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Streamlining: New and Better Ways of Doing Things


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4 hours ago, regentrude said:

Question for those who store clothes in the laundry space: how does that work? Do all family members go there to select their clothes, carry them to their bathroom to dress after showering? Do folks wander naked through the house? Do you have mirrors there for dressing up? 

At the moment, everyone wanders around naked, lol. I imagine at some point that wouldn't fly...

This isn't exactly a choice, though. It's just that sometimes the laundry doesn't get put away quickly enough 😛 . 

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1 hour ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Buy multiples of favorite clothing when they go on sale.

 

I buy multiples of shoes if I find a really comfortable pair. I've run into situations where by the time the pair I love wears out they've been discontinued. Now if I buy a pair of shoes and realize I love them, I go buy another pair (sometimes two!) so I'll have them when I need a new pair. I store them on the highest shelf in my closet so they don't take up too much room.

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10 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

One of the strongest streamlining moves is homeschooling.  It saves so much time.

Wait, what?

Homeschooling my high schooler is a TON of work. I am sending him to school next year because I don’t have time to plan and facilitate science labs, grade essays, or do some of the hands on teaching to the degree he needs it. 
 

I homeschooled oldest k-12. At his most efficient, he still needed me, directly, 2 hours a day. This kid is far less efficient with my time. 
 

Add in that I have multiple kids—it is far easier to send them to school than to homeschool once they are past 4th grade or so.

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16 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Wait, what?

Homeschooling my high schooler is a TON of work. ..

Add in that I have multiple kids—it is far easier to send them to school than to homeschool once they are past 4th grade or so.

Yeah, I am puzzled about that comment,  too. Even with just 2 kids, homeschooling (and the curriculum research involved!) took a LOT of my time.

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21 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

I buy multiples of shoes if I find a really comfortable pair. I've run into situations where by the time the pair I love wears out they've been discontinued. Now if I buy a pair of shoes and realize I love them, I go buy another pair (sometimes two!) so I'll have them when I need a new pair. I store them on the highest shelf in my closet so they don't take up too much room.

See, I started this with shoes myself.  I searched for the most comfortable but reasonably professional flats I could find, back when ‘Dress For Success’ was still a thing, and ended up with Amalfi Hectors.  I wore them to work pretty much exclusively for years.  I had a salesperson who would call me whenever they went on their annual sale, and tell me what colors were available, and set the ones I wanted (for the year) aside for me to pick up.  

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I haven’t sorted laundry since I moved out of my parents’ home at 18. 🤷‍♀️ Everything here can be washed together unless someone throws up on something. I’ve never had any issues with clothes being ruined by doing so either. Both dc have been doing their own laundry since they were about ten. There’s always towels or bedding to toss in if a load is small. 

 

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Yep.  I don't fold laundry, I hang almost all of it as soon as it comes out of the drier. (I take empty hangers to the washer and dryer when I take the laundry hampers there.)  Folding is such a waste of time and a bad idea with kids who make a mess rifling through clothes in drawers looking for something specific. Rifling though hung laundry doesn't make a mess as long as the hanger stays on the rod and clothes stay on the hanger.  Buy fuzzy covered hangers so clothes don't slip off with rough handling. 

When they were little it was all hands on deck to help with laundry and we never left the house on laundry day.  When they got to be about 8 they took on their own laundry. When the dryer buzzer goes off, everyone gathers around to put laundry on hangers or roll towels and put it away.

When I still had all my kids at home I didn't buy any clothes that needed ironing or more than one or two kitchen items that needed handwashing in the sink. Life is too busy with kids for that.

Cook Once Eat all Week is a food prep approach.  You can buy the book by that title at Amazon. I prep and cook everything I can the day after I grocery shop.  Most can be done ahead of time and reheated or prepped and stored for cooking the day of.

Another approach is Cook Once, Eat Twice: make a double batch of a dish.  Reserve half of it (1 meal's worth) in the fridge-label it it you need to-for a day later in the week that is your busiest and and put the other half (1 meal's worth) on the table. You can plan 3 double batch dishes a week which will cover 6 days of dinners and that 7th day you can have leftovers or get take out or eat out. That's 4 dinners of the week you don't have to cook-you already did and it's just sitting there, waiting for you to heat it up.

Learn each major appliance's (dishwasher/washing machine) shortest cycle that does the job well. You can do far more in a shorter period of time.  You can also learn to stack jobs efficiently: Take advantage of passive time.  

bring down laundry and empty hangers
sort laundry
start laundry load #1

clean up the kitchen and run the dishwasher load #1

throw out/compost expired veggies in your fridge

move laundry load #1 to dryer
start laundry load #2

finish cleaning out fridge
unload dishwasher load #1
start dishwasher load #2

hang up and put away laundry load #1
move laundry load #2 to dryer
start laundry load #3

make meal plan (because you just finished cleaning out fridge and know what you're out of)
unload dishwasher load #2
hang and put away laundry load #2
move laundry load #3 to dryer

You get the idea. 
 

