5 Shortcuts for Chores

Shop smart at the market.

Shopping during off-hours and without your kids in tow are sure ways to shorten this task. These tricks will also help: Create your grocery list so it’s ordered the way your market is laid out, and at the checkout, pack bags with your kitchen in mind. Group together all the cereal, all the frozen items, and so on, so when you get home, putting everything away is a snap.

Pre-sort the laundry.

It’s as simple as keeping separate hampers for darks, colors, and whites and asking your family to toss their dirty clothes in appropriately. To make washing simple, use a premeasured laundry detergent.

Measure ahead for recipes.

Take out all the ingredients and utensils you’ll need for a particular recipe before you begin and premeasure everything. You’ll be amazed at how much time it saves (and how much more relaxing cooking your meals will be). Keep a large bowl nearby and use it for eggshells and other scraps; then empty the bowl just once into the garbage or compost pile.

Pre-soak the pots.

Before you begin cooking, fill the sink with warm water and dishwashing liquid. As you do your meal prep, slip anything that would need pre-rinsing for the dishwasher into the sink, along with any pots. (But do leave anything sharp out where you can see it, for safe handling.) This prevents food from hardening on dishes and means less work to do after you finish eating.

For bathrooms, think mini cleanups.

Make the weekly bathroom cleanup go faster by knocking out small doses of grime daily. Stash a canister of cleaning wipes in each bathroom and use them to wipe down vanities and mirrors as soon as soapy film or toothpaste spots appear. If you have a glass shower, store a squeegee in the stall and use it to prevent hard-water stains from forming.

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