8 Time-Saving Tips for Moms: How To Save An Hour A Day

Whether a working mom, stay-at-home-mom, or somewhere in-between, for most moms there never seems to be enough time in the day. Run into any mom on the street and ask how they are doing. More often than not, the answer is a definite “busy!”

Yes, as moms we are all busy. Taking care of other living, breathing little people is a giant (and important) task. Not to mention ALL of the other jobs that being a mom entails – cook, chauffeur, cleaner, money manager, organizer, and the list goes on. In fact, did you know that it would cost over $100,000/year to replace you?

You may have heard it said that time is money. Well infact, time actually isn’t money, time is much more valuable than money. Because our time is limited. More money can always be made, but more time cannot. 

As a working mom of three (almost four!) children under six, I have found that every little time-saving thing I can do helps. In fact, I have put together a list of some of my most helpful time-saving tips. These ideas probably save about an hour per day, maybe more! This adds up to 365 hours a year, folks! I know, my math skills are pretty incredible. Add math tutor to the list. 🙂

1. Set your coffee-maker to auto-brew. Okay, let’s be honest – this really doesn’t save as much time as my other tips, but I’m listing this tip first because wow! Setting our coffee-maker to auto-brew at night just sets my day straight! Having my coffee ready the moment I wake-up not only leaves a little extra quiet time in the morning before the kids wake-up (hopefully), but it gets me started at full-speed as soon as possible. 😉  I can grab my coffee, some reading material, and hopefully start my day with a few extra minutes to myself. What a difference this makes when I do it. Try it!

8 Time-Saving Tips for Moms: How To Save An Hour A Day | Twin Cities Moms Blog

2. Bathrooms. No one likes cleaning bathrooms, but a few things I have learned make this a cinch. First, keep all of your cleaning supplies under each bathroom cabinet. I have a small plastic tub that holds glass-cleaner, paper towels, toilet-bowl-cleaner and disinfectant wipes in each bathroom. I also make sure to stock the bottom of each garbage can with lots of extra garbage bags. That way I won’t have to run around the house each time I need to empty a garbage.

Also, here’s a life-changing bonus tip for you: only buy children’s toothpaste that’s white. No pink bubble-gum or green sour-apple flavors. I know this isn’t very fun, but honestly, it keeps the bathroom sink at least looking clean! There is nothing worse than bright pink toothpaste all over the bathroom sink. I learned this the hard way!

3. Cooking. Do you meal-plan? It can be a struggle for me, because I have a hard time deciding what I might want to eat five days from now, but meal-planning really saves SO much time (and money)! I highly recommend signing-up for Steph’s Menu! She sends out weekly emails with nutritious, yummy meal ideas as well as a shopping list. At only $5/month, this is a deal! Then there is no last-minute running to the store, or the what-are-we-going-to-have-for-dinner stress. I keep a small weekly dry-erase weekly calendar on our fridge and include dinner plans for each night, among other things.

8 Time-Saving Tips for Moms: How To Save An Hour A Day | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Another tip that has helped save loads of time at mealtime is: use paper plates. Because I prefer plain white dinner plates, I buy Target’s Up-and-Up plain white, heavy duty dinner plates. I seriously stock-up on these and use them for most meals. This saves so much time loading and unloading the dishwasher. When we host guests or have parties, I LOVE Chinet’s square white dinner plates.

Bonus tip: last year, I found myself spending so much time at each meal filling up glasses of water. With three children and 2-3 meals/day at home, this was a LOT of filling, emptying, and washing glasses. So now we keep Sigg refillable water bottles for each child in the our fridge at all times. When it’s time for dinner, I have the kids set the table and get out their own water bottles. I know, I’m practically a slave-driver. But this saves lots of time and effort! 😉

When I cook a freezeable meal, I like to make two at once and freeze one for a rainy day. It is really no extra work, and is such a great feeling to know that dinner for another night is already prepared in the freezer! So next time you make a big pot of chili, make two pots and freeze one (gallon freezer plastic bags work great for this). I also like to marinate and grill about 4 pounds of chicken breasts at a time. Then I will thinly slice the cooked chicken and add it all to a freezer bag. Then it’s ready to go for soups, salads, and sandwiches at a moment’s notice.

