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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tips on Tuesday: Time Saving Ideas

Today as I was running late (again) for Bible Study, I realized I hadn't written my Tips column for today. Oops! On my 'to do list' for last night, but we took the kids to the local indoor water park and ended up staying from opening to almost closing time. (Photos coming tomorrow.) I was so pooped, I got the kids in bed, made lunches and went to bed myself.

So, back to this morning and being late...again...and I'm thinking of the things I could have done to get me out sooner. I self-blogged this post to the DJ on the radio and he seemed to like it and Rebekah said, "Funny mommy!" which means it must be cutting edge stuff.

Here are some tips I usually use to try to help keep us close to on time. Some of these are things that you will think I'm crazy for suggesting, but think about it a little longer and you might see my point.
  1. Lay out clothes the night before. We don't allow swapping (much) in the morning unless a weather change has occurred. Get the hassle of choices out on the way to bed and lay everything out (including socks, shoes and underwear) in one spot for each child.
  2. If your kids are up late and you know morning will be a struggle, might I suggest "clothes for jammies"? (Don't call me crazy yet!) I know it sounds dumb, but dressing them in wrinkle-free clothes at bedtime means they can get up and already be dressed for the day. We used to do this a lot when we had late church evenings followed by early morning appointments. Sweatpants and a t-shirt are great for this. Babies have all kinds of clothes that are almost PJ's. Use them!
  3. For kids old enough to feed themselves, you can get their breakfast ready before bed. Put the cereal in a bowl on the table with a spoon and pour milk into their glass in the fridge. They pour part on the cereal and drink the rest. Or if they eat Nutrigrain or other bars like my kids do, I leave them on the table. When they couldn't open the packages, I'd open and put in a baggie for them to have in the morning.
  4. Keep backpacks and diaper bags loaded and ready. Put them in the same place every day. If there is something that needs to go into the bag in the morning (lunch or papers) you can put a clothespin on the bag or safety pin a bright colored cloth to the bag. It's a visual reminder that something is missing.
  5. As much as possible, handle the details after school the night before. Take the first 10 minutes home from school to go through the mounds of paper and sign permission slips, write checks, etc. Then it's done and you don't have to worry about trying to scramble in the morning to prepare everything.
  6. On a larger scale, create a check list for when you travel. Each person has a list of what they need to pack and bring. Keep it updated with each trip you take. Then check off and you know you have it all. **Note**If you go to the same place every year, make a special list for that place (like Grandma's). Chances are she might have some of the things a hotel wouldn't so I have a hotel list as well as a list for each grandparent.
  7. Do you find it hard to read your magazines? Carry some in the car and when you are stopped for those 'extras' that happen in life---like waiting for the last child to get out of school to the van, unexpected dr. appt. or while hubby is driving---pick one up and read an article or two.

Hopefully these tips will help you put a little time back onto your clock. Although the biggest tip I have is very tongue in cheek! I know each child has added between 5-10 minutes to my late factor. I used to be the 5 minute early girl, then the 2nd one came and I was exactly on time, now with #3, forget being on time. Isn't 10 minutes late the NEW early??

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