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Streamlining: New and Better Ways of Doing Things


stripe
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I have found it is much easier to work with streamlined pantry ingredients--flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, milk, salt, and a few other items and I can make pasta, cupcakes, bread, pancakes, pudding, and a wide array of other foods with a few simple recipes.  Having a yellow cake mix, chocolate cake mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, peanut butter cookie mix, sugar cookie mix, banana bread mix, bran muffin mix, pancake mix, biscuit mix, brownie mix, etc., etc., etc. on hand for whenever we might need it is actually much more complicated and time consuming.

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2 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

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.  

I label too for both freezer and fridge, and I flip non-liquid leftovers in tupperware upside down because the lids aren't as see through as the bottoms. The more obvious it is what's in there, the more likely it is to be eaten.

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3 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

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.

I’m going to have to check him out, thanks!
I just rolled over 200 swedish meatballs last week.  I hate that job.  But I did it once, and now I can eat them anytime I want without having to go through all that!!!
Same for chicken parm, which I have to do this week.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

I’m going to have to check him out, thanks!
I just rolled over 200 swedish meatballs last week.  I hate that job.  But I did it once, and now I can eat them anytime I want without having to go through all that!!!
Same for chicken parm, which I have to do this week.

That's a LOT of meatballs.  You're going to be so glad you have a stash.  I'm going to try this meatball recipe next.  If we love them, I'll make a bunch.  She uses ricotta to moisten the breadcrumbs and I am very curious.  Also, her baked ziti was phenomenal so I might trust her now.  

I've never frozen chicken parm.  How does it turn out?

Edited by KungFuPanda
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1 hour ago, Bootsie said:

I have found it is much easier to work with streamlined pantry ingredients--flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, milk, salt, and a few other items and I can make pasta, cupcakes, bread, pancakes, pudding, and a wide array of other foods with a few simple recipes. 

This reminds me of a tip a friend had when our dc were young. Hers were very into pancakes at one point, wanted them every morning.

So, she mixed up enough for the whole week, then put the batter in a squeeze bottle. Then, she would just shake the bottle, squeeze the batter out, & quickly cook pancakes.

I thought that was a brilliant idea!

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4 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I've never frozen chicken parm.  How does it turn out?

Since I’m not a real Italian and use jarred sauce, lol, I just do the cutlets ahead.  Browned, not cooked through, and then “flash frozen”. After defrosting, I just dump sauce from the jar and cheese from the freezer and cook through. (Maybe more spices if I only have plain sauces in the pantry. The kids grab randomly.)

Prepping it with sauce and cheese was fine, too, but it’s easier to adjust meal sizes on the fly if I freeze them plain.

 

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On 5/31/2021 at 4:22 PM, alisoncooks said:

I think there must be a critical age in which one trains offspring to accept meals of sandwiches. No one told me this, and I think I missed it. 

They quite like expensive sandwiches not of my making (Jersey Mikes, cheesesteaks, etc) but they won't touch a PB&J, not even the fancy ones in the freezer section. 😉

For me, the key is that I don’t make a hot meal and they have to fend for themselves. Sandwiches start looking really good when you are cooking for yourself. 

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15 hours ago, regentrude said:

Sigh... I wouldn't mind some T shirts to stop lasting. I wash shirts and jeans together and still have 15 y/o cheap K-mart T-shirts that still keep shape.

I find the culprit in deteriorating clothes is the *dryer* ( all that lint is fibers from your clothes). I line dry and clothes last forever.

This is my experience as well. Our clothes last far longer than they should. I wash everything together, and we line dry everything. 

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9 hours ago, Joker2 said:

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. 

 

Part of the streamlining at my house is that the kids do their own laundry and they don’t sort it. I do not buy clothing that takes special care for them, and don’t buy whites.  If DD wants clothing that needs special care, she’s free to buy it for herself now that she’s old enough to take care of it. I buy very few things that need special care for myself. I do save up whites to run as a separate load occasionally. My husband’s dirty work jeans get their own load. Otherwise it’s a free for all.

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We have a shared family shopping list on Google Keep Notes. Everyone is responsible for putting things on it that run out or that they need. The shopper simply says, 'I'm shopping tomorrow  - last orders on the list please.'

