One time-saving tactic that has been a lifesaver for me in recent months has been the development of a chore schedule. My husband initially balked at the very idea that I would do this. His feeling was that I would become a slave to it, but the fact is, the schedule has freed me up; I was already a slave to needing to get stuff done, and I didn't have a good way to handle it.
I pretty much have one or two chores and a load of laundry scheduled for most weekdays. So, here's what my week looks like:
- Monday: I go shopping after school using the list that I created Sunday. This is supposed to be the major trip for the week where I go to WalMart (evil corporation I know, but cheap and convenient) for groceries and everything else we need. This is also the day I wash bed and couch linens as needed. (Limiting laundry to no more than one load per day and none on weekends has improved my marriage greatly.) In the evening, I change all the towels in the kitchen and the bathrooms so that I can just throw the dirty ones in the washer before I go to work in the morning.
- Tuesday: I clean bathrooms (spot clean or deep clean as needed) and wash a load of towels. My new and exciting washing machine has a delay feature, so I usually throw the laundry in the washer before work and set the delay so that the load is finishing around the time I come home. Then, I can throw the stuff in the dryer right away when I get home without my wet laundry sitting in the washer getting stinky all day.
- Wednesday: I clean the kitchen and wash a load of regular cycle clothes. Wednesday is our church small group night, so I fix a snack for the group instead of a full dinner, so it's a good day to clean the kitchen, since I won't be turning right around and messing it up when I'm finished.
- Thursday: I vacuum and dust (only if I can't stand it) and wash a load of delicate and permanent press clothes. Sometimes, vacuuming has to happen more than once a week because of Scratchy the Dirty Beast, but Thursday is when it officially gets done.
- Friday: Rest and have fun! Also, change the towels in the evening, because they're usually getting yucky by this point, and I hate smelly towels.
- Saturday: Fun fun fun, all day long!
- Sunday: Plan three dinners and a Wednesday night snack for the week. Create grocery list based on meal needs and regular needs. I usually jot my list down on paper while I'm creating and then transfer it to a spreadsheet for easier store-wandering. My spreadsheet is currently on Google docs so my husband and I can make additions and changes during the day on Monday while we're at work. I have it categorized by store area. Here is the list I used yesterday:
Some other food considerations: As far as grocery shopping and cooking, I am usually responsible for weeknight meals, although my wonderful husband pitches in on it too. My husband usually takes care of most weekend meals, and he often cooks a big vat of deliciousness on Sunday night so that we'll have leftovers to take to work for lunches during the week. Many times, he'll do the grocery shopping for the meals he wants to make, unless he gets to me on Sunday or Monday to make his requests known.
Some other management considerations: I have my Remember the Milk service set up to remind me which chores to do each day at work and at home. I also keep daily to-dos on the list, so everything is together. The Remember the Milk gadget for iGoogle is excellent, so I usually just keep iGoogle up all day, now that my OS doesn't hate it anymore. (Incidentally, my other stuff on iGoogle includes Gmail, Google Reader, Facebook, Google Bookmarks, Google Calendar, and Weather. All excellent applications and gadgets.)
Some other approval considerations: I am taking a bit of a leap posting this for everyone to see because the initial reaction of others to my system is usually unmitigated disapproval. If you adopt a system similar to mine, people will call you names and assume that you have a stick up your butt. Let them. If it works for you (as it does for me), do it anyway.