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I've made the argument that homeschooling is a more efficient use of time, too...sometimes.  🙂  After a week of taking kids to day camp - the drop off line, the pick up line...I was glad that I didn't have to do that every day for school.  I'd have needed to pack lunches for longer than I had to fix lunches for kids at home - today my 12 year old asked me to pack a lunch for an outing, but kid has been reheating leftovers for lunch for years.  The amount of time that some parents have to spend on homework with their kids - reteaching math, signing off that they listened to them read for 30 minutes, gathering all of the stuff for the diorama, getting together the outfit for Cat in the Hat Day...it sometimes seems like school parents put in comparable time to what I do, only it's on stuff that I wouldn't like nearly as much as the things that I choose for my kids.  But, on the flip side, they have actual free time during the day and I usually don't, so clearly homeschooling isn't freeing up a ton of my time.  But, somehow it feels like it's less time because it's on my schedule doing my choice of activities, and if I"m on somebody else's schedule it's because I chose to sign up for a class...and while our evenings are often busy, they aren't busy with homework so it does seem to be more streamlined in some sense.  When my kids were little I had a mom friend say that she couldn't homeschool...her kids were spaced such that she sat in the car pool line at the elementary, middle and high schools that year.  I'm pretty sure that I could do an entire school day with a K and 3rd grader in the time that she managed transportation.  Now that I have big kids, it can go either way - some days take a bunch of my time troubleshooting and discussing and explaining and other days I answer questions and check work but they do a lot independently.  

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I'm surprised people are managing to run all laundry together. Some of our stuff shrinks if dried. Some of our stuff bleeds (ever accidentally throw in a pair of red pants with a white load? Ugh.) Some of our stuff doesn't even do well with warm washes, and some of our stuff doesn't wash off if we don't use a warm wash. 

I don't know if this counts as "streamlining," but I am a huge fan of IKEA Kallax cubes and other methods of organizing our stuff that make it clear where to put things away. Mind you, things aren't ALWAYS put away, but everything at least has a place. 

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46 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Wait, what?

Homeschooling my high schooler is a TON of work. I am sending him to school next year because I don’t have time to plan and facilitate science labs, grade essays, or do some of the hands on teaching to the degree he needs it. 
 

I homeschooled oldest k-12. At his most efficient, he still needed me, directly, 2 hours a day. This kid is far less efficient with my time. 
 

Add in that I have multiple kids—it is far easier to send them to school than to homeschool once they are past 4th grade or so.

I definitely have more time when I send my kids to school. Now, mind you, then THEY have less time... it's a trade-off. But it's definitely not a trade-off by which I get more time! 

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I wouldn't say that I've found homeschooling my two elementary kids takes up less time that public school, but I do think it takes about the same amount of time. Lunches, homework, drop offs, sick days, volunteer days, class party days, doctors appointments, field trips, clean clothes, finding the hair brush etc etc etc ... to be fair I was a very involved parent (and disorganized mom!!), but I think the same is/ would be true of most people who take homeschooling seriously. 

I spend a lot of time researching curriculum etc, but when my daughter was in PS I spent close to the same amount of time researching Girl Scout meeting plans and activities--not because I need to, but because apparently I missed my calling as an elementary school teacher. (I did not.) 

Of course I can't speak to middle/ high school. That does seem very time-consuming. 

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3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I'm surprised people are managing to run all laundry together. Some of our stuff shrinks if dried. Some of our stuff bleeds (ever accidentally throw in a pair of red pants with a white load? Ugh.) Some of our stuff doesn't even do well with warm washes, and some of our stuff doesn't wash off if we don't use a warm wash. 

I don't know if this counts as "streamlining," but I am a huge fan of IKEA Kallax cubes and other methods of organizing our stuff that make it clear where to put things away. Mind you, things aren't ALWAYS put away, but everything at least has a place. 

It’s easy to pull stuff out to hang that can’t be dried so we don’t have issues with stuff shrinking.  My mom always warned us of things bleeding into other clothes but I have honestly never had it actually happen (and my dc go to IU so we’re washing lots of red clothes). We also wash everything on cold and haven’t ever had an issue with things getting clean. Maybe it’s the detergent we use or the types of clothes we buy, but these things have just never been problems with our laundry. 

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8 minutes ago, Joker2 said:

It’s easy to pull stuff out to hang that can’t be dried so we don’t have issues with stuff shrinking.  My mom always warned us of things bleeding into other clothes but I have honestly never had it actually happen (and my dc go to IU so we’re washing lots of red clothes). We also wash everything on cold and haven’t ever had an issue with things getting clean. Maybe it’s the detergent we use or the types of clothes we buy, but these things have just never been problems with our laundry. 

I tend to separate out the stuff that can't be dried, because if I don't, something WILL make it into the dryer accidentally, and then I'll be very sorry but I won't be able to change it. 

And I'm amazed red things don't bleed for you! Do you wash whites with reds, too? 

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My jr high kid was entirely self-sufficient with regard to getting ready and dealing with the bus. He occasionally needed help with a homework assignment--maybe an hour a week?

For my elementary school kids, I had to help my youngest only. We had about 15 minutes at the bus stop morning and afternoon including unpacking and quickly sorting the backpack. I spent 2 hours a week volunteering as a reading helper at Youngest's elementary. We had the occasional mad scramble to find the recorder or a library book or gather supplies. So, 7 hours a week for both girls? People eat, brush their hair, get sick or go to the doctor either way.  I went on a couple of field trips (2 half day ones), but way fewer than when I homeschool. I don't count those either, especially as they were entirely volunteer.  My contact time for the girls' homeschool is about 2-3 hours a day--10-15 hours a week, and that doesn't count field trips, play days, or any of those things I would just chalk up to parenting.