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7 hours ago, Stacia said:

This reminds me of a tip a friend had when our dc were young. Hers were very into pancakes at one point, wanted them every morning.

 

When dd was eating a lot of pancakes, we would just make a bunch and freeze them.  She could reheat them easily.  

 

8 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I label too for both freezer and fridge, and I flip non-liquid leftovers in tupperware upside down because the lids aren't as see through as the bottoms. The more obvious it is what's in there, the more likely it is to be eaten.

I label everything and keep a good inventory of what we have so I make sure it gets used.  I like to cook in bulk and freeze meals for later.  It's not really any more work for me to cook larger amounts and it's so nice having meals all ready to go later with no prep and clean up.  

 

 

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16 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

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? 

I wash everything together. No sorting ever. Sorting makes me crabby because it feels inefficient to sort. With five sports active kids, we run laundry every day. Not only do I run small loads to keep the laundry moving , but I also use a color catcher in all loads, just in case something decides to bleed. 
 

Hang drying everything is inefficient, but it’s dh’s preference and I do get extra steps in While hanging. I do think our clothes last longer by hang drying. 

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Posted (edited)

A few weeks ago, I discovered that sheet pan pancakes were a thing. Someone posted Pioneer Woman's recipe. Since I have a recipe I like, and since I usually triple it, I bought a bigger pan to make sure they wouldn't overflow it, and have now made pancakes twice in it. Then I cut them in rectangles and freeze them. They might not have the same aesthetic as the cute round ones, but they are quicker and easier to make, and they taste the same. (Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes depending on the extras you put in--you can do the knife comes out clean test.) And since they are thicker, it does work best if you wait and put the fruit, choc. chips, etc., on the top and let them sink in, rather than mixing them in the batter.

ETA: Butter the pan before putting in the batter, and after baking, pour melted butter over the top.

Edited by Jaybee
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18 hours ago, Stacia said:

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.

This is what I do.    My kids do their own laundry (they wait long enough that they have full loads) most of the time, at least the stuff that's in their bedroom hampers.   I do the bathroom hamper and all underwear and socks.    One load "delicate" - cold water and includes the items that can't go in the dryer like bras and dd's period underwear, and my hang-up clothes (which do go in the dyer), one or two loads regular clothes - dh's work clothes, sturdier clothes, darks, and one or two loads hot water whites and towels.    We don't have much space so very few hang-to-dry items, basically just the bras and period underwear.

I don't cook but I do need to find some better methods for cleaning.  We have a very small house with no storage so it's always a challenge.

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Also for streamlining -- this sounds counterproductive, but since my main helpers are pretty young still, and we have two refrigerators (plus a minifridge in our room for some things), two freezer parts in the refrigerator, a chest freezer, pantry space, and backup pantry space, it can be confusing -- I have the kids unload the bags from the car (after pickup, mostly -- no delivery here), and then I put the stuff away myself.  That way I can make sure I rotate the dairy products, put meat in the correct freezer and veggies in the correct one, keep all the extra condiments and crackers and such together.  It's worth it to me to take that extra time to save the hassle later when I can't find the extra cream or something.  I do sometimes give a kid a specific item to put in a specific freezer, but most of it, I just do myself.  They can develop their own organizational tactics when they have their own kitchens.

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On 6/1/2021 at 8:46 AM, Spryte said:

Another streamlining thing here, that I didn’t list above, is cleaning help.

YES! I am not ashamed to admit it. 

In terms of streamlining cooking, I make a lot of fresh food and cook them. I streamline this process via Alice Water's method. I keep a stocked pantry (favorite seasonings, carb staples (rice, pasta, etc.), other necessities(butter, flour, corn starch...)). Then I just learn techniques instead of recipes for my food.  Like I learn the technique to make asian brown sauce to which I can add a little bit more sugar or honey and orange to make orange sauce. A basic balsalmic, oil, emulsifier to make any kind of salad dressing just add one fun ingredient like strawberry. I learn to make a rue which lets me make cream of anything - just add "anything" into the mix.

Making sandwiches for a family is hard.  Throwing a bunch of stuff in a wok/cast iron/enameled cast iron/pyrex/sheet pan with oil and seasoning is where I'm at. 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Clarita said:

Making sandwiches for a family is hard.  

