How many hours per week do you spend on domestic drudgery?
Two? Four? Six?
Do you even know? Many of us can’t keep count — or just don’t want to.
Fortunately, this isn’t your grandparents’ home life. Our households are far more automated than back in the day, and technological shortcuts are there for the taking. So are old-fashioned life hacks that don’t rely on apps or connected sensors.
Where to start? Try these five simple tricks to reduce your weekly workload at home — and make more time for the things that really matter.
1. Get a Robotic Floor Vacuum
Sweeping or vacuuming by hand is really boring and really time-consuming. It’s physically demanding too.
Ditto for mopping by hand.
Stop banging your head against the wall — or floor — and invest in a robotic floor vacuum with mopping capabilities. Manufacturers like Roborock offer an impressive variety of robotic cleaning aids, and these helpers are a lot more affordable than you might expect.
2. Schedule Package Pickups at Home
If you’re like most folks, you have a healthy online shopping habit. Which means you know that sight-unseen buys don’t always work out.
When the time comes to return something you bought online, retailers on the up-and-up should provide a free return shipping label and packaging. What they won’t do is come to your house and pick up the item for you — that would defeat the purpose of outsourcing the shipping to someone else.
Fortunately, parcel services like UPS and FedEx offer home package pickup. If you find yourself visiting the parcel store or your local dropbox weekly (or more often), it’s worth the effort to set up home pickup.
3. Plan Your Meals a Week in Advance (And Learn to Reuse Ingredients)
Meal planning saves time in several ways:
- Cutting down on unnecessary or last-minute trips to the supermarket
- Reducing the time spent planning meals on the fly
- Reducing cooking time (assuming simple meal ideas)
Aim to plan your meals at least a week in advance, and don’t be shy about reusing simple favorites from week to week.
Once you’re comfortable with the process of planning and executing scratch-made meals, take the next step and use an “ingredient lens” to build and schedule your meals. Plan back-to-back (even back-to-back-to-back) meals that use the same basic ingredients — a broccoli stir fry one night, then chicken with rice and baked broccoli the next, and so on.
4. Invest in a Professional Cleaning Every Month or Quarter
Professional home cleaning is expensive — at least $150 per 1,000 square feet in most markets, not including gratuity.
You’d better save a lot of time for that kind of investment.
Given the cost, the best move for many homeowners when it comes to professional cleaning is to compromise with a monthly or quarterly cleaning, rather than the usual once per week or once per every other week schedule.
This helps establish a “cleanliness baseline” that’s a lot easier and faster to maintain on your own. That’s time saved on each deep clean and on the in-between cleans that are just as important for maintaining your sanity.
5. Systematize Your Storage
How much time do you spend just looking for stuff each month?
If you have lots of casual hobbies, occasional home maintenance obligations, or seasonal lawn and garden work, the answer is probably “more than you should.”
Enough. Carve out a weekend to systematize your home storage and look forward to finding things fast again.
There are plenty of organization methods out there, from Marie Kondo’s famous approach to more obscure systems. Choose whichever fits your personal style — you know best how your mind works when it comes to keeping stuff accessible. And don’t feel pressured to declutter for its own sake; if you have the space and the organizational prowess to manage everything you currently own, why mess with a good thing?
Your Time Is Too Valuable to Waste
You have important things to do. More important than sweeping the floor every evening or visiting the post office every time you need to send something by snail mail, at least.
These time-saving hacks are here to help. Use them to reduce your workload at home and in the office — which are often one and the same, these days — and focus on doing the things that really make you happy. Or create value for you and your family. Or help you scale your business.
Or — you get the idea. The less time you feel like you’re wasting, the happier you’re apt to be.