According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Time Use Survey produced in 2015, by the United States Department of Labor, women spend an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes per day on household activities and men spend an average of 1 hour and 25 minutes. 

It's easy to see why you might feel the pangs of time spent caring for home and family, among all other burdens associated with single parenting.  If you feel like you're exhausted, overworked, stressed-out, this may be a huge reason for it! 

These hours spent caring for our home add-up.  In a year's time, women will have spent over 34 days (24 hours a day) on household activities and men nearly 22 days doing things like kitchen and food clean-up, lawn and garden, food and drink prep, interior cleaning and laundry.

Averaged between men and women, each have nearly an entire month of household work that needs to be completed and that's if you spent every hour of the day doing it.  This means in order to make it work, you need to find ways to reduce time spent on household responsibilities.  But how?

One of the problems many of us face in caring for our home and family is that we're disorganized.  Getting organized speeds up household chores, reduces stress and allows the entire family to participate in household activities.  

Speed up chores

Once you have established a daily and weekly list of household chores, you will be able to plan, delegate and establish organization tactics to reduce time spent on these activities.  This means that as early as 5 years old, your children can start participating in household activities like toy clean up or setting the table.  

Reduce stress

Most parents work outside the home and have other obligations besides household care.  After a full-time work schedule, carpool, commute and household obligations not much time is left for exercise and downtime.  Alleviating time spent on household chores frees you up to do the things you want to do everyday. 

Think about what you could do with even half the time you usually spend on household chores.  Most of us work all year long for a week or two vacation.  Well, with a little organization, you can have an extra week or two throughout the year doing the stuff you want to do!

Involve your family

Once you have established age appropriate chores for your family members, keep their chores consistent and planned-out to encourage participation.  Children are creatures of habit.  They will have a sense of accomplishment to maintain parts of the home they utilize like cleaning their rooms, making beds or cleaning up their bathroom.  But, keep their chores basic and items used to clean in the same location to avoid excuses or problems.  It won't be like a cleaning service, but it will help with daily maintenance of your home.

When it comes to cleaning or organizing, keep your home organized first.  It will keep your family schedule flowing with less frustration and disruption.  We put together a some ideas:

Top ideas to help you organize your home

  • Keep a handwritten family password book for quick, consistent and "electronically hack proof" access to family passwords
  • Keep a file cabinet or accordion file folder for important files like kids immunization records, kids school records with teacher's current contact info., recent years taxes, current and paid bills and anything that is needed routinely or over the year
  • Start a donation and garage sale bin for items that aren't being worn or used.  Every 8 weeks take the collected donate bin to Goodwill or other donation station.
  • Pre-sort laundry in color coded labeled bins to encourage family participation
  • Establish a lost sock basket
  • Use over the door hooks for backpacks and purses
  • Hang necklaces on tie hangers 
  • Use door or wall hooks for jackets, uniforms or blue jeans to encourage kids to hang up their clothes if daily laundering isn't necessary
  • Put hooks in bathrooms for towels to encourage kids to easily hang up towels and robes to avoid these items from landing on the floor thus leading to more laundry
  • Purchase kids hangers for adult slacks and jeans.  They work better than the large hangers and the slacks are less likely to slide to one side of the hanger leaving them wrinkled
  • Purchase plastic hook accessory hangers that allow you to hang multiple items quickly on one hanger (this can cut down on laundry time considerably)
  • Establish "central laundry cubbies" with six to nine bins each.  It should be located in a central part of your home like a laundry room, mud room or hall.  When the clothes are laundered, they are categorized and put in each person's cubby.  The family member is responsible for getting their laundered items 2-3 times weekly and putting them away (less laundry time, yay!)
  • Keep shopping bags in a tissue box for quick access for recycling or use around the house
  • Use a plastic shoe rack for the inside of your linen closet door for bathroom items like shampoo, mouthwash, medicines, hair brush, etc.  Keep medicine and other potentially dangerous items high and out of reach of small children
  • Label, Label, Label.  Put specific categories of items in bins and baskets within closets and pantries and label accordingly for easy locating and access (do this for storage also)
  • Remove non-seasonal clothes and store in bins to make it easier for kids to select weather appropriate clothes so that they can dress themselves (this also cuts back on laundering items that were tried-on but not worn)
  • Drawer dividers for everything from clothes to the kitchen junk drawer
  • Get makeup jars, vanity top organizers and bins that include a spot for everything on top of the bathroom vanity to ensure things are not misplaced or damaged.
  • Use plate racks to store frying pans
  • Shop for groceries on-line during daily downtime and pick-up at the store or have delivered.  Shop warehouse stores or on-line mega stores like Amazon for deals on household items like paper towels, toilet paper and cleaning supplies
  • Keep a grocery list near the fridge with an attached pen to write down items as they are needed.  Target has really cool peel and stick wall calendars and dry erase note boards with Velcro markers.  Well worth the investment
  • Set-up prescriptions with on-line pharmacies approved through your insurance provider
  • Organize your household paper products for easy access and neater closets and drawers.  Remove them from their packages and store in appropriate bins, drawers, jars or organizers
  • Make double recipes and freeze one portion for later use
  • Find meals that can be prepared in a crock-pot thru-out the day so that you spend less time cooking when home
  • Keep kid items like clothes, dishes, crafts in drawers or bins that they can reach to allow them to access what they want when they want it and to establish "off-limit" drawers and bins they are not allowed to get into

Think ahead to make everyday chores easy 

Some things in life don't seem right.  Like where does the other sock go after you wash the pair in a load of laundry?  But it does disappear. 

What about programs like "Keep the Change" where the bank takes all of your change after each purchase and put it in a savings account.  It would seem like you would be able to save that much money every month by just taking that amount out of your bank account and putting it in your savings, but it never really works that way.

A little bit everyday makes big chores seem small

Somehow, the way we do something makes a difference in the result.  It doesn't seem like it should, but we can chalk it up to everyday magic.  Well, chores are the easiest to bring out your everyday magician.  In doing so, we can avoid the kind of "Black Magic" of disappearing socks and start reclaiming some of the lost time we dedicate to household responsibilities.  

Think ahead

This means you must form a plan.   Attack time stealing household chores with great ideas to reduce your time investment! It doesn't seem like a little forethought would make such a difference, but it does.  It will not only save you time, but money, as well.  Invest $1.00 in a mesh sock bag and save $20 a year on new socks, remember to use a lost sock basket or let the kids wear mismatched socks (these days it's the thing to do-in fact some companies sell the pairs of socks that way).

You can pre-plan dinner, lunches for kids, chores, home maintenance and laundry Get your bills on auto payment with reminders 5-10 days before they are scheduled to come out of your account.  Throw a load of laundry in before you leave for work and dry it when you return - that gives you 7 loads a week without one day being completely consumed doing the dreadful chore.  Make two meals at a time and freeze one or purchase fast and ready meals or items for crock pot recipes.  The ideas are endless, but without a doubt most families will be able to reduce half their household chores and maintenance.  Now, it's your turn.  Think about the most time consuming chores and attack!


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