. Put one in your laundry room to hold all your various cleaners, sponges, rags, dusters, etc. for house cleaning!
- You can also use a hanging shoe organizer for keeping track of everyone’s mittens, ski socks, gloves, hats and scarves in winter.
- Store your sheets INSIDE their matching pillowcase. You won’t have to go rifling thru a pile of nicely folded sheets to find matching sets.
- Use a pull-down spice rack for organizing medications. If you can designate a whole cabinet to medicines and toiletries etc., put the stuff you rarely use on the highest shelf, then stuff you use sometimes on the middle shelf, followed by items you use every day on the bottom, most-reachable shelf.
- Use command strips to place power strips on the wall or behind furniture, keeping wire clumps off the floor and making them more accessible when you need them.
- Use ice cube trays or pill boxes to store earrings.
- Don’t sort socks. Have wicker baskets or a designated drawer for each person’s socks and let them do it for themselves or they can fish for socks as needed.
- Everyone gets a little shoe-box sized-container with their hair brush, deodorant, makeup, creams, etc. and the box stays stored under the counter. Bring it out when getting ready in the morning or taking a shower, and put it back when done. This way only absolute-essentials stay on the counter all the time and you can wipe everything down more regularly without having to move everything.
Home Hacks for Meal Planning & Groceries
- Keep a list of grocery items you buy regularly, organized by aisle or section of the store. When you run out of something, underline or highlight it on the list so you know to replenish next time you are at the store.
- Set up a binder with all the recipes you use so you can refer back to them. If you use your phone a lot to follow recipes in the kitchen, set up your phone so you can print from it.
- Put baking essentials like flour, sugar, extracts, baking powder, chocolate chips, etc., all in one big bin, or Lazy-Susan shelf in a cabinet.
Did you try any of these home hacks and find them useful? Make sure to leave your own home tips below in a comment!
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