Sandwich dinners in our family (and my family of origin, and common in my home country) aren't one person making sandwiches for the whole family. Table is set with bread, various cheeses and charcuterie, raw veggies, perhaps boiled eggs. Every person fixes their own (except very little kids who need help).  It's much less work than cooking, and only 5 minutes for setting the table, so you eat instantly.

Edited by regentrude
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7 minutes ago, Clarita said:

In terms of streamlining cooking, I make a lot of fresh food and cook them. I streamline this process via Alice Water's method. I keep a stocked pantry (favorite seasonings, carb staples (rice, pasta, etc.), other necessities(butter, flour, corn starch...)). Then I just learn techniques instead of recipes for my food. 

Absolutely. I find it easiest to simply shop what's on sale and what looks good and keep a stocked fridge with fresh veggies and some meat/fish/eggs. Then I cook from the ingredients I have on hand, whatever strikes my fancy that day and what fits my mood and the weather. We have sudden temperature swings where I live, and whether it's a soup day or a salad day can change with little notice. I too don't do recipes, but cook free style from whatever I have.

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On 5/31/2021 at 11:49 PM, stripe said:

@regentrude seems to have brilliant ideas that challenge typical ways many Americans, at least, conduct their lives, to make a simple, more streamlined system for herself and her family. She has suggested cold dinners of sandwiches and storing all clothes in the closet, without a dresser.

I think there are more ideas out there that we can benefit from, of how to make life more streamlined, but they just may not occur to us.

I’d love to discuss them here! 

For a non American what is the difference between a closet and a dresser?  Is one hanging and one drawers?

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Posted (edited)

To streamline food shopping, I use the Notes app on my phone, which lets you create lists with checkable boxes. So I have a permanent grocery list of everything I normally buy, and I can easily add the occasional one-off items. I just check any item on the list that I need that week, as I think of it, and then uncheck the box as soon as I put the item in my cart. That basically resets the list and anything that was out of stock or whatever stays checked for the next shopping trip.

Written lists were always hit or miss for me; I'd think of something I needed, tell myself to put it on the list, and then totally forget about it when I was back in the kitchen with the list, or I'd get to the store and realize I left the list at home. With a permanent grocery list in the Notes app, it takes a nanosecond to check a needed item whenever and wherever it occurs to me, and I always have my phone with me at the store.

I think the key to streamlining everything about clothing (buying, matching, washing, etc.) is to have a limited color palette and stick to it. That way everything matches everything else, anything new you buy automatically goes with the rest of your wardrobe, and you can wash everything (or almost everything) together. It also minimizes the number of items you need to own, because you're not needing to buy a whole new outfit because that cute pink flowered top you just bought doesn't go with anything else you own.

My kids have been doing their own laundry since 8 (DD) and 11 (DS). They've always just thrown everything together, no sorting, and generally wash in cool water, except for sheets & towels which use hot. For all three of us, most clothes are either black/gray or blues and greens, so it's not an issue if something bleeds. If someone has a white shirt or hoodie, that can just go in with the sheets & towels. 

(ETA: DS has a lot of team-issued red shirts now that he's in college, but most are synthetic/performance fabrics that don't bleed, and he knows to wash any new red cotton shirts with jeans and other dark colors so it won't matter if they bleed. Plus he has Color Catchers for emergencies if he needs to wash a red team shirt with his white uniform.)

 

Edited by Corraleno
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59 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

For a non American what is the difference between a closet and a dresser?  Is one hanging and one drawers?

Yes. A closet is built into the room with doors and clothes are hung within. A dresser is a separate piece of furniture with drawers.

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Just now, Harriet Vane said:

Yes. A closet is built into the room with doors and clothes are hung within. A dresser is a separate piece of furniture with drawers.

We have what I could a closet or wardrobe which has a mix of hanging and shelves.  Some wardrobes also have drawers although mine don’t.  None of us own dressers.

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On 6/2/2021 at 2:55 AM, 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 haven’t done the school thing.  I think there are maybe some aspects where homeschooling eliminates mental stress like dealing with problem teachers and figuring out care for sick kids if you’re working etc.  but I’m pretty sure it’s still more work than public school.

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We water the plants with whatever is left in any drink bottles on the way in.  
 