4. Laundry. Doing the laundry is one of my least favorite household tasks. It’s not the washing that’s the problem, it’s the putting it all away! I have a dear friend that has “laundry day” two specific days a week. Every Monday and Friday, she does ALL of her laundry – including putting it ALL away. How nice is that, to have it all DONE in one day, instead of leaving it out in clothes-baskets for days and days (like I tend to do).

Another bonus tip: keep an extra, complete set of sheets for every bed in the bedroom. That way, if the sheets need to be changed, you don’t have to wait for them to be clean before re-making the bed. This is a favorite new tip of mine, totally worth spending the money on an extra set of sheets! Do this for your guest bed too…you will thank me!

5. Go Shopping…Online. How could I possibly write a time-saving post without including online shopping? Just yesterday, I went to the Mall of America with two of my children to run some errands. After spending an exhausting three hours pushing a double-stroller around the mall at 30-weeks pregnant, I decided that was one of the worst decisions I could have made that day! Why didn’t I  just purchase everything I needed online, and spend the day relaxing at home with the kiddos?

8 Time-Saving Tips for Moms: How To Save An Hour A Day | Twin Cities Moms Blog

A few favorite online shopping sites of mine are:

Amazon Prime.  Free two-day delivery. Just about anything you can dream of. Share your prime account with some family members to save on the $99 yearly fee. Done.

Target Subscriptions. I just signed-up for this after reading Suzanne’s Post. I subscribed for all of our diapers, paper towels, and toilet paper to be automatically delivered to my doorstep every 8 weeks. And just for enrolling in this, Target offers an extra 5% off. Cha-ching! A bonus of shopping at Target as opposed to Amazon, is that you can return items directly to the store if needed, instead of shipping them back.

Zappos and Nordstroms. Primarily for their free shipping and free returns. Boots, shoes, clothing, gifts, check.

6. Keep It Dirty. Moms, how often do you wash your hair? And when you do, how much time do you spend washing, fixing, drying, curling, straightening? I started washing my hair every-other day a few years ago, and now I push it back to – wait for it – every two days. This is the BEST! It saves me SO much time! Yes, I had to “train” my hair by going quite a few days without washing it (for more information on how to do this, click here). I also started using (and loving) Batiste Dry Shampoo (found on Amazon or at Urban Outfitters). I love the blonde color and spray it on my roots if my hair starts to feel a little greasy. Oh, I also invested in a sexy shower cap.  😉

7. Skip The Post-Office. Probably one of the most torturous household tasks ever is to wait in line at the post office…around the holidays…with children. Seriously, the last time I did this was probably two years ago and I plan to never, ever do it again. Thanks to USPS’s Click-N-Ship, I now print all of my postage labels online and even have the packages picked-up at my doorstep. How easy is that?! Don’t let it intimidate you, it’s super easy and so convenient. First I bought an inexpensive postal scale. Second, I signed-up for an account with USPS.com. I also ordered lots of Priority Mail boxes for free. Now I simply weigh my package on my little scale, enter the shipping information at usps.com, print the shipping label and schedule a pick-up. Never. Going. Back.

8. Email.  Let’s be honest – refreshing your email every five minutes on your iPhone throughout the day is not the most productive thing you can do with your time. I have found that limiting the number of times per day that I check my email is not only a time-saver, but a sanity-saver as well. You can read more about how I like to do email at a previous post I wrote here. And while you’re at it, turn off the notifications/dings/banner displays on your phone. That way, you can check your messages when it is convenient for you. That J. Crew sale can wait until you have time to sit down and shop (online, that is). 🙂

8 Time-Saving Tips for Moms: How To Save An Hour A Day | Twin Cities Moms Blog

I could go on and on with lots more time-saving tips, but I will keep this list short with my favorite eight tips.  Since we are all so busy, right?. 😉

Remember moms, YOU are valuable. Your time is valuable. How do you want to spend it?