My mind is just completely blown that people would think that public schooling is equivalent or more work. Just blown. 

I'm honestly quite thrilled my middles are headed back to public school in the fall as they will be fully vaccinated.  I homeschooled everybody all at home until 2018, and honestly, sending them to school was such a relief. Having everyone thrown back home for the last 15 months has reminded me of why sending some to school has been so good for us.

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We use color catcher sheets, and anything that needs to be hung up gets washed in a lingerie bag so it's spotted easily for air drying.

We air dry quite a bit. Having a laundry room with a proper airing rack anchored into the wall has been lovely.  We have the ability to air dry all of our laundry (5 racks total) due to our dryer breaking down a couple of years ago, but with the volume of our laundry, it's easier to still use a clothes dryer, especially in winter.

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Our key to streamlining life has been to streamline our things.

Beyond that, I labeled our very small pantry and fridge a couple of years ago. I can look in to the fridge and generate a shopping list pretty quickly because everything is in its place. We have a pretty standard grocery list as far as fridge stuff goes, and seeing that we are low on red peppers or milk or whatever is pretty easy. I don't have to look about moving jars searching for things.   I wash all produce and prep all produce as it comes home from the store, and it all sits in plastic bins in the bottom shelf of the fridge.  We have a limited bit in the crisper drawer, but we go through far more than what would fit there as a family of 6.

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We don't separate any laundry either except when we have  things like competition Leo's.  I don't think I've had anything run or shrink ever.  We just have a large basket in the laundry room you dump dirty clothes in.  The rule is if you go in you start or move laundry.  When it comes out of the dryer it gets tossed in the person's basket than they decide to fold,roll or hang.  Linens and towels are folded and live on shelves in the laundry room and are grabbed as needed.

 

Not sure anything else is our house is well run or streamlined we do a 20 minute cleanup each evening of the main living area.  Otherwise it's as noticed and needed.

I do delivery of everything I can.

Homeschooling may not actually take less of my time but it definitely gives us more time as a family.   Plus I enjoy most of what I have to do for homeschooling researching curriculum is fun.

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13 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

My mind is just completely blown that people would think that public schooling is equivalent or more work. Just blown. 

I'm also shocked by this. I like homeschooling and plan to homeschool as long as possible, but school is something like 8 hours of childcare a day!! Of course that buys me a lot of time to myself... 

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I felt that homeschooling was less time consuming and easier than public school for elementary. Both of my dc did kindergarten in ps and oldest went through second grade and I hated it. Homeschooling the rest of elementary was so much less stressful and calmer. 

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12 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I'm also shocked by this. I like homeschooling and plan to homeschool as long as possible, but school is something like 8 hours of childcare a day!! Of course that buys me a lot of time to myself... 

Except a lot of us still have more kids at home.  So it's not like we would have 8 hours kid free.  

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I've used color catcher sheets but I find that some things do still bleed, at least until they've been washed a bunch of times. I actually find it easier to separate laundry than to worry about what will/won't bleed and what can/can't go in the dryer. I'm over 60 though and have been doing laundry since I was 9 years old and my single mother worked double shifts. I have it down to a science. Or an art. Or something. 😄 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

 

My mind is just completely blown that people would think that public schooling is equivalent or more work. Just blown.

My guess is it depends on the age(s) of the kid(s) and maybe a little bit on your own personality (introvert versus extrovert). We started homeschooling for grades 2 and 5. Even though I did the obsessive curriculum research that many new homeschoolers do, overall my stress level and workload were hugely reduced. At that age I pretty much knew if I did nothing but lots of talking and a little math for awhile . . they'd learn. While they were in public school I was that mom--class mom for both of them every single year, PTO, pretty much at the school multiple days every single week doing something, often for the majority of the school day. I'm an introvert so it was exhausting to me. For the last year we were also dealing with a teacher who didn't seem in close touch with reality. There was no way to figure out what her expectations were. And remember--I was the class mom. She was truly loony. Homeschooling through middle school was an absolute breeze in comparison.

Edited by Pawz4me
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, regentrude said:

Question for those who store clothes in the laundry space: how does that work? Do all family members go there to select their clothes, carry them to their bathroom to dress after showering? Do folks wander naked through the house? Do you have mirrors there for dressing up? 

What do your family members do now? Go from bath to their rooms to dress or bring their clothes? I imagine either would work.

Our main bath is just off the laundry room, where most of our clothes are stored in closets/shelving. I think most of us just grab undies, socks, towels before the shower, then finish dressing in the laundry area. I don't actually know for sure what my teens do, but at least I do--because our laundry room is way bigger than the bathroom. There is a mirror. 

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1 minute ago, Pawz4me said:

My guess is it depends on the age(s) of the kid(s) and maybe a little bit on your own personality (introvert versus extrovert). We started homeschooling for grades 2 and 5. Even though I did the obsessive curriculum research that many new homeschoolers do, overall my stress level and workload were hugely reduced. At that age I pretty much knew if I did nothing but lots of talking and a little math for awhile . . they'd learn. While they were in school I was that mom--class mom for both of them every single year, PTO, pretty much at school multiple days every single week doing something. I'm an introvert so it was exhausting to me. Homeschooling through middle school was an absolute breeze in comparison.

Yes! I even ended up helping out in classrooms that didn’t include my own dc because there was such a need. It was exhausting. 