I take food and water out to the paddocks even if I don’t know if the chooks are out because it beats walking back for it.  If we’re moving chooks we do it at night or pen them up at night because chasing them is not fun. 
 

otherwise I’m not doing great on the streamlining right now.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/1/2021 at 7:25 AM, marbel said:

t still makes sense to me when they are home to have everyone use the hampers in the laundry room. I have a hamper labeled 'special' which includes things I don't want washed by anyone other my daughter or myself - more delicate things that don't go in the dryer (such as bras and some sweaters). When a hamper is full, or when something is needed, anyone can start a load. 

When we stopped using individual hampers in bedrooms and bought stackable recycling bins for dirty clothes, it was life changing. Bin is full, it's a full load ready to run. Even the younger kids know which bin to put their clothes in and no more gathering/sorting dirty laundry. I have my own "bin" (tall, narrow trash can w/lid) so no one runs my laundry but me. Everything else has its own bin/trash can: lights, brights, darks, jeans, whites, napkins/washcloths, rags (we hand wash floors), towels.

Definitely can't let everyone do their own laundry in this household. We run 6-8 full loads/day as it is! 🙂

 

Edited by BakersDozen
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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

We have what I could a closet or wardrobe which has a mix of hanging and shelves.  Some wardrobes also have drawers although mine don’t.  None of us 

 

2 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

For a non American what is the difference between a closet and a dresser?  Is one hanging and one drawers?

A closet is a small room built into the bedroom and usually has rods and/or hooks for hanging plus at least one shelf. Some have many more shelves and even drawers. A dresser is usually a free standing piece of furniture with drawers. While not super common here, I think a wardrobe would usually refer to a free standing piece of furniture with a rod for hanging clothes and shelves and/or drawers.

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, regentrude said:

Absolutely. I find it easiest to simply shop what's on sale and what looks good and keep a stocked fridge with fresh veggies and some meat/fish/eggs. Then I cook from the ingredients I have on hand, whatever strikes my fancy that day and what fits my mood and the weather. We have sudden temperature swings where I live, and whether it's a soup day or a salad day can change with little notice. I too don't do recipes, but cook free style from whatever I have.

Yes. That's roughly how I cook although I do sometimes take inspiration from recipes. Yesterday the veggies that were delivered from the organic farm included carrot and courgette.  I searched my favourite cookbooks and found a Malaysian noodle laksa.  I had all the other ingredients to hand. It was delicious. 

Edited by Laura Corin
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Posted (edited)

Meal plan. I plan 6 meals weekly: chicken, pork, beef, Asian, Mexican, Pizza. Sunday is potluck.

No dressers. Clothes in closets. Shirts and pants hung up. I don't fold anything really but towels, I think. Washcloths get thrown in a basket in the linen closet. I don't fold underwear either.

All of my guys wear the same size socks now. I buy a boatload of Costco socks, one winter and one summer kind, wash, dry, put them in a large laundry basket on top the dryer for people to grab when needed.

Edit: I do not have laundry days but mostly each day wash all of the laundry from the day before. Exception is delicates. I wait til there's a load to do.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by IfIOnly
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Grocery and to do items are written on sticky notes which I take with me when I leave the house. The sticky note goes on the vehicle steering wheel so I can see it, and then I transfer it to stick on my phone when I’m in a store. I need it in front of my face at all times or else I forget. 

My main clothing color is black so everything is mix & match. 

I prefer to have an open container + one extra in the kitchen. That way I don’t run out.

My teens are added to my credit card as authorized users when they start driving at 16yo. That way they can run errands and help in other ways without worrying about transfer money between us.  

i definitely use my teens to run errands, shop online, etc. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

We have what I could a closet or wardrobe which has a mix of hanging and shelves.  Some wardrobes also have drawers although mine don’t.  None of us own dressers.

Yes, my in laws use this too. They don’t use dressers or have closets. A closet is basically a hole in the wall to create a mini room, often with folding or sliding doors. It’s traditional to have a rod in there to hang things on, but anything more elaborate is “modern” and $$$. Some of them have shelves or even drawers, in an effort to combine various types of storage, but the default closet is nothing like this. Dressers or chests of drawers (most people don’t differentiate between them) are freestanding furniture items with drawers. They can technically be put anywhere, even outside the bedroom. Some people put them inside a closet as well. So the difference here is hanging up / in its own little room, versus storing (usually folded) in some piece of furniture that takes up floor space. Thanks for asking!

