31 Days of mom hacks

In an ode to our moms this May, we’ve put together a list of 31 of the greatest mom-hacks (i.e. shortcuts) of all time. Related to organizing your life, of course.

Tired of losing the sippy cup valves? Try using a plastic strawberry basket or two in your dishwasher to keep all those small items together on the top shelf. No more digging in the drain for small items!

Did you know how useful banana peels can be? They’re good for removing splinters, cleaning scratched CDs, and, yes, polishing your silver. Make your own silver polish by blending banana peels with water to make a paste. Use it as you would any other polish.

As soon as you get a new sweater or jacket with buttons, apply a dab of clear nail polish on the front and back of each button. They’ll stay on longer if the threads are sealed.

Tired of the cord mess at the back of your desk? Use the cardboard insert from a toilet paper or paper towel roll to contain them. Check out the pretty hand-made cord containers we fashioned.

Every time you travel with your family, make packing lists (for each person) on computer. Not only does that make it easier to delegate packing chores, but, if you ever go there again, you’ll already have the list made.

Plan for multiple meals that use the same ingredients. Make meatloaf the same week that you make tacos. Or, make Cobb salads the same week you make chicken sandwiches.

Spring clean your home gradually; deep clean, one room at a time. Put together a schedule of rooms to clean, and give yourself plenty of time to get it all done.

A simple “S” hook on the back of a door can hold your brooms, dusters, mops all while keeping them out of site.

Double the recipe when you cook your family’s favorite meals and freeze the extra serving. The frozen meals will come in handy when you’re pinched for time.

Use an old egg carton as a drawer organizer to wrangle small things, like bobby pins, elastic bands, stickers, or binder clips.

Use old clothes that are beyond repair to stuff a large pillow case. Voila, you have a comfy, new bed for Fido.

Tie plastic bags around your side-view mirrors if you’re expecting sleet, snow, or ice. That way you will have fewer surfaces to scrape clean when the storms are over.

Create a portfolio book for your child’s artwork and achievements. It’ll save you from clutter piling up and give your child their own place to put their masterpieces.

Cook with a cast-iron skillet and skip the dishes. When done cooking, simply put a bit of water in the bottom and let it boil. Scrape off any gunk with a wooden spoon.

Use a hanging shoe rack to organize your outfits (or your kids’) for the week ahead.

Get a small drawstring or canvas bag and throw in a pen, some postage stamps, some stationery and some envelopes. When you walk into the house, put all the mail into the bag straight away. Then whenever you leave the house to do anything, bring the bag with you. That way when you have 5 minutes, you can pay a bill, jot a thank you, or go through your magazines.

When you’re frustrated or sad, roll up your sleeves and clean the house. Seeing your house transform can be very therapeutic! And it’s cheaper than therapy.

Use your vacuum hose to clean out your drier vent. You don’t have to do it every time you vacuum – but at least once every few months.

Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on the day you adjust the clocks for daylight savings.

Create activity sets ahead of time for rainy days.

Dress up an unused fireplace with some candles. You’ll still be able to get the warm “feel” of a fire without the mess that comes with it. It also enables you to enjoy your fireplace year-round.

Use your microwave to shorten cooking time. Zap onions before caramelizing them. Put potatoes (tossed with olive oil, salt, etc.) in for 5-7 minutes before roasting them. Soften butter.

Every time you fill your car up with gas, take two minutes while the tank is filling and empty your car of any and all trash.

Eliminate the need for a big weekly bathroom clean by keeping a sponge under your counter. Every morning, wipe down the sink with a damp sponge. No muss. No fuss.

Once or twice a year, sit down with the school schedules and summer activity schedules and put them into your master calendar. Yes, it takes more in the short-term, but it will save you a lot more time (not to mention sanity) in the long-run.

Keep a list of birthdays for the people you want to remember on paper. And keep a stash of greeting cards along with your list. That way you’ll always be at the ready – and – you’ll never lose the information when your computer crashes.

When you’re chopping vegetables, slip a plastic bag around the edge of the board so you can slide the refuse right into that as you go.

When you make your shopping list, group items according to where they are in the store. That way when you’re there, you won’t waste time zig-zagging all over.

Before you head to bed, empty the dishwasher and set the coffee maker up so that your cup of Joe will be hot and waiting for you when you come down the next morning.

Strengthen your resolve to stick to a task or establish a routine with intentions. For example: I will do the laundry this Wednesday evening when I get home from work at 6:30pm.

Make a chore list every Saturday morning. If you live with others, divide up the list evenly. Add a twist like: the first person up picks their tasks first. Last one up gets the chores nobody wants to do.