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What little things make your life easier?

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#1 *lightning

Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:32 AM

I love being a parent but my life has become much more stressful and extremely busy. I was doing good and used to just go with the flow but now its starting to get to me.

I have SO much to do and the unknown about what this year will bring makes me nervous. I have one child who is acting out because he needs more attention (I wish it was easy because he is a wonderful boy), I have a child who isn't acting out but I miss the time we use to spend together. She's a great helper and helps if she sees we need a hand. I have a baby who is just so damn cute! Like all babies he requires a fair bit of attention. I have an autistic toddler and this makes the simple tasks such as shopping or bath time difficult.

This is the most challenging time so far for me as a parent. My house isn't organized, my beautiful toddler has to pull and throw EVERYTHING onto the floor and we have given up trying to clean it up. The washing is never ending! My house isn't organized and we need to do a massive clean out. I don't have the energy to constantly tidy and clean this house. Thank god all kids sleep 8-9 hours because some days just getting through the day can feel like a marathon.

We are getting a cleaner! This is going to be a massive help and I'm sooo excited.

What things make your busy life just that bit easier?

#2 Senna

Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:41 AM


#3 poppypenny

Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:45 AM

My roomba.
It has made so much difference to the amount of time I spend cleaning.
A quick 5 minute mop around the kitchen and dining table every night after roomba has done his thing.
The floors are clean all day every day not just a couple of times a week.
Love him!

#4 LittleMissPink

Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:39 AM

A decent veggie peeler and can opener!

Oh, and my cleaner....bless her!

Most importantly, my respite carer...I wish I could marry her!

#5 Snot stew

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:03 AM

Honestly... I have lowered my cleaning standards.

#6 Lady Lovely Locks

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:03 AM

Sliced mushrooms,grated cheese and if I had a Roomba my life would be complete Tounge1.gif

#7 bluecardigans

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:20 AM

Getting up an hour before the kids where possible to get organised.
Cooking on the weekend and freezing for weekdays.
Bathing all the kids at one time.
Supervising meal times to maintain the mess rather than eating with the kids.
Make a rule that you can't play with a new toy/game until you pack away the previous one.

#8 coolbreeze

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:39 AM

-big plastic bins from big w with labels on it to chuck toys in in at the end of the day. Declutter toys every couple of months and rotate toys.
-spending an hour in the evening getting everything laid out for the next day, clothes for each child, bags packed with snacks and water bottle at front door with my bag AND keys.
-Cook in bulk and freeze in smaller portions for later meals.
-Eat outside and in minimal clothing in warm weather. I think I feed my two in the nude for about a year...saves heaps of washing and getting food stains out!!
-quick whip around in the evening doing dishes and wiping benches down.
-washing is a hard one and my downfall, I try to fold in the evening and I try not to wash too much...sometimes I throw clean clothes in just to get rid of clutter.
-cleaner is good but not much use if they are trying to clean around mess. For me a cleaner makes me pack away the night before she comes which is good as she makes me regroup in the house. I cant tell you the pleasure of walking into a tidy house after the cleaner has been there...even if it last for about an hour!!!

#9 JRA

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:48 AM

Dishwasher - always empty first thing in the morning (DS's job), so dirty dishes go in there to put dishes out of sight, until it goes on at night

Tidy bench every night. Nothing like starting the day clear

#10 More cheese Gromit

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:53 AM

My el cheapo robot floor cleaner and the storage cube system from Bunnings ... I'm tempted to get another storage cube system to throw DS clothes in and elimate folding  original.gif

#11 Lagom

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:31 AM

I have a daily routine that consists of:

empty dishwasher
open all curtains and windows, make the beds
quick tidy
hang washing
prep for dinner

put on a load of washing on delayed start
clean kitchen
get out clothes for the next day, do lunchboxes and school bags

I do one BIG shop every 6-8 weeks where I buy all staples then shop once a week for fresh milk, fruit and veg.  I shop in the evenings so that I can go alone.
I have a meal plan, often cook in bulk and freeze for later.  When I am exhausted and want to get take away I get out a bag of cooked rice and a bag of curry from the freezer and nuke it.  Cheaper and better for us!
It's hard to find the time, but I also do a big clean out at the start of every school term.  I throw out/recycle/give away clothes that are old or don't fit, toys that are broken or not played with etc etc.  Each time I do it I get more and more ruthless as I have realised that the less there is in my house the less there is to clean up or for the kids to make a mess with!  I got a heap of plastic buckets and large zip locks back and put all the toys in there.  Then I rotate the buckets so there is a limited amount of toys out at any one time.  The kids play better and there is less mess to deal with.

