Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Top Ten Time-Saving Tips

With seven children, including five one-year-olds, time is a precious commodity—especially around the holidays! Because of that, I am always on the lookout for ways to save time. Here are my top ten time-saving tips:

1. No sorting laundry---I used to take everyone’s laundry, put it together, sort it into whites, lights, darks and denim, wash each load and then re-sort things back into the appropriate person’s basket. I have recently discovered that in today’s color-fast world, all that sorting is unnecessary. Now I wash each persons clothes separately (except the babies—I still wash all of their clothes together). I wash everything on cold---it all comes out looking great and no time is spent sorting!

2. Pizza Cutters and Kitchen Shears---these are my favorite kitchen tools. They quickly cut everything from chicken to grilled cheese sandwiches into bite size pieces. Even when I just had one baby at a time, I always carried an extra pair of kitchen shears in my diaper bag.

3. Schedule Chores---I have a specific day for doing laundry, changing sheets, giving the babies a bath, etc. I find that if I schedule things, I plan for it and it gets done. If I don’t schedule it, it is too easy to put off.

4. Toy Bins for each day---The babies have way too many toys with a million parts. Instead of letting them play with all the toys everyday, I have divided the toys into five different bins. Each day I pull out a new bin of toys for the babies to play with. This saves time because I don’t have so many toys to clean up at the end of the day. It is also easier to play with the toys because the pieces are kept together. In addition, the babies don’t get sick of seeing the same toys everyday.

5. Freezer Sandwiches---Instead of making sandwiches for Riley and Kaiya’s lunches each morning, I make several sandwiches all at one time and keep them in the freezer. In the morning when things are rushed, I just grab one and throw it in the lunchbox. By lunchtime, the sandwich is thawed and ready to eat. This works great with all kinds of sandwiches—ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, etc. With only two school-age kids, I only have to make sandwiches about once every other week. I am sure that will all change when the quints go to school!


Sandwich production--PB with Nutella and PB with Jelly


6. Pay bills automatically---Each of my regular bills (water, phone, internet, electric, gas, TV, cell phone, mortgage, etc.) is set up to be automatically paid each month. Most companies now have a way to easily set this up. All my bills get paid on time without me doing anything, and I don’t have to spend money on stamps! For places that don’t offer automatic payments (like Riley’s piano teacher and Kaiya’s dance studio), I use my bank’s online bill pay to set up automatic payments.

7. Store trash bags in the bottom of the trash can---I keep a roll of trash bags at the bottom of my trash cans. When the trash needs to be taken out, I don’t have to waste time searching for a new liner. When I have my kids take out the trash, seeing the roll on the bottom of the can is an extra reminder that they need to put a new liner in the can.


8. Brown several pounds of hamburger and freeze---Whenever hamburger goes on sale for a good price, I buy about 10 lbs. Then I brown it all together (usually I do two batches of 5 lbs because of the size of my pot) and divide it into Ziploc freezer bags and toss it in the freezer. When I need it, the meat is very quick to thaw in the microwave and it works great for taco salads, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce, casseroles, etc.

9. Pre-buy toys for birthday parties---Once kids start going to school, it is amazing how many birthday parties they get invited to. If I find a good sale on toys, I will buy several and save them. When a party comes up, I am not forced to go to the store at the last minute and the kids still get to pick something they think their friend will like from the stash of toys I have saved.

10. Music---The power of music is amazing! If I am having troubles getting some of the babies to eat their baby food, I just start singing to them, and that usually distracts them enough that they will eat. When I want my older kids to get their rooms clean in a hurry, I turn on an energetic song (“Flight of the Bumblebees” works particularly well). When several babies are crying and needing my attention all at the same time, I can usually calm them down by singing “The Wheels on the Bus” or some other action song. At my house, The Wiggles rank right up there with disposable diapers and microwaves. Without The Wiggles, my family would never get dinner!

Kaydence, Kassidy, Kyndall, Ryder and Rustin are entranced by The Wiggles

***If anyone has another great time-saving tip, I would love to hear about it!***


In other news.....

This year both Riley and Kaiya entered the PTA Reflections contest. The theme this year was "WOW!". Riley did a video entry and Kaiya submitted a photograph. This week was the school awards ceremony. Both Riley and Kaiya received an "Award of Excellence" for their entries! They were both very excited to receive a trophy--especially Kaiya. This was her first trophy and she insisted on keeping it on display in the kitchen for the whole week. Both entries will go on to compete at the district level.

