4 Fabulous Time Savers

by Karen McCoy

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Work, childcare, school activities, church and volunteer work can keep the average American extremely busy. Throw in housework, shopping and spending time with friends and extended family, and this doesn't leave many hours in a day. To improve my own time management, I now use what I've deemed the "Fabulous Four."

Drive-By Cleaning - With a family of five, it doesn't take long for my home to become messy and cluttered. Shoes, jackets and backpacks soon find their way scattered across my front room after school. Top it with a few toys and some unopened mail, and I'm praying for no company. To make my life more clutter-free, I have gotten into the habit of never walking out of a room without grabbing what I can that belongs in my next destination. Or that I can put up on the way. In a pinch, I toss papers into a centrally located basket until I have time to sort them.

Grab-N-Go - This same technique also works for vehicles. I never leave my vehicle without taking items in upon returning home. I throw trash away while refueling or while entering a store. My children are required to take care of the items they have brought along by taking them in the house. A little extra effort has resulted in a clutter-free car.

No Iron Ironing - I despise ironing. My laundry room is too small to leave the ironing board set up so I have to drag it out and iron in my dining room. So I've learned a little trick using my dryer. I spray wrinkle releaser onto the garment, toss it in the dryer, and in a few minutes, I have wrinkle-free clothes. If I don't have wrinkle releaser on hand, a dampened washcloth tossed in with my clothes also works. This technique works well on clothes that are wrinkled from being folded and placed in a drawer or become wrinkled in an overcrowded closet.

Freezer Ease - With the ever-increasing rise in the cost of groceries, I found myself very discouraged at the amount of food my family and I wasted from spoilage. To get a better grip on eating our food instead of throwing it out, I now utilize my freezer more efficiently. Refrigerated leftovers go directly into freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. I label each container or bag with the name of the food item and the date. If I know the food won't be eaten within the next day, I immediately put it in the freezer and write it on a memo pad on the refrigerator. With one glance, I know what I have in my freezer and what ingredients I have readily available. Cooked meats and vegetables can be used in stews, soups, casseroles or a variety of my favorite dishes. I've learned to experiment with leftovers to get the most use of my food. I utilize frozen cooked chicken in place of my usual ground beef in enchilada casserole. If I don't have enough chili for everyone to have a bowl, I use it in Frito chili pie or chili dogs instead. With a little imagination and determination, I soon found that not only have I saved time in cooking, but also money. And that's the best of both worlds.

Take the Next Step:

  • Great things are happening on Pinterest! Visit our "Organization Tips to Save Time and Money" board today!
  • Have your family learn to do The 10-Minute Tidy!
  • Keep a clean washcloth handy in the laundry room so you can just dampen and toss it in.
  • Make a list of what's in your freezer. Keep a pen or pencil handy to add to the list!
  • Get more great time and money saving ideas in your inbox. Subscribe to Dollar Stretcher Tips newsletter, a twice weekly look at how to stretch your day and your dollar!

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