It’s no secret that multiple children add exponential joy to a household. It’s also common sense that the chaos and housework will increase just as much. To keep the feelings of being overwhelmed to a minimum, and to keep the chaos at bay, we have compiled a list of tips to shave a few more minutes off of your routine, and give you a few extra at the end of the day!
Whoever is the cook in your household can use the weekend to their advantage. This may take a bit more time off the weekend, but it sure makes up for it when you come home during the week and these tips have dinner on the table faster! We like to use the weekend to prepare “batch meals” that can be divided up for leftovers several times over. If you are creative, this list is endless, and includes soups, spaghetti sauces, oven brisket or pot roast, chili, or anything else your family loves. Our family saves Wonton soup containers for all sorts of leftovers, but any Tupperware will do. Just make a lot of extras, and divide them up into portions that will be enough to give the family for a weeknight meal. Just don’t pack it all up at once so you don’t have to thaw the whole amount for one night! Food can only be reheated so many times, thus the little “family” size containers. You can slice meats down and freeze them in their gravy to make an excellent re-heated meal to be eaten with an easy rice dish, or a fresh loaf of bread for sandwiches. Sauces can be eaten in minutes of stove or microwave time with a fresh box of cooked pasta.
This is probably the worst part of growing up and having one’s own house. Anyway, no one is ever completely happy with the way the house looks when they have children, but you can keep the insanity at bay sometimes. If you have hardwood floors, a swivel sweeper really keeps the time spent attacking messes down. Under the kitchen table, it’s the next best thing to having a dog. Seriously though, once you pull the broom out, you keep reaching further and further until you’ve done the whole floor; plus bending over again and again with a dustpan just makes it seem like so much more of a process! If you want to keep the kitchen table cleanup easier, try a tablecloth-they get messy, but on good days a shake outside will get it good enough for 2-3 days if the kids are not too messy. Just one bundle can remove the mess off the table in no time, and if you’re lucky, you won’t even have to run a rag over the table.
Paper plates, cups and utensils are also a great way to cut down on cleaning time. Obviously you get what you pay for, but the cheap ones tend to hang in there with child meals. If the costs are too much, let go of the cups and silverware and just concede to washing only those-the plates are the biggest time saver anyway!
It may not make sense, but try for a week to do laundry every day. I know, I hate it too. However, how awesome does it feel to only have to fold and put away a load ¼ of the usual size? You do remember that feeling when as a younger person, you only ran a washer to get a stain out of one shirt plus 5-6 other things that were in your hamper? It feels a lot better than the feeling of thinking about how high the pile has gotten when you are downstairs watching Dancing with the Stars, trust me! Just try to make it a ritual like brushing teeth or making the coffee. A tiny daily load will be just as easy as making that coffee!
If the kids are in school, get as much of lunch prepared as you can the night before. Get the juice boxes ready, the little note on the napkin, and put anything that doesn’t have to be refrigerated into the lunch box to make the morning easier. If all you have to do is make a quick sandwich or empty soup into a thermos, then the better for you. If you get this down, those extra minutes will balance out that laundry habit you’re starting!