Ever feel like you spend too long doing household chores?
If you’re a mother, don’t bother answering.
I’ll take that as a yes.
Laundry, cooking, rescuing plastic dinosaurs from the U-bend...It. Never. Ends.
But what if you could cut the amount of time you spend on annoying household chores? So that you could spend more time with your family - or locked in the bathroom eating the last of the girl scout cookies.
Sounds good, right?
Don't tell anyone, but I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to household management. And I have a hunch that most of us spend way too long doing shit that could be done more efficiently.
So today, I’m giving you a case study.
How one mama recently saved 5 and a half hours every week on household chores.
Spending Too Freakin’ Long on Household Chores
AKA The Case Study Background Details
A friend of mine recently decided to go back to work after a long break being at home with her kids.
Hurrah for her!
But she was worried about how she’d cope with running a home, being a mama to 2 whirlwind boys, and working full time. So over a glass or 3 of vino - don’t judge - we chatted about how she could save time on household chores.
And I’m not ashamed to say I whipped out a some gel pens and even ad-hoc’ed a kanban board.
Want to know how she saved so much time- and how you could save hours every week, too)
Quick - read on!!
The case study
What's Not Working for You?
Once the vino was poured and we’d settled down on her comfy couch, I wanted to dig into where she felt she was spending her time.
Ideally, you should track your time over a couple of days to be absolutely sure of where your time is going.
But she did come up with some answers that I think we can ALL agree on:
‘I love a clean house. But I hate cleaning.’
‘Shit hits the fan around about dinner time. I’m tired. The kids are tired. Is cereal an appropriate dinner food?
‘I do everything at home! Every - motherfreakin’ - thing.’
Amen! Sing, it sista’!
(Is that the correct spelling of sista’? I’m really not hip enough to know.)
I also asked these probing questions:
What household tasks make you want to vomit blood?
What’s your biggest time-waster in the morning?
What’s one big time suck you battle with daily?
(Hint: Ask yourself these probing questions now)
OK. Let’s whip out the gel pens and get to work.
(She did promise me faithfully that she would track her time for a few days. But she did also promise me that we’d go to Vegas and ‘take on the casinos’ - so, I think she might have been a bit tipsy.)
1 | Delegate Chores (Without Feeling Like a Lazy Cow)
My sweet friend was trying so hard to do everything - and failing hard.
So we discussed how she could delegate some household chores.
My first suggestion - a cleaner - was met with an immediate ‘no!’ Because she didn’t want to feel like some lady out of Downton Abbey with ‘staff’.
But paying a cleaner makes perfect sense!
Just a couple of hours of help a week buys you a break from chores you hate, and more time with family.
So we quickly Googled some local prices and that ‘no!’ turned into a ‘hell, yeah!’
Tips for choosing a cleaner:
Get recommendations from a trusted source;
Cheapest does not equal best;
Be really clear about what chores you expect your cleaner to do;
Check who is supposed to provide the cleaning products - if they provide their own, check you’re happy with the products they use;
Hire a mommy if you can - let’s help each other out!
Be normal - you’re not a lady from Downton Abbey and your cleaner ain’t gonna drop you a curtsy. Fact.
Time Saved: 2 Hours
Money Spent: $36 weekly
2 | Get the Family to Help - It’s Their House, too!
My friend’s new job meant that both her and her husband would be working out of the home all day.
So, now was the right time to ask...why am I doing all the household chores?
Since her husband worked longer hours than my friend during the week, we thought it might be reasonable to ask if he could take responsibility for the weekend dinners. He does love cooking so that seemed like a good place to start.
Tips for dividing chores with your husband:
Open the conversation by factually stating that you need a bit of help - keep it calm and accusation free;
Ask for their input on what chores they could help with;
Let them choose when they do the chores;
Be happy with however they do the chores - they may use a different product or different technique. But that doesn’t make them ‘wrong’.
Time Saved: 1 hour
Money Spent: Zero - unless he burns down the kitchen with his wild grill experiments.
Get the kids to help too: We also reasoned that now would be a good time for the kids to keep their own bedrooms tidy.
Time Saved: Estimated 20 mins a week - after an initial time investment to show the kids how to tidy and organize their room more effectively.
Money Spent: Nada.
3 | Automate Your Home
As mompreneurs, we hear a lot about automating our businesses. But what about automating our homes?
My friend and I discussed 2 big household chores she could automate: meal planning and grocery shopping.
Meal Planning - I’m always amazed by how much time moms waste on meal planning. Especially moms who do make a meal plan….and then throw it away at the end of the week!
Why? For the love of all that is chocolate - why throw your meal plans away??
And reuse them in a few weeks’ time - I guarantee your family won’t notice.
I came across this staggeringly good blog post on how to meal plan just 4 times a year. I suggest you print it, read it, and staple it to your face. You won’t regret it. I showed it to my friend and she’s hooked.
Time Saved: 15 minutes.
Money Spent: Zilch.
Online grocery shopping - Yes, I was initially put off by the perceived cost.
But I found that for less than the price of a cup of coffee, I could choose my groceries online from my favorite supermarket and get someone to deliver it. To my actual front door!
I honestly do not miss going to the supermarket and herding my screaming kids around the fresh produce aisles.
Again, my friend had one of those ‘why didn’t I do this sooner’ looks on her face.
Time Saved: 1 hour
Money Spent: Maximum of $5 a week for delivery
4 | Eliminate Time Sucks
When you track your time, you’ll begin to notice chores that are just massive time sucks. And I identified 2 that my friend could eliminate immediately.
Cooking dinner from scratch every day is a colossal time suck. So I suggested my friend make more use of her freezer - it’s not just for vodka, you know! Cook bigger batches of what you’re already cooking for dinner and freeze some for another day.
Time Saved: 40 minutes - based on eating a freezer meal one night a week instead of cooking from scratch.
Money Spent: Nothing.
Ironing bed sheets: WTF?? Stop doing that.
Time Saved: 20 minutes a week.
Money Spent: Zero.
5 | Stop Wasting Time Looking for Stuff
(AKA Where the 'fudge' are the car keys?)
When I asked what my friend’s biggest time suck was in the morning, she told me she was sick of looking for her car keys. OK. It’s not a massive time suck - 5 minutes here and there.
But it’s just so annoying!
So we immediately bought a set of hooks off Amazon - delivered tomorrow, thank you very much Amazon Prime.
Take Action: What one thing are you sick of always losing? Where could you store that item so that you never lose it again?
Time Saved: Maybe 10 minutes a week.
Money Spent: $5 for a set of 3M adhesive hooks.
How to Stop Wasting Your Life on Soul-Sucking Chores
Phew - that was one in-depth organizing session!
But by making small tweaks to how she ran her home, my friend saved 5 hours 30 minutes every week.
Want to save some time, too?
Although I can’t have an organizing/drinking session with everyone, I'd love to help you all save time on soul-sucking household chores.
So I created a free challenge to help you save up to an hour a day. I hope it saves you some time and sanity. You can download it here.