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By the time the kids were in middle school everyone in the house was responsible for their own laundry.  That way, if someone had a special shirt they wanted to wear on Friday, they were responsible for making sure it was clean.  But, that does not mean that everyone always did their own laundry separately.  If DD was washing some dark clothes, and didn't have a full load, she would ask if anyone else in the family had anything to throw in.  If we were coming back from a trip, and had a suit case (or more) of dirty clothes, I would began the laundry without separating out by person. 

We separate out things that we want to wash in hot water, things that need to be washed in cold/gentle, and colors that may bleed.  But, I never separate by types of clothing--jeans and t-shirts go in the same load.  If we have a new red or purple shirt, it is washed with other reds and purples.  A new pair of jeans wouldn't be washed with a white t-shirt, but would be washed with purple and black polo shirts.  

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

Yeah, I am puzzled about that comment,  too. Even with just 2 kids, homeschooling (and the curriculum research involved!) took a LOT of my time.

I found it really depended upon what I counted as time devoted to homeschooling versus time brick-and-mortar school.  When DS was in fifth grade, we pulled him out of public school and it was a time saver because we were dealing with so much nonsense at the school.  When you get called in to talk to the administration about your child picking on another child--and the incident occurred on a day when your child was not even at school (he was out of town at a doctor's appointment)--and it went downhill from there. We were also having to regrade papers corrected by the teacher--yes 1X1 = 1 = 1^.5.  Then there was the nonsense of the child's homework being "family projects"--play this number game with at least two members of your family this evening...with no flexibility of which night these games are played.  

DD went to private high school--that was a at least a 15 minute commute every day.  Do I count time volunteering to help with costumes for her drama club the same as I counted time spent with DSs debate club?  How do I count time where I am enjoying learning about a new topic just as much as DS?  Is PE time where we are both hiking or cycling count (but I am getting exercise)?

Overall I don't know how much more time homeschooling took, but in many ways it was "streamlining" because it put us more in control of our schedule.

 

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I am one who found homeschooling elementary and middle years to feel more "streamlined". Not necessarily because it took less of MY time (it didn't), but because *I* was 100% in charge of our schedule, instead of kids coming home from school, having "homework sheets" (that were only marked as done or not done, not actually marked or evaluated by a teacher), reading time, family time, bath and bedtimes all squeezed into a few hours in the evening. Homeschooling made home life much more enjoyable on the whole, with less chaos, tears, and battles in the evenings and mornings before school.

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

school is something like 8 hours of childcare a day!! Of course that buys me a lot of time to myself... 

This probably varies. Here, school went from 8.40-3.15, but my daughter had terrible anxiety about riding the bus--rightly, I didn't find out until much later that there was an older girl who was being really cruel to her--so I would drop her off after dropping my younger at preschool. School is close, but it was still 9.00 by the time I got home and at my desk (work from home), and then I would have to leave at 3 to pick her up. That's six hours of childcare on a good day--and lots of days were not good! Yes, I could have said no to all the requests for volunteering etc, but ... I never did.  

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Posted (edited)

Keep an extra charging cord for your phone in your vehicle (in case you end up getting stuck somewhere you hadn't planned on being like a hospital or elsewhere).

Minimizing what you own helps with streamlining.

Store stuff where you would look for it (not where it "should" be stored). If you have a weird or unusual location for something, that's fine. Otherwise, if you store it in the "proper" place (i.e., that's where most people store the item), you'll never remember where you stored it. (This is a tip from the woman who does the A Slob Comes Clean blog & books.)

I launder things together (tees, jeans, towels, etc.). We don't have anyone who does anything exceptionally dirty so there's no need. I don't see that it reduces the life of the item. I do love the color catcher sheets.

Store things you use together, together. I use my coffee pot everyday. The cabinet shelf above it holds the coffee, the mugs, the small spoons. The grinder & the water pitcher sit on the cabinet next to the coffee maker.

Freedom Filer system (which I'm pretty sure I saw recommended on these WTM boards years ago). I hate filing & paperwork, but this has made it a lot less painful.

I burn papers instead of shredding them. So much faster. (Fireplace or burn pit. I just put them in a small paper bag & keep it with the wood.)

Our recycling "bin" in the house is just a brown paper bag. When it gets full, the whole thing gets tossed in the recycle bin that gets rolled out to the street.

Keep my purse emptied out & use a small purse. I hate lugging stuff around & try to keep it minimal.

Years ago, I said if it couldn't go in the washing machine or dishwasher, I didn't want to own it. I've basically stood by that motto & it helps keep stuff from coming in & it makes keeping the items clean easy enough.

A tip I saw years ago & was helpful when I had littles if they were sick -- make up the bed with two layers, so a bed pad, fitted sheet, another bed pad, another fitted sheet. That way if there's an accident in the middle of the night, the little one doesn't have to stand around while you strip & remake the bed. Just pull off the top layer set & the child can get back into bed right away.

Use the library as much as I can, rather than owning thousands of books. Also, make use of the "holds" & "suspend holds" system to manage how many books I get at a time.

-----

I would love tips on storing reusable water bottles. We have quite a few, use them all the time (at home & when out & about). They're too tall to store in my normal cabinets, roll around when sideways. I leave the tops off so they don't trap any moisture inside & have them in a lower cabinet but it just seems a mess & a pain. (I have some lesser used items behind them but I either knock over bottles trying to get to them or have to pull a bunch out.) Any ideas or solutions? I have seen the idea of storing them stacked in magazine holders, but I'm not convinced that's the right solution for us....

