Recently I overheard someone talking about hacks to make life easier. I have learned a number of “mom hacks” over the years that help me to accomplish everyday tasks more effectively, which is exactly what a hack is: the ability “to manage successfully.” So when we learn a new way that saves time, energy and manages our lives better, we’re “hacking” away at life’s little to-do list, one step at a time.
Hacks to make life easier
1. Wunderlist: The Best List Making App
I used to be a post-it note freak, sticking post-it notes wherever I would see them. Now my sticky notes sit sadly underused since I downloaded Wunderlist. Wunderlist allows me to make lists for groceries, big box stores, clothing, meal plans, Christmas gifts, cleaning, packing and more. Best of all, I can share my lists with other users. My husband gets the grocery list so he can pick up a few items from the grocery store. My daughter likes checking off her chore list on our family device. Best of all, I don’t have to worry about losing my list, since it’s available on every device I own.
2. Use Curbside Pickup for Groceries
Years ago, I told Sam that someone needed invent online grocery shopping because going to the grocery store is surely one of Dante’s levels of hell. Apparently wishes do come true—even 10 years late. This year, Meijer introduced a grocery curbside pickup for $7.95. Order online, schedule your pickup, and get other things done while someone else does your shopping. Several other large chains are following Meijer’s lead and will offer this service soon. As someone who loathes grocery stores, this is a huge win for all the grocery shopping haters out there.
3. Nix the Errands
I don’t have to run to the store to pick up toothpaste anymore. My postman brings it to me. Because I have a Target RedCard, I save 5% on everything and get free shipping, no matter the size of my order. Boxed and Amazon offer similar programs.
Bonus: You can also subscribe to items, so you don’t have to remember them. When I get an item, I label it with the date to see how long it takes to use it up. When the product is almost empty, I subscribe to the item based on the date I wrote on the package. I use this for everything: dishwasher detergent, toilet paper, pet supplies, ziplocks. Buying online also helps me resist the temptation to buy what we don’t need (i.e. “Look at that cute purse!” “Those pillows are so cheap!”) saving our family money.
4. Organize Your Recipes Using Pinterest
For my recipe organization I link to all my favorite recipes on Delicious. Because this website was created before Pinterest was invented, I am now in the process of moving 268 recipes over to Pinterest because Pinterest is frankly way more fun.
5. Theme your Meals
I organize my meals according to the “theme” of each evening meal:
Monday: Pasta night
Tuesday: tacos or tex-mex
Wednesday: easy prep meal
Thursday: rice bowl
When I plan my grocery list, I pull up my online recipes and use them to make my meal plan for the next two weeks. This gives me both the ideas and the ingredients right at my fingertips. I add both the meal plan and the groceries items to two Wunderlists–one called “groceries” and one called “meal plan.” (I’m so original.) Then I use the grocery list to order from Meijer. See how all these hacks work together?
6. Use a Recipe App
My favorite recipe app is the Everyday Food app. I can search for nearly any recipe that was published in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine, saving me time looking through cookbooks. Most of these recipes are duplicated online, but the app allows me to search various ways, making recipes easier to find: by meat, vegetable, side, or favorites.
7. Prepare Crockpot and Freezer Meals
I also discovered a free crockpot and freezer meal cookbook online. You can create easy meals in minutes by throwing all your ingrediants in a ziplock and tossing it in the freezer. When I double the recipe, I make one meal in the crockpot and assemble the other meal to freeze. Most of the meals need a little more flavor for my taste, (I like things hot 🔥) so I tweak the recipes adding in more spice as needed.
What hacks do you use to save time? I would love to hear more ideas so I can try them out. Most of these hacks came from other people who are far more organized than I am. 😉
(P.S. I have more hacks to save time that I’ll share with my email subscribers, including technology hacks that have made my social media and email management so much easier. Subscribe to get access to other resources here.)