Want to save time? Want to make your job as a parent easier? Who doesn’t?
Mumsnet mums have been offering up their favourite life hacks on the UK website, and some of them are genius.
We’ve sifted through the hundreds put forward to bring you the very best.
1. For school.
Buy an extra school uniform one size too large. Your child will grow into it, plus you’ll always have a spare if needed.
Have a plastic tub by the front door for each child that their hats, school bag, library bag, etc, can go in. Even better if you have a cupboard to hide the tubs in.
Do a week’s worth of sandwiches and freeze. Just take out in the morning and they’ll be defrosted by lunchtime.
2. For food.
Batch prepare and freeze bags of veggies and spices. Then, in the morning, dump it in the slow cooker with a little stock and some fresh meat.
Give each family member a snack box to last the week. Everyone gets to choose seven treats each. That stops one kid eating all the snacks, or another complaining that their favourite chips are gone.
3. For laundry.
Only buy socks in the one colour. Then you don’t have to fluff around matching them up.
When washing bedding, store the clean sheet set inside one of the matching pillowcases so you’re never hunting for the right size sheet.
Colour code your family. Each family member chooses a different colour, then all their towels, socks, etc, are purchased in this colour. Makes laundry and identifying soggy towels in the bathroom much easier.
With small children, layer the bedding so it goes sheet, waterproof comforter, sheet, waterproof comforter. If they do a wee or throw up in the middle of the night, you just peel the top layer off.
4. For keeping the house tidy.
When tipping out a box of Lego, do it on a sheet or blanket. When it’s time to put it away, grab the corners and tip it back into the box. This saves hours and lots of injuries.
Give the kids a drawer each for all their drawings and their “important” papers and those little bits that have no home. It gets them to keep their bits together, and once it’s full, they can decide what goes and stays.
Train everyone in your household to put dirty cups, etc, straight in the dishwasher and not in the sink. Do the same as you cook. It keeps the kitchen much clearer.
Put plants and fairy lights in the house. It makes the house look pretty and cared for, even if it needs a clean. If guests pop by, they’re more interested in the fairy lights (and wine) than anything else.
LISTEN: Do you have to stay for the whole school concert? (Post continues below…)
5. For clothes.
Put a dab of clear nail varnish in the centre of every button on new shirts. You should never have to sew on a button after that.
Buy a plastic shoe size measurer. That way, you can measure your kids’ feet before you shop. It also means you can buy football boots, etc, online.
6. For general organisation.
Take a photo of any party invitations or important school letters on your phone. It’s easier to find the info when you need it.
Buy all your birthday cards in one hit at the start of the year, along with all wrapping paper and gift tags, so you’re all set for kids’ party invites. Have a present box and fill it with things bought when on special: books, coloured pens, etc.
Blackboard paint a wall in the kitchen behind the door (so not that obvious) and use for shopping list, meal plans, etc.
7. Plus, a couple of controversial hacks.
Take pyjamas to after-school swimming lessons so your children can get straight into them after showering.
When you’re going out somewhere, dress your kids the same, and if you lose one, you can point at the other and say, “Like this one, but older (or younger).” Works best if you have two kids of the same sex, obviously.