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2 hours ago, Clemsondana said:

I've made the argument that homeschooling is a more efficient use of time, too...sometimes.  🙂  After a week of taking kids to day camp - the drop off line, the pick up line...I was glad that I didn't have to do that every day for school.  I'd have needed to pack lunches for longer than I had to fix lunches for kids at home - today my 12 year old asked me to pack a lunch for an outing, but kid has been reheating leftovers for lunch for years.  The amount of time that some parents have to spend on homework with their kids - reteaching math, signing off that they listened to them read for 30 minutes, gathering all of the stuff for the diorama, getting together the outfit for Cat in the Hat Day...it sometimes seems like school parents put in comparable time to what I do, only it's on stuff that I wouldn't like nearly as much as the things that I choose for my kids.  But, on the flip side, they have actual free time during the day and I usually don't, so clearly homeschooling isn't freeing up a ton of my time.  But, somehow it feels like it's less time because it's on my schedule doing my choice of activities, and if I"m on somebody else's schedule it's because I chose to sign up for a class...and while our evenings are often busy, they aren't busy with homework so it does seem to be more streamlined in some sense.  When my kids were little I had a mom friend say that she couldn't homeschool...her kids were spaced such that she sat in the car pool line at the elementary, middle and high schools that year.  I'm pretty sure that I could do an entire school day with a K and 3rd grader in the time that she managed transportation.  Now that I have big kids, it can go either way - some days take a bunch of my time troubleshooting and discussing and explaining and other days I answer questions and check work but they do a lot independently.  

Yeah--my 9 year old packs her own lunches. I make sure we have items on hand for lunches and the lunch menus for school. Both of my kids can pack their own lunches and decide what day they are eating. Occasionally we help with prepping food ahead. But I'm NOT a morning person so I do everything I can not to be relied upon in the morning to do anything but getting the kids out the door on time. I sign folders when they are placed in front of me. It's a moment's delay from doing other things. Yes remembering to ask them if they have homework takes time -- but I can't imagine its more time than remembering to check in that your homeschooled child is on task with their work.

 

I also don't deal with car lines. My kids are mostly bussed unless they have to get to school early/stay late and then there is no line to deal with.

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4 minutes ago, Stacia said:

I would love tips on storing reusable water bottles. We have quite a few, use them all the time (at home & when out & about). They're too tall to store in my normal cabinets, roll around when sideways. I leave the tops off so they don't trap any moisture inside & have them in a lower cabinet but it just seems a mess & a pain. (I have some lesser used items behind them but I either knock over bottles trying to get to them or have to pull a bunch out.) Any ideas or solutions? I have seen the idea of storing them stacked in magazine holders, but I'm not convinced that's the right solution for us....

First, I'd pare them down to the maximum number in use at a given time. If you need additional ones for camping/vacation, store them in a box with the gear for the activity. Many people have way more bottles than they actually need.
What size are they? Can you store them in a basket? A wine rack?

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I'm surprised people are managing to run all laundry together. Some of our stuff shrinks if dried. Some of our stuff bleeds (ever accidentally throw in a pair of red pants with a white load? Ugh.) Some of our stuff doesn't even do well with warm washes, and some of our stuff doesn't wash off if we don't use a warm wash. 

I don't know if this counts as "streamlining," but I am a huge fan of IKEA Kallax cubes and other methods of organizing our stuff that make it clear where to put things away. Mind you, things aren't ALWAYS put away, but everything at least has a place. 

I run 2 loads of mixed whites a week. (mixed meaning everyone's whites) 

My dh and my laundry is done together, My girls and my son do their laundry separate. We do typically run things that are brghtly colored and new in a dark load so they won't bleed. We know the things that shrink and hang them when switching over from washer to dryer. 

Generally though, most stuff is cotton or cotton blends here, so they go all together. I treat the stains and have taught the kids to treat theirs too.

Oh, a thought just occurred to me. We have a washer that is over 20 years old, so it is the old fashioned kind that fills up completely with water. That thing gets stuff SO CLEAN. I tried a newer water saver kind once when it blew a seal and we returned it to the store after 2 weeks becuase our clothes didn't get clean in the new one. My dh repaired the oldie and it still works greatly. Maye that's why I don't have much trouble with getting ick out of clothing. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/1/2021 at 4:18 PM, fairfarmhand said:

We know the things that shrink and hang them when switching over from washer to dryer. 

Generally though, most stuff is cotton or cotton blends here, so they go all together. I treat the stains and have taught the kids to treat theirs too.

I feel like my rate of "accidentally stuffing things into the dryer that shouldn't be dried" is lower if I separate the dryables and the non-dryables. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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Some of the thoughts about what takes more time probably have to do with who you know and what your experiences are.  My parents spent several years as PTA officers and mom was often a homeroom mom.  She spent a day or 2 at the school each week and hours on the phone many nights.  They had to organize fundraisers and help with school clean-up days.  There's the Teacher Appreciation luncheon and drama about teacher gifts.  Mom graded papers for teachers and helped with bulletin boards.  Most of my friends are public school parents.  They are always organizing field days and class parties and running to the store for posterboard.  My volunteer gigs have involved me being the 'parent' who signs off on being read to and helping with homework, so I know that while some kids have very little others have an hour or more of busy-work that they can't figure out how to do on their own.  I have seen the facebook posts about entire weekends spent on frustrating projects that took the whole family's time.  

