I thought I'd share how Tal and I manage to get everything done by using some outside services and by working together as a team. We aren't gourmet cooks, nor do we have a spotless house. However, we strive to have a (mostly) neat, organized, and efficient home by using the tips, tricks, and time savers below:
1. Daily Chores
Every evening, Tal and I spend 20-30 minutes doing daily chores, such as folding clothes, making the grocery list, or washing dishes. It's easier to keep our house (mostly) neat and organized when we do a little bit every night.
However, Tal and I don't like to spend all of our free time doing house work, so as a general rule, our family stops working by 7 PM each night. By 7 PM, dinner is done. Baths are done. We are in our jammies. That way, we can have 1.5 hours of family time/quiet time to relax, watch TV, and play before the girls go to bed around 8:30 PM. On Saturday mornings, Tal and I do yard work and house work, but we stop working by noon, so we can eat lunch, take naps, and relax the rest of the day.
Below are some examples of our daily chores:
*reserve time to pick-up groceries at Walmart
*make grocery list
*plan meals for upcoming week
*finalize grocery list and meals for upcoming week
*wash/dry two loads of laundry
*pick up groceries at Walmart
*fold/put away two loads of laundry
*finish laundry if needed
*wash sheets and towels
*make 2-3 meals for the upcoming week
*make lunches and snacks for the upcoming week
*do yard work
Tal and I do 3-4 loads of laundry each week. When we do laundry, Tal and I usually wash/dry clothes one day and then fold/put away clothes the next day. We also mix everything together. We don't sort whites, brights, darks, etc. In one load, we wash/dry Tal's clothes and the girls' clothes together. I wash my clothes in a separate load because I don't put my clothes in dryer. I hang them up to dry, so they won't shrink. We usually wash sheets and towels on the weekends.
To make laundry more enjoyable, I listen to podcasts or watch shows on DVR in our bedroom. I fold clothes on our bed and then put them away in our family closet. I cull out Tal's clothes and put them on the end of our bed. Tal prefers to put away his clothes (which saves me time anyway). While I'm folding the girls' clothes, I put together 5-7 outfits each for Savannah and Hadley and put them on top of their dressers in the closet. That way, we can save a few minutes in each morning by grabbing an outfit and getting dressed quickly.
Tal and I have had a cleaning service for 5 years. The cleaning ladies come every 4 weeks and spend 3-4 hours cleaning every area of our house. We pay $119 each month. The cleaning ladies do chores that Tal and I never get around to doing, such as wiping the inside of the fridge, vacuuming our living room sectional, and dusting the windowsills, blinds, and baseboards. Since Tal is allergic to dust, I'm thankful that our house gets a deep cleaning every month. Plus, having a cleaning service forces our family to declutter and organize our house at least once a month. A couple days before the cleaning ladies arrive, our family spends 30-60 minutes cleaning off the kitchen counter, filing bills/papers, and putting miscellaneous items in their correct places.
4. Grocery Shopping
Our family gets groceries once a week. A couple months ago, I started picking up our groceries at our local Walmart. Grocery pick-up is free and saves me 1.5 hours of shopping each week...plus the stress and exhaustion of taking the girls with me. I order and pay for our groceries online and then schedule a one-hour window (usually 3:00-4:00 on Wednesday or Thursday ) to pick-up our groceries. Before I leave to pick-up our groceries, I click "check-in" on the Walmart Grocery app on my phone. The GPS on the app notifies Walmart when I have arrived. I park in a designated parking spot. An employee brings out my groceries and loads them into my car.
5. Meal Planning
Tal and I have been doing meal planning for years. Before we do our weekly grocery shopping, we choose 2-3 meals for the week and then buy the ingredients when do our grocery shopping. We cook our meals on the weekends and then eat the leftovers during the week.
Tal and I are tired and hungry when we get home from work. The last thing we want to do is spend 30 minutes cooking a meal and cleaning up afterwards. Some families don't like leftovers, but we don't mind eating the same meals for a couple days.
6. Lunch Prep
To save time during the week, Tal and I make our lunches and lunch snacks on the weekends. For lunch snacks, I fill baggies with nuts and baby carrots. Tal makes sub sandwiches and keeps them in the fridge. Then, when we get home from work, Tal and I spend 5 minutes assembling our lunches for the next day and putting our lunch boxes in our fridge.