For the average Aussie household, time is a precious commodity. It’s no surprise, with the percentage of families where both parents work full time increasing year on year. According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, when you add up paid work, housework and childcare, fathers work an average 75 hours a week and mothers 77. Balancing work, managing a household, social lives, health and wellbeing can feel overwhelming, but there are plenty of small things you can do to make your time efficient, and get back a few of those hours!
Here are our favourite tips and recommendations from the Food St Community. Got any more to add? Comment below or on our social media pages with your best tips!
1. Day by day shelving
Photo: Maura Mcevoy
If you’ve got the luxury of some spare space by the kitchen, front door or living room, a great organisation hack is ‘day-by-day’ shelving. Get some small baskets and label them with each day, so if you’ve specific items you need to take to school or work on specific days (like sports gear or permission forms), you can pop them in the shelf for their specific day. You could also organise the shelves for different family members.
2. Pre-sort your laundry
Speed up your laundry time by sorting in advance. There are plenty of ways to do this, but our favourite way is having different drawers or baskets for darks, whites and colours, and getting everyone in the family to sort into different baskets when they bring their washing to the laundry. This also helps make sure you’re putting on full loads each time. You can even buy affordable laundry baskets that are specially sectioned off from Kmart, Amazon and more. Hot tip: try to match the size of each basket to the volume of your washing machine.
Ready to level up your sorting game? Give your kids/household members individual laundry bags to speed up sorting after washing - they can hang and fold their own items once the washing is done.
Meal planning in advance has a number of advantages - you can use ingredients across multiple meals to save costs, it cuts out daily decision fatigue, it helps you make healthier choices by having meals at the ready, and means you can shop once for the week instead of making multiple trips.
Level up: If you want to stop your kids (or anyone else in the house) from asking ‘what’s for dinner’ you can outsource the meal plan to them! Reign them in by giving them a list of meals to choose from or making some rules - pasta once a week only, vegetables with every meal etc. Everyone gets some input, and you can get them to make the grocery list too.
Having a weekly cleaner might not be in the budget, but if you’ve got specific jobs you procrastinate from doing, you can easily outsource individual tasks. Whether it’s to a neighbourhood kid (or your own kids!) looking for pocket money, or on Airtasker, you can get some help with smaller, individual tasks without having to pay for a full house clean. We can recommend getting someone else to clean your oven for you!
Two great tips we heard are to use a safety pin, food bag clips or even dedicated ‘sock-locks’ to keep socks together before washing, or to only buy one colour and style of sock so you’re never far from a match
6. Hang laundry on the line in sections
Hang each person’s clothes together in sections in the line - this cuts out the sorting step after you take clothes off the line - they are already in everyone’s piles
Level up: Fold from the line. This works best on an indoor clothes horse, but folding straight off the line also cuts out a laundry step and means everything goes straight into the right pile
If you struggle to get to the post shop during working hours, you can sign up to get your packages delivered to a parcel locker that’s accessible 24/7. You can even send from them too, and it’s free!
Get ready for the morning, the night before. Lay out clothes, gym gear (packed in your bag), make your lunch, get breakfast ingredients ready - anything you can do to help speed up getting out the door. This gives you more leeway for when you hit the snooze button too many times, or when one of the kids spills the milk just as you’re about to leave.
9. Store sheet sets inside of a pillowcase
This hot tip comes straight from Martha Stewart herself, and we love it! Storing your sheet sets inside one of the pillow cases means no more digging around the laundry cupboard trying to find matching items.
Not only is it much faster to choose items online, but you’re much less likely to impulse buy too.
Designate sections to try to fill the dishwasher with things that are stored together. Putting all the plates together, and each type of cutlery in the same section of the basket will make emptying the dishwasher a 2 second job, as you can grab them all together and put them straight in their home.
12. Outsource your meals
Cooking is arguably one of the biggest things we spend our time on each night, and it can make even your favourite meals feel like a drag. With Food St, you don’t need to make any compromises on health, flavour or convenience. Let our talented home cooks prepare their favourite healthy, wholesome meals, ready for you to heat and serve. With a whole community of cooks, there’s a huge variety of ever-changing meals to choose from, so you’re never bored.
Some of our customers prep their whole week with Food St, but most love to just pre-order a few extra meals for the freezer, so they’ve always got something ready for the busy nights, or can give themselves a few nights off each week. Check out the latest meals on the menu here.
Stop with the birthday cards and call your friends instead! You’ll have a much more meaningful conversation that your friend will probably appreciate more than a card, and it’s a great way to regularly keep in touch.
If you love sending cards, do them in a monthly birthday batch - an early card will be just as appreciated as one that’s on time.
There’s no such thing as a super parent, and no one has the perfect balance of work, life, health and social balance. So don’t put those expectations on yourself, and instead know that everyone is compromising in different ways. Choose what you want to prioritise and don’t be scared of outsourcing or eliminating tasks that cause you stress. Treat yourself with kindness and you’ll find everything a lot easier.
What are your favourite tips? Comment below to share your best time savers with the Food St community.
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As a guide:
Protein per serve = 150 - 200g
Total Weight per serve = 300 - 400g
Anything less than these weights are tagged as "LIGHT MEALS"
To help you decide on portion sizing:
|1 Adult||1 Serving|
|2 Adults||2 Servings|
|2 Adults & 2 Children under 10||3 Servings|
|2 Adults, 1 Child under 10 and 1 Older Child||3 Servings|