Riley with his awards. Riley's video was called, "A Trip to Rudy's" and his artist statement was "Wow, it's a lot of work to take five babies out to eat"


Kaiya by her photo entitled, "Wow--It's a Quintmobile"

Jayson's parents were also in town for a few days this week. Plane tickets were super-expensive the week of Thanksgiving, so they decided to come the week before instead. While they were here, we enjoyed shopping at IKEA, eating lunch with Riley and Kaiya at school, visiting with Jayson's brother's family, eating an early Thanksgiving dinner, and watching "Twilight". Of course no trip to Austin can be complete without a trip to Rudy's (Texas BBQ).

Kaydence, Sylvia, Rustin, Kassidy, Kyndall, Ryder and Kevin

Kyndall and Kassidy--these two usually like to ham it up for pictures


Kassidy (at Rudy's)


Kaydence


Rustin


Kyndall


Ryder--who seem to always have something hanging out of his mouth!


I thought this picture of Jayson, his dad and his brother was too funny not to include.


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32 comments:

Becca said...

I'm glad you shared the tip about not sorting laundry. I never would have been brave enough to try it on my own. I will recommend the Shout Color Catcher sheets though, for when you're adding a new dark or bright piece of clothing to the load. They have worked great for me!

BTW, up until it got cold a week or so ago, my daughter and I have been loving your craigslisted baby bike seat. Thanks!

Dan and Merideth said...

I dont even have children [yet] and i thought these 10 tips were wonderful!! I seriously contemplated printing out the list and saving it in a safe spot for when the day comes that i need to remember this!

(... you know, one of those "safe spots" you'll never find again)! HA!

Cassie said...

Hi! I found you on another MOM blog! I LOVE your tips! Thanks for sharing! My favorite is the toys bins! I do put away toys for a couple weeks just to reintroduce them, when I feel they are BORED! But I LOVE this idea! I cant wait to get organized! And they will not get bored as easily! THANKS

Mom to triplets
Cassie

Buggles said...

OMG when did the quints turn into toddlers? I had to look twice at the photo with the two girls!!!

Emma said...

I have to agree about the Wiggles! My 3-year-old loves them, and Eleanor (about the same age as your 5) dances along, and asks for more. In fact, she says 'I want' the second the closing credits music starts, even if she's doing something else at the time! The advantage of being in Australia, is we get their annual Christmas concerts around the country; I'm taking them in a couple of weeks.

twin2trip said...

I think you pretty much covered the time saving tips and then some..I come here to learn from you. Wow the kids are getting so big. I also have to say we have the same bibs from Wal-Mart and they are the greatest things ever.

Can we say cute calender and all of the pics are so darling.

jennifer rogers said...

you don't know me but I love to blog"stalk" your blog...I think that you guys are a very awesome family! I love your toy bin idea and I'm going to sort out my babies toys right now to give him a new selection of toys daily thanks for the great tip!!

takemetohawaii said...

I have been using only cold water, too, for laundry and it's been great! I need to start the washing-one-person's-clothes-at-a-time thing. Sorting never happens and it just sits in the baskets. Ugh. Thanks for all the great tips!

Rachel Corbett said...

Great tips Rachelle- I have been using your sandwich making/ freezing idea since you told me about it 2 years ago! I love it!

[Somebody Loved] said...

I love all your time savers.
I love visiting your blog quite often... I only managed one baby at a time... so I stand in awe.
ToOdLeS.ShEiLa

Jennifer said...

you sound more on top of it than me so you probably have a good plan for getting everyone dressed in the morning...

when i'm doing laundry i go ahead and lay out outfits for each of my kids in one 'tomorrow' basket for the next day.

i also typed up a shopping list categorized by sections in our grocery store. it has all the things we normally purchase. then i can just circle what i need as i run out. if i need something different than the norm, i just jot it down. i used to have these long handwritten notes, and inevitable would have to retrace my steps to go get another vegetable or other item.

i'm just starting to get a handle on cooking in bulk and a pure novice on preparing ahead & freezing foods. would love to hear what's on your menu

Kelly said...

Great tips! I am laundry. Laundry is me. I'll have to try the cold water thing sometime.

Apis Melliflora said...

You've probably heard this before, Rachelle, but you've got the seed of a best-selling book here: Time-Saving Tips from the World's Best Quintuplet Mom. I can envision different brilliant ways your efficient creative mind would organize the book already!

