How a Little Prep Goes a Long Way

For example, the laundry: I now ask the kids (6 and 9) to sort their clothes into two different hampers, one for lights and the other for darks. (And my husband and I do the same.) This way, when I need to do a load I can quickly and easily scoop up an armful, throw it in the washer and move on to the next task. It also makes it easy for my 9-year-old to do the laundry herself. 

I discovered the solution to spoiled produce while at a friend’s home. When I opened her fridge, all the fruits and vegetables were washed, chopped and waiting in plastic containers or zip-top bags. At first, the mere sight irritated me. Who had time to be this prepared? But then I realized that little bit of prep time would make it easy to add veggies to the morning omelet or throw together a salad for dinner. I also watched as her kids happily grabbed for the sliced strawberries when they wanted a snack. 

Now, after unpacking the groceries, I set to work peeling and washing, slicing and dicing. If I notice something will go bad before I can use it, I throw those sliced peppers or washed blueberries in the freezer for use at a later date. That 20 minutes I spend once a week saves me much aggravation, time and energy during the week.

As to the dirty kitchen, I solved this with two methods. First, the night before I put out the cups and plates the kids will use for breakfast. I set up the coffee maker so it’s ready to go. I put all the non-perishables in the lunchboxes. Then, in the morning, I use my saved time to empty the dishwasher and get it filled before everyone dashes out the door.

Dividing household tasks into smaller chunks, and doing what I can in advance, has made my household flow much easier. We’re saving money by eating in more often (and buying fewer pairs of shorts). And we’re eating healthier because no one has to fear whether the produce drawer is holding some ghastly surprises. And best of all, I’m feeling more organized and less overwhelmed.

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