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Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

When she's not writing, Claire Gillespie can most often be found wiping snotty noses, picking up Lego, taking photos of her cat or doing headstands.

Moms, your time is precious

It doesn't matter how many kids you have or whether you're a stay-at-home or working mom — there are never enough hours in the day, right? Try to put these smart, simple tips into practice and free up some of that precious time.

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Get organized

  • Busy moms don’t have time to waste searching the house for those everyday items that never seem to be in the right place. Stock up on scissors, pens, baby wipes and hair brushes so you have one of each item in the rooms you spend the most time in.
  • Use a box file to store coupons and takeout menus so they don’t get misplaced (or end up in the trash). Or go paperless — sign up for email coupons from your favorite stores and restaurants and all you'll ever need to get those deals is your smartphone. While you’re at it, opt for paperless billing and set up direct debits — no more stamps, no more envelopes, no more having to remember to pay bills on time!
  • As soon as you get your mail, deal with it. Put junk mail and unwanted catalogs in your recycle bin.
  • Give each family member their own box. Over the course of the day, pop everything that ends up lying around the house into the right person’s box. On the way to bed at the end of the day, hand each person their box and ask them to put everything back where it belongs.
  • Run all your errands on one day a week, working your way down a list.
  • Schedule doctor’s and other appointments for first thing in the morning to cut down on wait times.

Sort out your storage

  • Store as much as possible in clear, labeled, stackable bins. DVDs, computer games, toys and shoes will be much easier to find. Have a bin for each season to store seasonal items like beach toys and towels in one place.
  • When you put your kids’ clothes in their drawers or closet, assemble full outfits, meaning you can quickly grab them in the morning and avoid having to rummage around for matching garments.
  • Place a shoe rack and a basketful of kids’ socks near your front door to save time in the mornings.
  • Store sets of sheets and pillowcases inside unfolded pillowcases to make bed changes fast and easy and minimize clutter in your linen closet.
  • Make a label-maker your new best friend. Label shelves in your linen closet, pantry, basement and garage.

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Win at chores

  • After dinner, get the whole family involved in doing dishes and clearing up clutter.
  • Set the table for breakfast the night before to make mornings less stressful. Put out bowls, utensils, cereal, fruit and bread. Make the kids' packed lunches the night before too.
  • Keep disinfecting wipes in the bathroom for quick cleanups around toilets, sinks and mirrors. While the kids are in the bath, give the toilet and basin a wipe-down.

Get prepping

  • Spend a few hours on the weekend planning, shopping for and preparing meals for the week ahead.
  • Chop all your vegetables and herbs.
  • Cook beans to add to salads and soups.
  • Roast and shred a whole chicken to give you enough meat for several meals: enchiladas, homemade soup, sandwiches and salad.
  • Make meals in batches to freeze for busy evenings when you don't have time to cook from scratch.

Shop ahead of time

  • Make last-minute panic buying a thing of the past. Pick up anniversary, birthday and holiday gifts whenever you see them and set them aside to give at the right time. If you see a great toy on sale, buy it in bulk for the next few kids' birthday parties.
  • Take advantage of sales and stock up on everyday items like toothpaste, shampoo, batteries and toilet rolls — you’ll save money and never be caught short.
  • Never take your kids to the store again. Start doing your grocery shopping online, or go in the evenings when the kids are in bed.

Prioritize

  • Write down all your weekly commitments and how long each one takes — everything from doing laundry to picking your kids up from school. Once you’re done, read through the list and figure out what can be skipped.
  • Don’t be scared to say no. If you really don’t have the time (or the inclination) to volunteer at your child’s school, politely decline and don’t feel guilty about it.
  • Commit to a daily period of self-care. It might only be 15 minutes, but you’ll feel the benefits. Shut down your phone and computer and do something you enjoy. Go for a walk, read a magazine, or simply sit and enjoy a cup of tea.

More: 9 fun outdoor activities to do with your kid

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