I also know that some of the moms do daytime Bible studies or coffee shop meet-ups, which I can do as a one-off but not as a weekly event.  I could definitely use the down time that I'd have if the kids were in school, but I know that I'd be likely to be involved and not actually have all of that as downtime.  And, I'd likely be frustrated with what they wanted me to do to 'help', because I'd feel like much of it is a waste of time.  I think that things change in middle or high school because there are less fluff events that have to be dealt with, but at that point the kids are starting to struggle with academics and parents are trying to remember how to do the work when they only have a worksheet and no book to look at.  Spouse and I have both answered questions about math problems posted on facebook by friends who are pulling their hair out.  So, like I said, clearly it's not exactly less time, but I think that I equate stress with time somehow, and not feeling rushed or stuck to somebody else's timetable academically makes it less stressful to me, so I'm likely to feel like it takes less time even if that's not strictly true.  And, doing work that you don't want to to feels like it takes longer than work that you do want to do.  I'd a million times rather have a discussion or work through algebra problems with my kid than listen to them read dreck for 10 minutes and help make a poster.  Did you know that there is some reading program out there where kids are sent home with a story that you read to them the first day and then they read it to you, and then they read it to you every day for a week and you note whether they are getting better?  I've done this on my volunteer day with kids from different schools.  I can't imagine having this assigned to me to do all year, and even though it's faster than the Caesar's English that I do with my kids, it feels longer because it's boring.  

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29 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I feel like my rate of "accidentally stuffing things into the dryer that shouldn't be dried" into the dryer is lower if I separate the dryables and the non-dryables. 

I have mesh laundry bags (small, medium, & large sizes, hanging on a hook on the back of the laundry room door). If there's something in the load that I want to NOT toss in the dryer, I wash it in a mesh bag. Easy to see/pull out as I'm transferring stuff to the dryer.

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2 hours ago, Joker2 said:

It’s easy to pull stuff out to hang that can’t be dried so we don’t have issues with stuff shrinking.  My mom always warned us of things bleeding into other clothes but I have honestly never had it actually happen (and my dc go to IU so we’re washing lots of red clothes). We also wash everything on cold and haven’t ever had an issue with things getting clean. Maybe it’s the detergent we use or the types of clothes we buy, but these things have just never been problems with our laundry. 

My brain is convinced that butt germs don’t die unless underwear is washed on super hot.
I don’t care if I’m wrong, but years of cloth diapering demands I continue this way.

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Also, I tend to view the half-full mark on my vehicle's gas indicator as "empty" (& I taught my dc to do the same). Therefore, when I'm getting close to half a tank, I go ahead & refill while I'm out. Keeps me from running out of gas or needing to get some when I have an emergency & don't have time to stop. (Can you tell my life has been filled with too many emergencies in the past few years?)

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

I used preschools liberally as well. 

Preschool must be different in your area because here it is a huge time suck.  Its only a couple of hours long and their is no transportation. I found it to be the biggest rip off of time and money of all kids things.  

 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

I’d love to hear more about 

I do clothes washing,  dishwasher and basic kitchen clean up as and when. Husband does the bathroom basins and toilets, plus more kitchen work. Then every evening after work I spend half an hour on cleaning.  Monday to Thursday are basic hoovering and mopping on rotation. Friday is a deep clean task. That's it. I don't do any other cleaning.

Eta  - I heard Anne Tyler talking about the strict half-hour clean .

Edited by Laura Corin
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4 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Wait, what?

Homeschooling my high schooler is a TON of work. I am sending him to school next year because I don’t have time to plan and facilitate science labs, grade essays, or do some of the hands on teaching to the degree he needs it. 
 

I homeschooled oldest k-12. At his most efficient, he still needed me, directly, 2 hours a day. This kid is far less efficient with my time. 
 

Add in that I have multiple kids—it is far easier to send them to school than to homeschool once they are past 4th grade or so.

That one gave me pause too.  Both of my kids were homeschooled from K on up.  When Dd went to high school in 9th grade it was a HUGE timesaver.  ALL of her activities were in ONE building.  ALL of her teachers were in ONE building.  Her schedule worked out without me having to do calendar gymnastics. I didn't have to drive everywhere, or pay a team of people located across the county to enrich her experiences.  I saved SO MUCH time and money when dd went to school.  Ds still homeschooled through 12th, so I wasn't off the hook.  My youngest graduated at the beginning of the pandemic.  I've been so busy for so long that I just learned that I'm not really cut out to be an at-home wife.  It's so boring without the homeschooling. Homeschooling is a lot of awesome things, but a time saver is NOT one of them.

I don't get the no dresser thing.  I would MUCH rather fold in front of a TV show than put everything on a hanger.  I also don't have that much hanging space.  My dresser is IN my closet, so I'm kind of doing both.

I also don't get how clothes are ruined in combined loads.  Usually I sort, but if I'm behind I will do a load by-the-person.  It's quicker and easier to put away because the basket goes to one room and there are fewer piles on the coffee table while folding.  I see zero difference in the clothes that are separated by fabric type or washed together except when I do a load of bleached whites.  Maybe it's because we're living in jeans, tees, and workout gear lately?  Or maybe it's because my machine washes a load in 30 minutes so they're not in there long enough to rough up the fabric?  We don't have any pilled clothes, but we also aren't really wearing fabric types that pill.

