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Time-Saving Tips for Busy Parents

How Have You Freed Up Your Time?

Real Simple readers reveal their strategies for eliminating obligations from their schedules.

Day plannerKate Sears

Shaving Hours Off Getting Ready

It used to take me two or three hours to wash, dry, and style my long, thick hair. Then a friend told me about Locks of Love, an organization that accepts donations of hair to make wigs for children suffering from disease-related hair loss. I cut off 15 inches and sent it to the organization, and now I have a cute, shorter style that I no longer have to spend hours styling.
Laura Sencabaugh
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Finding Shortcuts at Home

I stopped sorting and matching socks for my family of five. It was such a waste of time. Now we pin our socks together before throwing them into the hamper, and they never get lost.
C. Franck
Richmond, Virginia

I take all my ironing to a local dry cleaner, where I pay $1 per shirt for pressing. It saves me hours of work every week.
Della Nichols
Roseville, California

I do not wash dishes anymore. When I have company, I use china, but when it's just my family, I use paper goods. But I do make sure to buy disposable items that are environmentally friendly and recyclable.
Tania Hammer
Far Rockaway, New York

I hired my niece to dust and vacuum my house. She earns some money, and I get free time.
Lori Sandstedt
Redlands, California

The last time I moved, I threw away old receipts, statements, and college papers that I had been sorting and filing for years. Not only did I get rid of a burdensome system but I also ran the paper through a shredder and used the scraps in place of Styrofoam to pack my fragile items for the move.
Basma Faris
Bronx, New York

I handed over the bill-paying duties to my husband. This way he shares the worry, completes a household chore, and even spends less money than he used to.
M. Dodds
Vancouver, British Columbia

I take out the recycling every other week instead of every week. It takes just as much effort to lug a half-empty bin to the curb as a full one, so why not wait?
Mary Hiser
Columbus, Ohio

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