I'm not a huge fan, but what has been a huge help for us is having a routine.  DD has a chart that shows her what we are doing each day and we follow the chart.  We used to use pictograms but it's easier now she can read!

I also used child care 3 hours a week to give me some alone time where I could be in the house in the peace and quiet.  I joined a gym and go in the evenings.  Having some time for myself has made it easier to cope with everything else.  

Seeing DDs psychologist has also been awesome in all kinds of ways.  I needed help!  she's made life easier for us in ways that nothing else could.

Good luck!

#12 Ice Queen

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:38 AM

A cleaner.
Setting aside a day dedicated to the house.  On Monday I wash, the cleaner comes, I shop and sometimes I collapse in a heap at 8pm after having only just got the clothes put away.  But it is done and I might do one or 2 catch up loads on Thursday.

My DD has just started kindy on Mondays so it will be even easier now.

I just hate feeling like everyday is groundhog day with housework so by working my backside off on a Monday I can enjoy Tuesday and Wednesday with my kids.  I do no housework on these days except to tidy toys and maybe sweep the kitchen flr.

I cook dinner at lunchtime when bubs is asleep is DD is watching TV.

#13 nezy_ezy

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:47 AM

i love "lowering my cleaning standards" lol

I must be the only one who doesnt like her Roomba - maybe i should take it & give it a go again.

Another to say Dishwasher - emptied in the mornings & loaded properly throughout the day.

Dryer - during wet & colder days.

Hanging my large items on the stair case rail & over the doors.

a 5 minute tidy after each meal -

meal planner - im hoping to restart it once i get back into a routine.

spraying Mr Muscle & soaking overnight in the oven , pans, stove or anything that has stains that I can remove .
Soaking the kettle just before bed on Friday nights with water & lemon so all these utensils are ready to be washed without the effort.

The kids! - they all have to help somehow or another - especially with the shoes, their rooms & tidying the yard.

#14 lafonda

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:48 AM

An afternoon nap makes my life a little easier

#15 EsmeLennox

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:08 AM

Ordering staple groceries online every couple of weeks, getting meat delivered from an online butcher in bulk. Using my local market for F&V, bread and milk.

Making my children empty the dishwasher.
Paying someone to clean my oven.

#16 B.feral3

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:08 AM

My Thermomix. I can't imagine going back to an existence without it.

#17 Flaxen

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:27 AM

My Laptop,
Its my contact with the outside world when i get a break for 5 mins.
I'd be lost without it.

I do spend too much time on it, but im always researching useful things, rarely shopping.

I used to do a coles online shop once a week and loved the convienience, but now we moved to the country, delivery is not available here, which it should be! Its MORE important in the country I say!

#18 *LucyE*

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

My tip is to really think about how your family functions and to develop systems to suit.  Every family is different so they need different solutions.

For us, the dishwasher is set on a delay start to go after I leave for school drop off.  That way I can squeeze in the breakfast dishes and unload it mid morning when all is calm and quiet around the house.  Early morning is not a good time for us to do an extra job.

Washing clothes daily.  I like to have our weekends free for spontaneous jaunts.  Even if I don't fold and put the washing away, at least the clothes are clean.  I also hang shirts directly onto hangers so they dry with minimal creasing which also makes ironing easier if it requires it.  Socks get hang up in pairs on those little sock hanger thingies so they are less likely to get lost.  It also means if I don't get around to putting them away, it is still easy to find a pair.

I try to do a quick tidy up each night so I get to start each day fresh.  I find it depressing to wake up to a mess.

I will make components of lunch boxes the night before.  Then all I need to do in the morning is to stuff them into the lunch box.

Set up systems in your house to minimize the workload for you.  I tried to get everyone (including DH) to put shoes and hats in the bedrooms for ages.  I eventually gave up and set up a shelf with individual baskets for each person at the top of our stairs (main entry point to the house from garage).  It's now easier to keep shoes and paraphernalia tidy even though it is in the same spot.

There are no dirty laundry baskets in the kids' rooms.  They mostly take off clothes in the bathroom so if they do change in their bedroom, they are told to take it straight to the laundry.  In the laundry, I have baskets labelled so everyone can sort laundry as they dump which minimizes work for me.  

In the kids' wardrobes, I have a daily 'slot' for uniforms and extra curricular uniforms.  I try to have uniforms ironed and sorted at the start of each week, so every morning, they can just get everything they need from that slot without having to think or rummage around for bits and pieces.  I scoffed at this idea when I first read about it on EB years ago, but with school aged kids it really has helped.