I don't live in the land where a person can't generate a full load of clothes in a week.  I don't understand that one either.  Everyone is their full adult size here and there is no such thing as a small load.

I have learned that your house will be cleaner if you do a cursory job more often.  🤣 I used to put things off because I knew how much time and effort it would take to get it "clean" so I was perpetually behind.  The military really did a number on me.  Later I learned that racing through and cleaning things at top speed more often makes everything better all the time.  At one point I could spend an hour in one corner of one room getting it perfectly clean and my life and home improved drastically when I let that go.  Sometimes I even do that Flylady 10-minutes-in-a-room thing to freshen the whole house and give myself a bit of a boost.

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2 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

For water bottles and thermal cups like tervis, I have a hanging shoe bag on the back of the pantry door. Super efficient. DH thought me a little crazy when I hung it up, but we love it. I was sick of those water bottles falling out of every cabinet. I have also put a limit on how many of those we keep, which has become easier as each kid flew the coop. 

That's a cool idea. I have folding pantry doors. I will have to ruminate on this, though, & see what else might work.  Also, @regentrude, thanks for your comments. Probably I should just see if I can find a bin that will fit in there so at least it would be easy to pull out.

Will also second an earlier suggestion to run the dishwasher at night, unload in the morning, & fill it up throughout the day.

Also, from when my dc were little, I stored cleaning stuff on the top shelf of the pantry & not under the sink. I kept hand towels, extra paper towel rolls, & such under the sink. Nothing that could harm them & it's handy if you have a leak! Lol. It got switched around again at some point when my dc were older, but I need to rethink layout of stuff again. Don't be afraid to rethink stuff. (Though your family may complain at first when you switch it up, lol.)

I store empty food storage containers with the lids on them. That way I never have to look for a lid. (And it helps keep inventory down.) Mostly, mine are glass containers with snap-on lids or Mason jars.

I use cardboard magazine holders sideways on my pantry shelves to hold stuff like boxes of ziplocks, saran wrap, aluminum foil, parchment paper....

I like the Marie Kondo way of storing (my few) folded clothing items. That way, you can see & access what you have easier than from a stack.

I keep things in the bathroom cabinet & drawers, rather than on top of the sink area. Yes, it's a little work to clean out/pare down so stuff fits solely in the drawers/cabinet, but so worth it to have a bare countertop in the bathroom. (It's so easy to wipe.)

I got a battery holder a few years ago & I love it. (I will note that the lid doesn't latch so it may not be good if you have small kids. Also, we just keep ours stored on the top shelf of our coat closet, so we do have to keep it flat when lifting it out/putting it away. So it might not be the holder you want. It works for us.)

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4 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Yep.  I don't fold laundry, I hang almost all of it as soon as it comes out of the drier. (I take empty hangers to the washer and dryer when I take the laundry hampers there.)  Folding is such a waste of time and a bad idea with kids who make a mess rifling through clothes in drawers looking for something specific. Rifling though hung laundry doesn't make a mess as long as the hanger stays on the rod and clothes stay on the hanger.  Buy fuzzy covered hangers so clothes don't slip off with rough handling. 

When they were little it was all hands on deck to help with laundry and we never left the house on laundry day.  When they got to be about 8 they took on their own laundry. When the dryer buzzer goes off, everyone gathers around to put laundry on hangers or roll towels and put it away.

When I still had all my kids at home I didn't buy any clothes that needed ironing or more than one or two kitchen items that needed handwashing in the sink. Life is too busy with kids for that.

Cook Once Eat all Week is a food prep approach.  You can buy the book by that title at Amazon. I prep and cook everything I can the day after I grocery shop.  Most can be done ahead of time and reheated or prepped and stored for cooking the day of.

Another approach is Cook Once, Eat Twice: make a double batch of a dish.  Reserve half of it (1 meal's worth) in the fridge-label it it you need to-for a day later in the week that is your busiest and and put the other half (1 meal's worth) on the table. You can plan 3 double batch dishes a week which will cover 6 days of dinners and that 7th day you can have leftovers or get take out or eat out. That's 4 dinners of the week you don't have to cook-you already did and it's just sitting there, waiting for you to heat it up.

Learn each major appliance's (dishwasher/washing machine) shortest cycle that does the job well. You can do far more in a shorter period of time.  You can also learn to stack jobs efficiently: Take advantage of passive time.  

bring down laundry and empty hangers
sort laundry
start laundry load #1

clean up the kitchen and run the dishwasher load #1

throw out/compost expired veggies in your fridge

move laundry load #1 to dryer
start laundry load #2

finish cleaning out fridge
unload dishwasher load #1
start dishwasher load #2

hang up and put away laundry load #1
move laundry load #2 to dryer
start laundry load #3

make meal plan (because you just finished cleaning out fridge and know what you're out of)
unload dishwasher load #2
hang and put away laundry load #2
move laundry load #3 to dryer

You get the idea. 
 

During the pandemic I've become obsessed with freezer meals.  We went from being a family who ate out a couple times a week to one that might get take-out once a month.  I NEED easy stuff on hand so I don't loose it.  I just discovered the Easy Freezer Meals guy this week.  He has a business that sells freezer meals and a youtube channel where he share the recipes.  I made this tamale casserole this week and it was divine. I halved the recipe and it still made enough for four dinners for us.  I'll probably try his chicken tikka masala next.