Edited by stripe
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1 hour ago, stripe said:

Yes, my in laws use this too. They don’t use dressers or have closets. A closet is basically a hole in the wall to create a mini room, often with folding or sliding doors. It’s traditional to have a rod in there to hang things on, but anything more elaborate is “modern” and $$$. Some of them have shelves or even drawers, in an effort to combine various types of storage, but the default closet is nothing like this. Dressers or chests of drawers (most people don’t differentiate between them) are freestanding furniture items with drawers. They can technically be put anywhere, even outside the bedroom. Some people put them inside a closet as well. So the difference here is hanging up / in its own little room, versus storing (usually folded) in some piece of furniture that takes up floor space. Thanks for asking!

So here we might have a thing called a walk in wardrobe which sounds similar.  I’m familiar with the term closet obviously but it maybe has a slightly different shade of meaning here or something.

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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

So here we might have a thing called a walk in wardrobe which sounds similar.  I’m familiar with the term closet obviously but it maybe has a slightly different shade of meaning here or something.

I think older closets are pretty small and don’t usually fit a person, so a “walk in closet” is the term for those; sounds the same as a walk in wardrobe.

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Every bill that we can is placed on autopay, charged to our credit card, and then the credit card is set for autopay out of our checking account.  We opted out of paper statements.  Our credit card information can be pulled electronically into Excel and sorted in whatever way we would like.  

Compared to when we would get a separate bill for water, electricity, car payment, doctors bill, etc. in the mail, have to write a check, address an envelope, stamp the envelope, put it in the mail box, balance the checkbook with 20-something outstanding checks, go back through a stack of receipts to figure out business expenses---this is very streamlined.

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On 6/1/2021 at 5:42 PM, Stacia said:

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.

I got a pop socket wallet to go on the back of my phone and now I just have to make sure I have that and my keys and I'm good to go. It's made things much easier for me.

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On 6/1/2021 at 3:31 AM, Laura Corin said:

Getting a 30-minute-a-day cleaning routine has made a big difference to me.  I didn't get to it until after the children were grown though.

What is in your routine?  I am looking for something like this.

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1 minute ago, Scarlett said:

What is in your routine?  I am looking for something like this.

It's not very strict. Something like - Monday mopping, Tuesday hard floor vacuum, Wednesday carpet vacuum, Thursday clean the shower, maybe do the dusting, other things. Friday pick one area to deep clean. One day usually gets dropped each week due to appointments but it just gets picked up the next week.

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I had a friend who traveled extensively with four young children.  They would travel with a pair of khaki pants, blue pants, and black pants for each family member.  Each person would have a red shirt, purple shirt, and blue shirt.  They would cycle through the clothing with everyone wearing the same color on a day--it meant that everyone's laundry could be thrown in together at the end of the day without concerns of color bleeding.  It also meant that when they were out and about and a child started wandering they immediately knew what color shirt to look for.  There was no need to remember that Molly had a blue shirt on but Cindy wore a yellow shirt that day.  

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Took my kids to dollar tree and let them pick out their own special drinking glass. Poof. No more 25 dirty cups at the end of the day. Except my dh ignores this and uses a new clean glass because he can’t remember which cup is his. (Hint—the only one that’s not one of the kids special glasses, because I only use a water bottle) he’s remarkably brilliant in so many areas but in others he can be terribly deficient. 
 

but overall despite my dh it’s a win.

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Posted (edited)

Like others, as many bills as possible are on autopay. For those that aren’t, I schedule payment from my bank the same day as the bill is received, including larger bills like insurance or property taxes. 

paperwork that comes home from school is immediately taken care of and sent back the next day. Any future deadlines are entered into our electronic Google calendar.  

we use a family Google calendar with different colors for each member of the family. I have an automatic email sent to me every morning that provides a summary of everything on that day’s calendar. 

if I want to remember something when I’m out & about, I email my personal and work email so I know I will see it later. 

we have a family group text so the kids all get the same information at the same time. 

my oldest four have cell phones with unlimited data. I can contact them at any time. We send a lot of pictures to aid in communication - which body gell, shirt, etc to buy  

my drivers each have reliable vehicles so we aren’t driving them around or dealing with vehicle issues. Those drivers drive their sibs and run errands. We all also have AAA to call with a flat tire, accident, etc. 

