Life Hacks to Save Time and Your Sanity

Being a parent can be hard enough as it is without the added stress of keeping on top of daily tasks. The more there is to do, the more it can take away from quality time with the family. This quality time is one of the best parts of being a parent. And, we know how hard it is to remember things in the craziness of regular family life. To make things a little easier, we have put together some life hacks and time saving hacks. These can help you get everything done and still have time for fun.

For the Kitchen

  • Create a ‘menu plan’ so that shopping and organising your week is 100 times easier. Plan everything out on the day, or even start a couple of days before you go shopping. Doing this saves you the pain of having to come up with dinner ideas on the day. We have a handy Meal plan and shopping list downloadable available here.
  • Cook in bulk once a week for multiple meals throughout the week. You can also pre- chop things that you can (like carrots) to have them ready to grab and cook to reduce cooking preparation time each day. Another tip: cook extra so it can be an easy grab frozen meal, or lunch the next day.
  • Prepare a list of foods you can cook and from what country by downloading our “Travelling Taste Buds” template. This is a list of great recipes from around the World that you can try and have on hand. Having these recipes ready to go helps make planning meals easier and includes variety.
  • Make a DIY recipe book with your favourite recipes. Print them off and collate them in a clear folder or a binder, so you don’t have to look up each recipe every time. A lot of us have recipe books with bookmarks because we don’t use every recipe, so why not look up the same recipe and print it. Or, rip the pages of the recipes out that you want and put them together! You can find a template for creating your own family cookbook or a cookbook for your child on our website here. For kids, this is a great thing to take with them when they leave home. 
  • Try introducing the ‘‘I’m Hungry” Menu Ideas List’ that you can fill out and print. This helps kids make healthy food choices and reduces the amount of time spent discussing with them what they can/ can’t cook/ eat. Your child can select food from the list of snacks and lunch options to make healthy choices for themselves.
  • Pack simple sandwiches in advance and put them in the freezer, ready to go. Pop them in the lunch box and they are defrosted by lunch time (works for cakes and muffins too. 
  • Start shopping online. This is a great way to avoid forgetting things you need or impulse buying. When you go out grocery shopping, especially with kids, it is more rushed and stressful. Shopping online lets you take as much time as you need. Plus, you can get up however many times you want to double check the pantry.

For the Laundry

  • Have a basket for each family member when you take the washing off the line and sort it as you go. Saves double handling.
  • Fold clothes vertically so you can see every item in a draw.
  • Turn coat hangers one way, then when you wear it put the hanger back the other way. At the end of a few months get rid of the clothes that you aren’t wearing.
  • Fold your sheet sets into one of the pillow cases so they are all together, ready to grab and go when you need to change the beds.

For the Family

  • Double sheet your kid’s beds. If they wet the bed in the middle of the night, you have another mattress protector and sheet set underneath, ready to go.
  • Use an old fitted sheet when the kids are playing with LEGO. Put four boxes in the corners so the sheet faces up, and sit them in the middle. When they’ve finished, remove the boxes, scoop up the sheet holding the LEGO – and voila no more LEGO! (empty into a container or store in the sheet).
  • Visit our website here for a printable template of the My Daily Task Board, or as we like to call it in our house, ‘The Nag Board’. It’s a magnetic white board that you create your own magnets for with your family’s daily tasks. You can put everything on there that you usually ask (or nag) your family about day and night. Everything from “put your shoes on”, to “clean your teeth” and “feed your pets”. Simply create a magnet (chop up old magnets and relabel them with the tasks), then divvy your whiteboard into two columns: WHAT and DONE, then halve the board so it has morning and afternoon. The family member simply moves the task over to “done” when they have completed the board for the day. Then you only have to nag them to “do the board” and you can see at a glance who has done what, and less things get forgotten! Simply reset the board once they go to bed for the next day.

For You

  • Teach everyone in your house to write down (or tell you to write down) when you are running out of something. This means  you don’t spend time doing an audit of your house just to make a shopping list.
  • Have bags ready. Eg. nappy bags, repack when you get home so it’s always ready to go. Picnic sets, activity bags (like going to the beach). Always repack these as soon as possible so they are always ready to go with sunscreen, activities and more.

We will have more helpful Time Saving Life Hacks in the next edition of Pakmag. If you have a life hack that you’d like to share email editorial@pakmag.com.au and it could feature!