This is likely to be an ongoing project as and when I think of things
1 Chopin, Lizst: Have a copy of a general shopping list with everything you buy hung up in the kitchen. Group items according to type/where found in the shop etc.
When something is nearly running out - or you have an idea for supper, or indeed find an interesting recipe - mark the item(s) on the list. Then take the whole list when you go shopping.
Incidentally, this list may remind you of something that you didn't even think of writing down but are likely to need soon.
I've just found the list (above) which was used many years ago, when the children were small, so it now needs updating as there are so many foods we eat now which weren't available at that time. These days, instead of saying 'cheese, cream cheese' it's more likely to say 'cheddar, cream cheese, feta, mascapone, mozarella, brie, etc etc.'!
2 Clean and tidy whilst you're doing something else. For instance, whilst my daughter was having her bath I used to clean the rest of the the bathroom, then when she got out I cleaned the bath and hey presto! one clean room.
In the same vein: when saying good night to your child, tidy a shelf, put away a few clothes, sort a box and have a chat with her. Nice quality time with your child, and another job done!
I also do this when talking to my husband but have to be careful or he doesn't feel he's getting my undivided attention, so doesn't work when doing this blog or looking up stuff on the internet.
3 Train your children/spouse to clear up after themselves. It's no trouble for them to put their own plate to wash, get themselves a drink, put their own clothes in the laundry basket, but saves you so much time. It may take time at the beginning but they soon get used to it and are more likely to appreciate what you do. Then you can start to delegate more to them. It's good for them to learn how to look after themselves, even your spouse! Delegate! You're not just here to run round after them!
4 Put it away: As Shirley Conran used to say in her book 'Superwoman'. Well she said at least two very important things, the first being 'Life's too short to stuff a mushroom'. Some people agree with this and some don't, it rather depends on whether you enjoy stuffing said mushroom. But the important saying of hers which I try to remember was 'don't put it down, put it away'. I often wander round the house saying this, no wonder they all think I'm nuts! Also the old saying 'a place for everything and everything in its place'.
5 Do less: Realise what's important and what doesn't have to happen at all. I used to keep a list of 'things to do'. When something had been on the list for several weeks and not done, I came to the conclusion that it didn't actually have to be done - or I'd have done it. That soon made me realise that it needed to be done now - or deleted from the list.
6 Get important stuff done early. Make a list the night before of what you want to achieve the next day, then work your way through them, in priority order. Having said that, I sometimes do a tiny job at the beginning of the day in order to feel I've achieved something!
7 Batch tasks: for instance:
- Cook vegetables, then make soup in same saucepan.
- Cook double of everything and freeze half for a cooking-free day later.
- When out doing errands, don't do as some people (not mentioning any names) do and go out for one thing, come back, then go out again for something else. This is a complete waste of time.
- Save all the mending and have a 'mending evening' when all items are done at once. Other thoughts are to have needles, each with different coloured cotton threaded in them stuck in the pin cushion. Then when something needs mending - do it at once!
Unfortunately, very often the same music was requested each week 'I Love You' by Jim Reeves, 'I just called to say I Love You' by Stevie Wonder, 'Congratulations' by Cliff Richard. You get the drift, these titles fitted exactly what people wanted to say. But the trick was to play very similar pieces with a sentiment which fitted, plus was a similar type of music.
In the two hour programme, it was suggested that I include about four pop songs, one religious, two childrens, two light classical, two country and western etc. Also, at the beginning of the programme, the music could be fairly fast (following on from a pop programme) but gradually it needed to slow down a bit, but with alternating fast and slow pieces. Once I'd worked out the formula it was easy to do. Then I would edit the letters, so they were concise, yet still read sensibly. Job done for the week.
It's the same with planning menues for the family: I once wrote down a list of every main meal we had eaten and enjoyed, checking that we were getting a balance diet. Then I was armed with a list of main meals and could then rotate them as we wanted and rarely was stuck thinking 'whatever can we have to eat this week'. So each weekend I made out a rough list of what we were going to eat that week.
9 Buy easy-to-look-after clothes: such as easy-wash, preferably minimum iron, clothes. Get carpets/flooring which isn't a plain dark colour as they show every bit of dirt and fluff. Don't have shiny tiles/kitchen cupboards which will need cleaning and polishing every day.
10 Encourage everyone to take off their shoes when they come into the house (still haven't managed that one!), and to dump any bags and coats somewhere, rather than hanging them on the floor!
11 Clean using natural products, such as bicarb, vinegar, lemon juice as then no nasty chemicals to wash away.
12 Focus on one project and get it done. I read this one somewhere and it made lots of sense, but very difficult to achieve.
13 Multi-task. My daughter rung me once and said 'I often do some cleaning while I talk to you on the phone, as it's boring' ... 'Talking to me or cleaning?' was my reply. But she had a good point, it meant that we could have a good chinwag and yet something was also being achieved.
14 Learn to say no/prioritise: Yet another one which isn't always easy to achieve.
15 Apportion time for the computer/internet: The world won't stop if you don't look at your emails for five minutes ... but it might!
16 When arranging furniture, leave a gap between items (or items and the wall) that is big enough to get the vacuum cleaning, so much easier.
17 Wander around with a damp cloth in your hand (perhaps with a little diluted vinegar on it) and just wipe anything which looks grubby. It's amazing the amount of time this saves in the long run, although you may look daft when you answer the front door with the cloth still in your hand! (http://cleanmyspace.com/cleaning-your-small-kitchen-appliances/)
Limit TV time. Or can you do something else whilst the boring bits (such as ads) are on?
Calendar/communicate so everyone knows what everyone else is doing. This also give you all something to talk about and chance for sharing.
to be finished .....