Edited by 2squared
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The best one....we bought our house a few blocks from the local public and parochial schools so my kids can get themselves to school and extracurriculars on their own. They are limited to extracurriculars offered at the school, with the exception of camps, out of town competitions, etc. 

This is actually a huge simplification with five kids in an 8 year span, and we are still extremely active and competitive in our extracurriculars. 

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1 hour ago, Laura Corin said:

It's not very strict. Something like - Monday mopping, Tuesday hard floor vacuum, Wednesday carpet vacuum, Thursday clean the shower, maybe do the dusting, other things. Friday pick one area to deep clean. One day usually gets dropped each week due to appointments but it just gets picked up the next week.

You inspired me.  🙂 I came home and swept and mopped all the hard flooring.  Well except ds’s bedroom.  Night before last I cleaned our bathroom and washed our rugs... last night I washed 4 loads of laundry... trying to figure out how to best do it to not have to clean for 8 hours every sat.  

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I only pay bills once a month.   I Don’t do autopay (except for Netflix, Apple Music, tolls, ancestry subscription, weight watchers subscription) because I just can’t let go of the control yet.....but paying once a month is very simplified.  

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2 hours ago, 2squared said:

The best one....we bought our house a few blocks from the local public and parochial schools so my kids can get themselves to school and extracurriculars on their own. They are limited to extracurriculars offered at the school, with the exception of camps, out of town competitions, etc. 

This is actually a huge simplification with five kids in an 8 year span, and we are still extremely active and competitive in our extracurriculars. 

We also bought a home close to the schools.  The high school is less than 1/4 mile away and you pass the elementary and middle school on the way there. We ended up only using the high school, but it was so awesome that Dd could just walk to and from school while ds was out on some homeschooling adventure.  Also, in a school system that redistricts often, they don't redistrict the walkers.

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I don't like autopay for bills. Instead, I put all our regular bills as bright red notifications on my phone calendar. When I go to do the banking I can just glance at my calendar and see if there's any bills due. I also do a budget which covers all bills broken down into weekly amounts and put that amount aside into it's own bank account each week on payday.

For groceries, we also use Keep and dh does the shopping, usually on his way home from work.

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I haven’t read all of the responses, so I don’t know if this has already been mentioned. It’s not a new idea, but it’s helped me a lot. When I fold towels, I stand in the closet and put them directly on the shelves. It saves a step and they are actually where they belong. 
 

Since I moved early last year, I’ve been nearly relentless when deciding what to keep and what to toss as far as mail goes. I also don’t bring a lot of stuff into the house. Frequent trips to goodwill occur and I get rid of things like ripped clothing quickly. Again though, I don’t think this is really a new way of doing things, it’s just what has improved our quality of life somewhat. 

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I've enjoyed reading everyone's ideas!

Here are some of mine:

1. Group house cleaning -- I set a time for 15 minutes; everyone does a chore for that amount of time and then earns a piece of chocolate (fun size mounds, or whatever).  If the house is particularly dirty (and/or if the kids are feeling particularly helpful) we will do a second round and they will earn two additional pieces of chocolate.  

2. The kids eat of off sectioned cafeteria tray/plates.  I bought them at a yard sale for $1 each 10 years ago.  There were 6 of them and I have 6 kids.  It worked out perfectly -- especially for my kids who don't like their food to touch on the plate.  It also saves on the number of dishes to wash.

3.  Grocery. Pickup.  -- I started doing this a year or so before the pandemic.  It saves me at least 3 hours a week.  Also, grocery shopping is painful for me (I have RA), so grocery pickup has also helped to reduce my pain.

4.  I make weekly to-do lists instead of daily lists.  Because of chronic pain issues, there are some days in which pretty much nothing gets accomplished.  By making the list weekly, it helps me to get things done on the days that I feel better.

5.  Freezer Meals (sort of) -- I like the idea of once a month cooking, but it's too exhausting for me.  What I started doing instead is preparing extra of whatever main dish I'm cooking.  So while I am cutting up chicken, I will cut enough for two or three meals.  I will put the extra in freezer bags with a marinade to use some other day when life is crazy.