In the bathroom, I have towels colour coded.  Each child has their own colour so I can easily tell who didn't hang up their towel and there's no fighting over not having a towel or 'X is using my towel' fights.  It meant buying more towels as each child was born (they have 3 each on rotation), but has been a sanity saver.  I also have colour coded melamine cups set up on the vanity with their toothbrushes and toothpaste.  It sits in a little tray so looks neat and tidy.  Again, it minimizes fights and makes it very easy for the children to use themselves.

I try to get the kids involved in cooking.  I set them up with a chopping board and appropriate knife and allow them to help prep.  It means an extra handful of veg needs to be purchased but it's a small cost for the sanity saving.  Usually the kids will eat the veg as they are chopping which is a bonus.  We have chooks so I don't feel any guilt about wastage.  And it keeps my toddler from pulling everything out of the cupboards.

We also have a great cleaner.  I went through quite a few to find the right one for our family.  She's a mother of similar aged children and uses her common sense.  I've mostly got her doing the chores I hate or just don't get around to in my daily clean.  With young kids, I end up vacuuming and mopping most days anyway.  The washing is never ending and so are the constant dishes.  So I don't waste the cleaner's time doing those jobs I'd do anyway.  I get her to do things like cleaning windows, shutters, skirting boards, walls, deep vacuuming of carpets and under beds, bathrooms etc.  She also does a tidy up of toys that have been spread around the house.  There are days when she sees me overwhelmed with Mt Foldmore that she will help with that.  Or when we are on holidays, she will clean the fridge etc.  She's just great.

I must be the only one who doesnt like her Roomba - maybe i should take it & give it a go again.

I love my Roomba but currently am not using it much.  It works best in houses with minimal clutter and open spaces.  Right now, with so much of our toddler's toys spread around, Roomba would have a conniption trying to clean.  It worked great before we had #3, and I would set it to run in the morning when I did the school drop off.  The floors would be clear from the night before and there would be limited play in the morning because the kids were getting ready.  I would then run Scooba in the afternoons before I left for school pick up.  My toddler is so energetic that if I tried clearing toys to run Roomba, he would be pulling stuff out elsewhere causing more havoc.  Just not worth the stress right now, but I will get Roomba working again in the future.

#19 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:02 AM

Disposable nappies and wipes.  I usually use cloth but every now and then give myself a break with sposies.

having the house decluttered and very minimal, I cannot stand moving stuff from one spot to another and double handling everything, I just get rid of it.  So much less to deal with.

The playground, it's my escape/sanity place when things get crazy at home.


Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:03 AM

Great lists!

I'm with JRA - I would be seriously lost without my dishwasher.

#21 EssentialBludger

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:43 AM

Dishwasher, seriously can't imagine not having one now.

Barstools, we all eat at the bench now, so no clearing and wiping down dining table.

Roomba, mines half dead sad.gif but it was a godsend when it worked properly.

#22 Fr0g

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:48 AM

Meal planning and a weekly 'big shop'.  Nothing irritates me more than 5pm food indecision and not having 1 or 2 ingredients.  

Having some sliced cake/ pikelets/ muffins in the freezer to pop in a lunch box.  

I am about to bite the bullet and have a fortnightly cleaner come in - I don't know what difference it will make, but I'm willing to try!?

#23 Helena Handbasket

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

Duct tape.  ph34r.gif

#24 *lightning

Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

I'm getting some great ideas. Keep them coming!

Edited by *lightning, 03 February 2013 - 11:03 AM.

#25 Sif

Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:06 AM

It doesn't work for everyone, and I think, OP, it wouldn't be your thing...

Every six months I have a huge clean out of the house. That is I go through everything and purge whatever we don't need. Yes, I have been known to just get a skip and CHUCK stuff. I don't keep every painting or creation from the kids.

I get bills emailed to me rather sent as paper wherever I can - paper is the absolute BANE of my existence!

Then I have routines (which change whenever they stop working), mostly to prepare stuff for times when I'm just too tired to care.

So, I shop fortnight and have a list of meals, but don't schedule them for particular days, and they always include a few really quick to make options.

I make the kids get into pjs and have showers at 5pm, so that by bed time - when I'm shattered, it's a matter for sending them off. I also get the table set when they get home from school so that it doesn't have to be done with arguments right before dinner time.

With lots of kids, it's pretty much impossible to avoid mess - especially with toddlers/preschoolers. So, I aim for a tidy each evening before bed.

I have been known to have several toddler gates to minimise the areas the toddler can get to and destroy...

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