1 Clothes pegs to keep boots together
If your cloakroom/under stairs cupboard is a riot of wellies and waterproofs and things your other half has “tidied away”, like mine, I find pegging boots together an absolute sanity saver.
2 Ikea pockets
In the same kind of vein, little feet tend to shed shoes all over the house and who has time to hunt for them? Especially when you’re already late for school and they’re knocking lumps out of each other. I hung up an Ikea pocket hanger on the back of the door so now I can *almost* always find a matching pair per child.
3 Newspaper at the bottom of your bin
Simple really, soaks up all the liquid that comes from who knows where and makes changing bin bags slightly less disgusting. I mean it should really be a blue job…
4 Crocs by the back door
Once you get over the shame of actually buying them, you realise they cost the same as a large Starbucks and prevent little dirty stockinged feet traipsing mud into your carpet. They can also usually put them on without help.
5 The sacred comb
If, like me, your kids have unruly wavy hair and risk being dispatched to nursery/school looking like ragamuffins, you need a sacred comb. It lives downstairs in a nominated cupboard and never shall it be moved. Ever.
6 The 5 minute menu
Here’s a two-for-one life hack. Do your grocery shopping online (saving the list in “favourites” saves even more time each week) then as you unpack it, scribble down the use-by dates. Voila. Menu for the week.
7 Stock up on yoghurts
They’re usually on special offer so just buy more than any human could possibly consume in a week. Then, when they throw your painstakingly made lasagne at the wall or turn their noses up at that thing they loved last week, you can stuff them full of Yeo Valley. Also very useful for disguising any medications.
8 Use the time delay
One of my kids is such a light sleeper he’ll be up if a mouse farts, so I can’t do washing after 8pm. The machine’s time delay – a new revelation when we moved house – means I can load it up at night and set it to come on at 6.30am and if I’m REALLY organised, hang it out before we go to school. Just make sure your other half doesn’t hit the off switch in a fit of fire-safety smugness before he goes to bed. Sigh.
9 Embrace tupperware
I mean don’t go to a party or anything, just buy tonnes of matching ones from Ikea or B&M so that ALL THE LIDS FIT.
10 Have a Sharpie handy but for god’s sake out of reach
Mine lives above the oven and is used for just about everything in the world from naming clothing to marking those tupperware to signing parents’ slips.
11 Buy this stamp
12 Put a lock on your bedroom door
13 Invest in a good quality vinyl tablecloth
Not a £3 stretch of cow print plastic from eBay that neither covers the whole table nor withstands sharp pencil points, but a proper, huge, maybe even £15, tablecloth. Then tape it down.
14 Have a no-banana rule in carpeted rooms
When it dries in, it looks like shit.
15 Always carry wipes
Even when your kids are out of nappies, hell, even when you’re going to a business meeting, carry wipes for snotty noses, grazed knees and that moment when you realise there’s banana (or is it shit) on your suit sleeve.
16 Get one of those magic erasers for walls
They’re pretty good on scuff marks and not-too-aggressive colouring pencil. On pen and on tantrum-induced expressions of rage, not so great.
17 Teach your kids to pair socks
Turn it into a massive game and sit back and watch while the worst chore of them all is taken care of.
18 Find 5 good babysitters who drive
Save their numbers on your phone and don’t share them with anyone. Pay them well and leave them brilliant snacks.
19 Double up
Sometimes, hell quite a lot of the time, you have to throw money at a problem. If you’re constantly transferring things – shampoo from shower to gym bag, car seats between cars, the good water bottle from the school bag to the weekend bag – just buy more. Use Gumtree or Ikea or whatever but seriously, make life easier for yourself.
20 ALWAYS KEEP THE IPAD CHARGED
Add your own life hacks in the comments and let’s save our sanity together x