 

 

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I keep some common documents taped inside my kitchen cabinet doors. For instance, I have a few recipes that I use constantly. I don't have to get the cookbook out and I don't need to use my phone, just open the door to the baking supply cupboard and it is there!

A simple muffin recipe that I adapt to various flavors.

A simple substitution list (ie use acid/baking soda to replace baking powder)

Gravy/roux ratios 

Meat temp cooking chart 

etc.

 

I keep extra kitchen items in the garage for big family dinners. (We sometimes host 20+) The extra items are in totes and stored away so they are not in my way every day. I don't need 6 serving spoons in my kitchen drawer, but I do need them on the holiday! 

I added extra shelves to my pantry, so my baking dishes each have thier own spot on a shelf. They are not stacked inside one another this way and are super easy to find/put away. 

All my towels are white. So I don't have to sort them to different bathrooms. I just put as stack in each. Kids love to use beach towels for the bath, so they get double duty. 

I used to buy the kids/xdh 12 pair of identical socks. (and a couple pair of dress socks). If one gets a hole, it gets tossed. Once they get down to 7 pair, I toss them all and buy new ones. I do not sort socks for the boys.  DD liked to mix/match her Kbell socks. so she was responsible to manage those herself. 

We hang everything except unders, socks and pjs. I hang the kids extra blankets, sheets, outdoor wear  too. We don't use dressers but instead use open baskets placed on closet shelves for those items. My kids do start doing thier laundry when they are young, because it is an easy task for them to do independently. They each did two loads. One for heavy items like jeans and flannels. And another load of lighter fabrics like tshirts. My kids are tall and have been in adult sizes since middle school. They never have an issue washing too small of loads. 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/1/2021 at 11:18 PM, Pawz4me said:

Ditto. Everyone-does-their-own-laundry has never made any sense to me as a time saving or energy saving thing. It just doesn't compute. To me it makes about as much sense as having each person run the dishwasher (or fill the sink) to wash just their own plate and utensils after a family meal. The only way I can figure out that it makes any sense is for families where everyone has a ton of clothes. We prefer to keep our clothing to a minimum, and we prefer to make sure what we have lasts because all but one of us hates to shop (and that one isn't me!). And I'll never be convinced that washing t-shirts or sheets with heavier items like jeans is a good way to make things last.

Always seemed silly to me. I own 3 pairs of trousers and 5 tops so even all my clothes don"t make a load.  Ds14 does most of the washing but I do some and most of the folding.  He makes most of the washing.  I load the dishwasher at night and ds12 empties it before school each day.  The rest we muddle through as best we can.

I wish we had somewhere we could store clothes together but my washing machine and dryer is squished between the shower and the vanity, the linen is in a cupboard in thickened of the lounge and the towels in the bathroom.  Clothes have to go in bedrooms.

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I’ve shared this before but, since it’s Monday, I’ll share it again, lol.

Monday is my garbage day.  It makes the most sense to me to empty out any old leftovers or other icky fridge things on Mondays so they go straight to the curb instead of adding to trash can stink or wildlife interference. And then a nearly-empty fridge is easiest to clean.
It also makes the most sense to buy groceries on Monday, after any ickies are gone and the fridge is cleaned. Fresh start for fresh food!  By the next Monday morning, we’ve eaten the majority of food and, again, disposed of any odds and ends that have to go, making room for another fresh start.

No mixing new food with things that might be heading south, and no working around tons of contents to clean up crumbs or spills.  And it also rarely leaves things hanging around too long because they got mixed around and overlooked.

I will add that a bear streamlined things for me this weekend.  They got into my can, despite my ammonia deterrent, and took a whole bag to who knows where. Normally, they’ll tear one open and have a picnic nearby for me to clean up after.  It’s rare that they take the whole thing and leave no mess.

I’m sure they did leave a mess somewhere, but nowhere I can see. It’s either deep in the woods where no one will notice, or some neighbor somewhere else has to deal with it.  Don’t feel too bad; that’s the unofficial neighborhood code. I do my fair share of cleaning up stranger garbage that makes it to my property.  But it wasn’t my job *this weekend!

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