Annie said...

Your tips are great, thanks. The pics are excellent. Congratulations, for the awards kids, good job.

Heart Mommy said...

I loved all your tips.... You probably already do this... But, I am a hair dresser and the thing I have heard over and over is how hard it is to do hair in the morning.... So we have a tackle box with all the "stuff" for hair. Water bottle, little elastics, bows, ribbons, clips, combs... That way it is mobile...together and easy to put things back into at the end of the day. I also swish and swipe while I get ready in the morning... This means I never have to clean the toilet or the sink/cabinet because it is always clean... I have a handy spray right in each bathroom, with a toilet brush by each camode.. I just bush my teeth and clean the sink at the same time. Then take a couple swipe with the toilet brush and I am done. One last thing... I try to make two times as much dinner as I think my family will eat. Then I freeze the other half. It is soooo nice only really cooking half the month... Thanks for all of your tips!!! You're the best.

Crazy Granny said...

You and Jayson are the best.

Barbara Manatee said...

Wow! Great tips - thanks for sharing! I esp like the one about the toy bins...we are almost finished remodeling our basement into a play room and I think I might borrow that idea for all the toys that end up down there after their birthday this week and Christmas next month!

The Queen Vee said...

Melliflora is right, when you have nothing else to do you should write a book, she could edit it for you. Lets see, maybe when the kids are all in college.

I'm not surprised by any of your time saving tips. You remain an absolute marvel to me and I think everyone else.

I can't believe how big the quints are. Love the picture of them watching the Wiggles, another favorite pic, the one of at the end...ahh those Wilkinson men.

Congrats to Riley and Kaiya for their winning reflection projects.

McCulloch Family said...

Thanks for the great tips, the Wiggles were the only way I could clean/shower when the kids were little :) My tip is a food chopper, it's fantastic for all kinds of food, like spaghetti, chicken, veggies, etc and is super fast to chop up lots of plates full of food for dinner. HTH! ~Jeannie

Pink Posts said...

I love that picture of the quints in front of the TV watching Wiggles. Isn't it amazing that all their hair is a different color! I thought that was super neat! Thanks for your blog.

wildingtex said...

Love the toy bin tip and the picture of the quints watching the Wiggles is adorable - I love seeing all their different little heads/ different special children from our Heavenly Father. And CONGRATS to Riley and Kaiya on their Reflections entries - way to go! Shaleen

Moni Graf said...

Thanks for all the great tips! You're SO on top of it!

I have to agree with the previous 2 comments. The shot of the babies in front of the TV floored me. All 5 babies with a different hair color?! How rare is that! Very cool.

Love from KS,
Moni and the Graf Quads

elsies7gifts said...

As another mother of 7 (just not 5 at a time) I have used at least 7 of these tips for years. Most recently I started doing a different childs laundry every day, no sorting, unless they have enough for 2 loads. This has made laundry so much more managable, including the dreaded socks.
I really need to start doing more of #3 - and may try a version of #4. Thanks for sharing

Carpenter Column said...

I can't tell you enough how fun it is to read your quint blog! The crazy Halloween day with the poop and throw up was HILARIOUS!!!

tierd said...

What a great and useful post! Thank you for sharing so much!

Kristen Duke Photography said...

Jayson is funny. And WOW on Reflections (pun intended) a trophy and everything. I just couldn't work with that theme, but I like the angle you took. And I am happy to see you do nutell and PB, never tried that, but since you are more of a health nut than me, its nice to see:) Freezing is a good idea.

Tracy R said...

My husband and myself found out a month ago that we are having quints. I would like a chance to talk with you, if you can find the time. My email is triordan2793@yahoo.com. Thank you

Jill said...

Those were such good tips that I put a post on my blog about them today!

Grandpa Shayne said...

This looks like tried and true advice! My mom had 14 kids with one set of twins, and her mom had 14 kids with two sets of twins. I don't know how they ever did it. Just the old pioneer spirit I guess. My wife and I had 5, but not at the same time.

Amanda said...

"The Wiggles" are just awesome!

Carroll Family said...

Thanks for the tips! I never thought of freezing sandwiches - and here in Arizona maybe I can do that with ham and cheese and they won't be poisoned by the time lunch rolls aroud! This may really help with 4 and soon to be 5 in school!

Jeff and Jenn said...

Wow, I can't believe how much Kaiya looks like you! You can really see it in that picture of her holding up the paper. :)