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. -Annie Dillard

12 Responses to 8 Time-Saving Tips for Moms: How To Save An Hour A Day

  1. Jahnaya Rebarcak December 11, 2014 at 9:58 AM #

    Great tips, Nealy! I am definitely going to look into Target’s home delivery for diapers, cleaners, and other essentials. Also, meal planning is such a good time savor! I like to write my meals out on Sunday, go grocery shopping, and have everythig organized in the fridge come Monday! Saves me tons of time!

  2. Nealy
    Nealy December 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM #

    Thanks so much Jahnaya! Yes Target subscriptions are awesome! 🙂

  3. Amy December 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM #

    I have my 10 & 9 year old clean the kids bathroom and the powder room bathroom. BOY, do I hear complaints now that they are doing it on how everyone is so messy and doesn’t clean out their toothpaste, or put their toothbrush away, etc. I do have to go do a deep clean every 2 weeks or so just for my sanity. But we have Thieves cleaner and Chlorox wipes, Norwex cloth and a water spray bottle and 7th generation toilet bowl cleaner. I don’t feel bad about my young kids using these. My 7 year old sweeps the floor (when I remember to ask him!) with an electric sweeper. BETST $115 I have spent.

    • Nealy
      Nealy December 12, 2014 at 6:35 AM #

      Amy, LOVE this idea of having the kids clean the bathroom! Thanks for sharing!

      • Sarah December 18, 2014 at 7:21 AM #

        My 5 year old does the sinks when I clean the bathrooms. He’s actually pretty good at it! And then HE gets to clean up all his soap and toothpaste. 🙂

  4. Cindy December 11, 2014 at 7:23 PM #

    Great ideas! Even for us moms with no kids left at home, we could all use a little more time and time-saving-tips! Amazon Priime is my FAVORITE! Reorders are simple, love it! I see the UPS guy several times a week! Today he delivered organic wine from Amazon! Who knew!?

  5. Nealy
    Nealy December 12, 2014 at 6:34 AM #

    Organic wine from Amazon, sounds awesome! 🙂

  6. Ali December 14, 2014 at 8:33 AM #

    Paper plates are detrimental to the environment. There are dishes to be done no matter what. If you make it a nightly task to get them in the dishwasher and let them run overnight, it isn’t that difficult. I hope not many people take that horrible tip seriously.

    Also, getting a nice daily shower in the evening is part of my limited me time and I enjoy it. I wouldn’t think of hair washing as something I need to cut to save myself some time. It is a nice beauty tip though, since most people dry their hair out with over-washing.

    One of my best time saving tips is preparing a crock pot meal the night before, putting the whole crock in the fridge, then putting it out with a light timer on the crock pot so it starts cooking/stops cooking at the correct time, without me having to be there. OR if it is something that can cook in the span of our sleeping time, cook it overnight, then stick it in the fridge and re-heat that night. It is super awesome to come home to dinner already being done and I’d rather take the time after my kids have gone to bed than when I can be playing with and enjoying them.

  7. Alice Seuffert
    Alice Seuffert December 14, 2014 at 3:48 PM #

    Great time-saving tips, Nealy! To save time during the week I do almost all my cooking and prep work for meals on Sunday. It takes some time to do all the cooking but saves time each night and makes packing lunches easy during the week. I also organize a monthly meal exchange with other moms-it saves so much time and it’s really nice to have a variety of meals!

  8. Jenny December 17, 2014 at 8:33 PM #

    I really really wish you would reconsider the paper plates. Or at least not encourage other people to be so wasteful.

  9. Emily December 26, 2014 at 7:25 AM #

    good tips but have to agree with others about the paper plates. We definitely use them at times in our house but prefer real plates for family meal times. Use at every meal is expensive and wasteful and I like that even my youngest child (3 years old) eats on a regular plate at dinner (not a kid’s melamine plate). Teaches them to respect mealtimes and know they are to be “savoured” and special.

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  1. Life Hacks for the Time Crunched Mama | Twin Cities Moms Blog - February 3, 2015

    […] theory, and I do my best to practice these tips, but I often fall short. Nealy recently wrote some time-saving tips for moms and I loved her ideas – especially the white toothpaste and the paper plate option. […]

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