Household efficiency tips for Chicago parents

My family loves exploring the city together and snuggling in at home, too. These fun times together would not be possible without some good ol’ fashioned housework. These household efficiency tips can help lighten the load for parents and free up some time and energy for more family time spent together.

Dishes and cooking

– Prep and eat a yummy finger food lunch on a cutting board. Cheese, crackers, sliced turkey, cucumbers, grapes and apples is a healthy lunch and the dish count is only two: board and knife! 

– Make a big batch of coffee. Enjoy some hot and store some to enjoy as iced coffee the following day. You’ll clean out the pot half as often.

– Pack two servings of a lunch for work in one container. Enjoy one serving and keep the second serving in the refrigerator at work for the following day. Cold, hearty dishes such as tasty pasta salads work well for this. It’s one less container to clean, plus one less container to remember to bring to work and back.

– Cook a big, yummy dinner once and savor it twice. 

– Trade in multiple water glasses for one reusable one. Lifefactory glass water bottles come in different colors, so you could choose a different color for each family member and use them at home and on-the-go.

Laundry and clothing care

– Limit the amount of clothes in the house, so that the laundry does not get out of control. Allow kids to only keep the amount clothes that will fit in their drawers and then need to decide what to donate. 

– Kids wearing dress up clothes for short periods of time? Check and make sure they are still in good shape and hang them right back up for a second wear. 

– Try wrinkle release spray instead of ironing.

– Items that require dry cleaning take up too much time and money, so before buying a new item, make sure it is machine washable.

– Throw laundry into designated bins for different types of loads. It makes life easier because you don’t have to sort out a massive pile at one time.  

Trash and recycling

– Save jars and other food containers and use them to send food home with people. Giving these containers a second use is a good way to keep cut down on garbage you have to take out. Plus the person who gets the food does not have to worry about returning a container.

– Washable cloth rags are great for cleaning. They hold up better than paper towels and keep your trash can from filling up with paper towels. 

– Find a second use for plastic grocery bags or just opting for reusable cloth bags keeps can keep things streamlined in your home. Cloth bags are often more comfortable to carry, too. 

– Meal planning before food shopping can help you decide what food you need and, more importantly, don’t need during a shop, which can greatly reduce the amount of food that you throw in the trash. 

– Opt for the larger family size or bulk size of staple items (Cheerios, in our house). You’ll have to get rid of packaging less often. 

– Break down boxes to save space so that trash or recycling needs to be taken out less often. 

– Find a second use for boxes. A friend of mine covers diaper boxes with cute adhesive paper and uses them to organize toys.

– What is your favorite household tip to save time on dishes, laundry or garbage? Chime in! I would love to hear from you.

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