4 hours ago, Clemsondana said:

I've made the argument that homeschooling is a more efficient use of time, too...sometimes.  🙂  After a week of taking kids to day camp - the drop off line, the pick up line...I was glad that I didn't have to do that every day for school. 

For us, the local schools are walking distance.  Once my dd went to high school, my time in the car dropped dramatically.  Ds does fewer outside activities than she did so it was a really big change.  I think I saved about a million hours during her first tech week alone.  It was luxurious.  

1 hour ago, Stacia said:

 

Keep my purse emptied out & use a small purse. I hate lugging stuff around & try to keep it minimal.

 

Use the library as much as I can, rather than owning thousands of books. Also, make use of the "holds" & "suspend holds" system to manage how many books I get at a time.

 

I just cleaned out my purse today after not doing it for a year.  I found NINE pens.  Just yesterday I was wondering why I couldn't find a pen. 😄

My sister stores them in behind-the-door shoe bags for her large family.  I've just pared down to two-per-person because we cannot keep ALL of the water bottles that find their way into this house.  In fact, I've mostly switched to using dishwasher-safe travel mugs because they're easier to clean.  I use the wide silicone straws in them.

1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

My brain is convinced that butt germs don’t die unless underwear is washed on super hot.
I don’t care if I’m wrong, but years of cloth diapering demands I continue this way.

Years ago on this board someone said they washed their socks in a separate load because of "foot flakes."  This is still hysterical to me and I sometimes think of it as I carelessly mix the socks with everything else.  

 

 

Ooooh, here's a tip I stole from a friend's mother.  I label my leftovers with masking tape and a sharpie.  It turns out that my husband will eat the leftovers if he doesn't have to open twelve containers to find them.  

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38 minutes ago, Stacia said:

That's a cool idea. I have folding pantry doors. I will have to ruminate on this, though, & see what else might work.  Also, @regentrude, thanks for your comments. Probably I should just see if I can find a bin that will fit in there so at least it would be easy to pull out.

 

I also have a shoe organizer over my pantry door. Do you have the back of a laundry room door free? Is it close-ish to the kitchen? You could use that. I used to store all of ours in a bin and I got so frustrated with it. Switched to the shoe organizer about 7 years ago and it's been perfect!

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17 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Years ago on this board someone said they washed their socks in a separate load because of "foot flakes."  This is still hysterical to me and I sometimes think of it as I carelessly mix the socks with everything else. 

Ooooh, here's a tip I stole from a friend's mother.  I label my leftovers with masking tape and a sharpie.  It turns out that my husband will eat the leftovers if he doesn't have to open twelve containers to find them.  

Foot flakes. 😂

Instead of labeling leftovers like that, I use chalk pens. Love them for labeling jars/containers. Stuff washes right off & no potential for sticky goo to mess with.

16 minutes ago, importswim said:

I also have a shoe organizer over my pantry door. Do you have the back of a laundry room door free? Is it close-ish to the kitchen? You could use that. I used to store all of ours in a bin and I got so frustrated with it. Switched to the shoe organizer about 7 years ago and it's been perfect!

Laundry room won't work because it's also where a litter box is. So, part of my layout/routine is keeping stuff in cabinets & such because of pet hair, etc....

I fell down the steps years ago, hit the pantry doors hard, & one swung out easily for awhile until it got fixed. Guess I could make it work that way. 😉 Lol.

Another random tip: ban glitter.

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22 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I just cleaned out my purse today after not doing it for a year.  I found NINE pens.  Just yesterday I was wondering why I couldn't find a pen. 😄

My sister stores them in behind-the-door shoe bags for her large family.  I've just pared down to two-per-person because we cannot keep ALL of the water bottles that find their way into this house.  In fact, I've mostly switched to using dishwasher-safe travel mugs because they're easier to clean.  I use the wide silicone straws in them. 

Dd's friend doesn't carry a purse. She says she only carries her id, a little cash, her keys, & her phone. Pockets work. If she needs a pen, in her words, "there's always someone nearby with a pen". You are that person, I guess. Lol.

Even for the supposed non-dishwasher-safe bottles (insulated metal), I put them in the dishwasher. They seem to still do fine.

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32 minutes ago, importswim said:

I also have a shoe organizer over my pantry door. Do you have the back of a laundry room door free? Is it close-ish to the kitchen? You could use that. I used to store all of ours in a bin and I got so frustrated with it. Switched to the shoe organizer about 7 years ago and it's been perfect!

I use this for all of our gloves/hats/mittens/neck gaiters/covid masks, etc.  It's great! 

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Posted (edited)

Here's my streamlining tip (that I learned from a friend at church):

I make a custom grocery list on Excel with the items we buy the most. There's room to add in "other" items. There's room at the bottom to plan dinners for the week (I then add needed ingredients to the list) and there is a column on the side for Trader Joe's and another grocery store I sometimes go to. I make ~52 copies and get them glued into a tear-off pad once a year. Then during the week I can check off things that I notice we're running low on. The list also helps me remember what to check before I head out to the store (how many yogurts does dh still have? Are we out of apples? 2 cartons of eggs or 3?) Then tear off the list when I head to the store--the list is in the order I will encounter things at the store I go to most. Meals are kind of haphazard these days, but a few years back I would also use the list during the week to remember what I planned for dinner.

 

IMG_9528.JPG

Edited by Ali in OR
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