9 Time-Saving Products for Busy Moms || Working Mother
It’s time for spring cleaning, and chances are what needs tidying up most is your schedule. Your daily routine can always use a little tightening, so we asked professional organizers for their favorite time-saving products. Use these to build some efficiency into your day—then use the extra minutes to wind down with your family.
#1 Fagor Lux Multicooker
“One of the best time-saving products I use is my Fagor Lux Multicooker slow and pressure cooker. Home-cooked meals are an important part of helping me feel healthy and grounded. This multi-use appliance allows us to make incredible meals in 45 minutes or less with the pressure cooker feature, and it also has the flexibility to make a delicious slow-cooked meal. I also love that you can braise meat directly in the pot, so you don’t have to dirty the stove or a pan for those slow cooker recipes that call for braising before cooking. Whether I need to start cooking before I leave the apartment in the morning, or only have a limited time to put something together at the end of the day, this appliance is a powerhouse and a huge time saver. Oh, and it can also quickly make risotto—with no stirring!—as well as homemade yogurt. It’s an all-around win for us and a yummy help!” —Jeffrey Phillip, expert organizer and designer
#2 The Swoop
“The Swoop is transformational! It cuts Lego cleanup time down to 10 seconds, and I’m not even exaggerating. The secret is that it’s both a play mat and a bag, so the Legos never need to get poured out onto the floor. The result is that a mama—or a papa or a grandparent or a babysitter—can allow kids to play for probably 10 to 15 minutes longer because cleanup is such a snap. All you need to do is pull the cords and everything falls in. It’s a major timesaver and kids love it.” —Rachel Siegel, founder, Spruce
#3 A Good Filing System
“Paper tends to be one of the most burdensome items in a busy household, so a plastic filing system located near or by the kitchen will help you easily find what you need and get the papers out of the piles. I also recommend an erasable monthly wall calendar. Make a section of a wall a large chalkboard calendar, which can be artistic and fun for the entire family while also being very useful.” —Kendra Stanley, founder, Healthy Organizing
#4 A Document Scanner
“The one product I can’t live without is my scanner, simply because it eliminates the paper clutter that builds up so quickly. I own a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. I digitize articles, cards, letters, bills, statements, instructions, photos, pamphlets and more—anything for which I need the information but not the original copy. It’s so much faster and easier for me to find a digital file on my laptop than dig through piles of paperwork for it—and my desk, dining table and kitchen counters stay clutter-free!” —Francine Jay, author of The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
#5 Klip-It Lunch Cubes
“Making lunches can be a time suck. What should be a five-minute task can easily turn into a half-hour ordeal. Instead of fighting the fight every day, block one hour on Sunday night and use these Lunch Cube carriers to pack lunch and snacks for all the kids and all the school days, all at once. The compartments and containers keep things fresh and separate. They’re dishwasher safe, come in a variety of colors and, at only $10, you can get multiple cubes for multiple mouths to feed.” —Amelia Meena, founder, Appleshine Lifestyle Organization
#6 A To-Do List
“If I had to choose one must-have tool, it would be a to-do list, where you can quickly mentally dump your thoughts and organize your important priorities. Whether it’s related to your work or kids—you want to be able to see the multitude of tasks in one place, prioritize and then take action on the most important stuff. If you don’t have a system in place and these half-baked yet amazing ideas of yours are swimming around in your head and never make it to see the light of day, then this ‘mental clutter’ can start this downward spiral of self-doubt: ‘Am I ever going to get any of this done?’ And then, you can waste countless hours going to and fro in a state of confusion with no sense of purpose, not being as productive.” —June Saruwatari, author of Behind the Clutter: Truth. Love. Meaning. Purpose.
#7 A Photo Storage Box of Greeting Cards
“Stock up on inexpensive greeting cards and have them organized and ready to send or give at a moment’s notice. I like storing blank greeting cards from Trader Joe’s—only 99 cents each!—in a photo storage box. These are decorative and easy to slide and stack on a bookshelf. You can divide the cards by occasion as the boxes already come with index card category separators. Label the outside of the box ‘blank cards’ and you’ll never be scrambling for a last-minute pricy birthday or thank you note again. Your frenzied brain cells will thank you!” —Jeni Aron, founder, Clutter Cowgirl
#8 Lazy Susans
“I can’t live without a lazy susan turntable in each of my most active-use cabinets. It’s great as I can do a quick spin for super-fast access to my most-used kitchen essentials, like spices or mugs, or a quick grab of my favorite beauty products in my bathroom. When I’m cooking or getting ready for the day, it saves a ton of time as I don’t have to search behind layers of products—I just give it a quick spin and what I need shows up right in front of me!” —Maeve Richmond, founder and organizing coach at Maeve’s Method, and author of the forthcoming Maeve’s Method Kit.
#9 A Timer
“My favorite product to save time is, appropriately, a timer. It’s the quickest way to avoid procrastination, dig into one specific task and use time wisely—whether that’s for 5 minutes or 45 minutes. We usually waste time by multitasking. Pressing start creates immediate structure and responsibility—in a good way! Also, I can honestly say I’d be bummed if I had to live without my 1Password app. The app creates, stores and fills in rock-solid passwords so swiftly and brilliantly. I’m sure I’ve saved hours upon hours of not having to look up or remember my passwords. I use it all day every day.” —Fay Wolf, author of New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else)
March 14, 2016
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