Best Organizing Tips for Mom: Part 3
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply snap your fingers and get things done? It may not always be a snap, but a click will work just as well. As a working parent, I have mastered the art of snapping and clicking, and I’m excited to share ways you can make 3 key areas of your life so much easier: how you shop, eat and do.
Ordering online is the first essential step. Before ever considering getting in my car, battling traffic or navigating a parking lot, I think about other ways I can obtain that desired item. Online ordering to the rescue!
I never thought I’d succumb to ordering groceries online, but once I did, I was hooked and could never go back. I used to carve 2-3 hours out of my day to go to Costco or make trips to multiple grocery stores, but now I shop, order, click and get what I want that same day. Even better: someone else does the shopping and it’s delivered right to my doorstep.
And the best part? I SAVE more than if I had gone to the store and done the shopping myself. Why? Because you’re only ordering what you need and are not seduced by the impulse buys, tempting end-caps or in-store sampling. While the online grocery services do add small fees to your order, it’s worth the price of admission alone. I was surprised to find that I spend nearly half the amount when I order online . . . and I avoid the stress of having to find time, fight traffic and brave store lines. A win-win-win!
- Google Express: ($95/year): Google Express used to be my one-stop shop for all of our groceries: bulk/packaged goods, refrigerated food items and alcohol. Last year, they stopped delivering perishables and alcohol, but they honor my Costco membership discount for my large bulk purchases (like paper towels, cereal and nuts) and that’s good enough for me!
- Instacart: (delivery fee of $5.99-$7.99 on orders over $35 or no delivery fee with Instacart Express for $149/year): In order to have both refrigerated items and alcohol delivered, I had to explore another route . . . and Instacart delivers. They’ll get my refrigerated items from Costco (e.g. 3-carton package of organic milk, eggs, 5 lb. bag of lemons, organic chicken breasts, etc.), fresh food from Whole Foods and a host of other stores (where you can also comparison shop) as well as wine and liquor. Sold!
- Your local food store: most stores are getting on the online ordering bandwagon, so check your favorite grocery store and see if they offer that service.
- Shopbob: Presenting a wide range of brands and the latest trends, Shopbop offers free 3-day shipping and free returns. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I walked into a department store. I know and search for my favorite designers, over-order what I like so I can try out various sizes or styles, and then ship back what doesn’t work out. Easy peasy!
- Zappos: With free shipping each way, Zappos orders also arrive faster than you’d expect. This is the only way I can order shoes for my family. My husband breaks out in a cold sweat at the thought of shopping, and my son can think of nothing more “unfun” than going to the shoe store. So I order up several pair of shoes, see what fits and send back the rest. A breeze.
Almost Anything Else
Hello, Amazon! And Amazon Prime ($99/year) if you want it in two days. The powerhouse of online ordering of almost any item known to man, Amazon can do it all. I use Amazon to order our toiletries, my makeup and beauty supplies, home items, books, birthday gifts and so much more.
The second essential way to make your life easier is meal planning. If you plan out your meals a week in advance, you know what you’ll need to order from the store. I dedicate Sunday night to map out our meals for the week and place my online grocery orders accordingly.
Taking meal planning one step further, cook more than you typically need and freeze the rest. That way, you’ll have a meal ready for your family if you have to work late one night or have an evening event to attend. My mantra: shop once, cook ahead.
When it comes to cooking ahead, my all-time favorite cooking device is the Crock Pot – the greatest invention known to working parents. I drop in the meat, add the spices, pour over the liquid and then “set it and forget it.” You come home from work to a home-cooked meal that smells great and is always on time for dinner, Furthermore, slow cooking your food makes it taste better! My family’s favorite recipes are Chicken Azteca and Shredded Beef Tacos.
Meal Kit Delivery Services
For those who love to cook but hate (or don’t have time) for the prep, try the online meal kit subscription services where you select your meals and all items, pre-cut, -sliced or –chopped are shipped right to you:
- Blue Apron: various plans; $59.94 for 3 recipes on the 2-person plan (translates to $9.99/serving)
- Hello Fresh: starts at $9.99/serving
- Home Chef: $9.95/serving
- Plated: starts at $12/plate
And if you’re tired of your usual Chinese takeout or pizza delivery (not sure who would ever get tired of that!), you can explore a myriad of other options from your favorite restaurants through these food delivery services:
Finally, the third way to simplify your life is to delegate and outsource as much as you can.
To delegate, take a look at your home routine and see what jobs you can assign to others. If you have a nanny, babysitter or spouse, ask them to help fold and put away the laundry. If you have older kids, create a chore chart so the entire family can join in and help keep your house running. Younger children can set the dinner table or unload the dishwasher while older kids can take out the trash or walk the dog.
As for outsourcing, what services do you regularly use, and could they come to you? There are so many ways to streamline your life and let others do the heavy lifting, be it for mundane tasks like laundry, filling up your gas tank or getting your kids from school to soccer practice:
- Dry Cleaning & Laundry: Rinse
- Housekeeping: Tidy
- Car Services: wash & detail with Spiffy and even get your gas tank filled up with Filld (currently expanding across the U.S.)
- Ride services: Hop Skip Drive, a great solution for busy parents who need extra help in getting their kids where they need to be
Fortunately for us, we live at a time when companies are challenging convention and figuring out how to have their products or services automated, ordered, delivered or done for you. The sky is really the limit!
Take full advantage of these opportunities and you’ll find, in the process, that you have lightened your load and made your life so much easier. Even more, these steps will give you more time to enjoy your family, do the things you want to do and ultimately get more out of life.
More of that, please! Now where do I click?
Love this post! It’s truly for the 21st century parent!
Thanks, Ellen, for your kind words! My family’s busy schedule has forced me to join the 21st century!
So many of your hints will translate to helping our elderly friends stay in their own homes. The everyday chores of trying to drive, shop and park, load and unload, walk great distances for those using canes or walking assists are perfectly solved by the home services you list. I’m forwarding your Newsletter to friends who would really benefit from trying this new way of organizing life.
Thank you, Jo Frances! Yes, the world is getting easier with all the service-oriented businesses popping up — and we all benefit. Another plus: the Hop Skip Drive service isn’t just for kids! It is also a great solution for taking seniors who no longer drive to doctor appointments, or wherever they need to go. It’s only offered in California right now, but I’m sure it will be expanding to other markets in the near future.