Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How to Save a Little Time

By Brandi M. Seals

There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. Instead of trying to squeeze in enough time to do the cleaning and other task that always seem to get put on the back burner, why not try to save time in other areas and use it to its fullest advantage?

For example, instead of packing up the kids, strapping them into their car seats, driving to the mall, unpacking everyone, then spending less then an hour looking around because the kids get restless. Why not shop online. You can find a lot of items with a simple click of the mouse and many online retailers offer discounted or free shipping from time to time. While you will not actually get to get out of the house, you will free up a good chunk of your day. Plus, there are often better prices online when it comes to electronics.

If you cannot give up a chance to get out of the house, that is okay. There are other changes you can implement to free up a little extra time. Whenever you are in the market for a new washer and dryer, opt for the largest capacity machines you can afford. They will save you time since you can fit more clothes into one load. I currently have one of those standard issue stacked washer/dryer sets that between 1/3 and 1/2 the size of a traditional set. It takes me all day to do the equivalent of 3 standard loads. For me it ends up being more like 7 loads of laundry. Anyone that has a small washer and dryer knows what I am talking about. It is annoying and extremely time consuming. Whenever I move and actually have to buy a washer and dryer, you better believe that I will pay special attention to the capacity.

For those that do not have the laundry problem, the easiest way to free up time is to stay on top of your chores. I know how daunting it can be when there are two bathrooms that need to be cleaned, several rooms that need to be dusted and vacuumed, and let us not forget those dishes waiting to be cleaned. If you are lucky, you have someone there to help you out with all the tasks at hand, but that does not make them get done any faster.

To stay on top of chores, create a schedule. You know yourself, so make it to suit you. If you have mornings free and are generally fairly energized early on, why not set that as the time to clean. All you need is about 20 minutes, but keep in mind the amount of time will greatly be affected by the size of your home and the abilities of those that live there to put their stuff away.

Start by picking up items that do not belong. If there are toys resting on the stairs, magazines out of the magazine rack, or even used paper plates sitting around, start by picking these things up and putting them where they belong. This may take a bit longer when you first start the ritualized cleaning, but the more you do it, the faster you will get done. If some of the items do not have homes, make them one. Otherwise, the item will never be put away and will always be underfoot.

After the loose items are picked up, it is time to get down to the nitty gritty. I like to use one day to dust my apartment, the next day I vacuum. The next two days I concentrate on the bathrooms; one on each day. Friday I take things easy and do any chore that needs to get done. By keeping everything up, dusted and vacuumed, it does not take much time to get the chores done. Each person has a different definition of clean, so if you feel like you need to clean more often, then go for it. Less often really is not that advisable if you want the task to only take a few minutes the next time around.

Remember dishes should be done daily. And to make the task super easy, simply be sure to rinse all dishes as they become dirty. That way they are easier to clean.

If you implement one or two of these suggestions, you might just find yourself with a little extra downtime.

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