Are you always looking for some time to sit down and read that latest book from the library, or watch a special program on TV? If so, here are a few hints to help you arrange that time.

1. When preparing your meals, clean up as you go, washing by hand or putting appropriate items right into the dishwasher. Put away ingredients that need to be stored in the refrigerator or pantry immediately after you use them.

2. Take out your clothes the night before work or school. This way you don't waste valuable time in the morning looking for the right thing to wear. If you can, choose the entire week's worth of clothes for the little ones who can dress themselves or have them choose. No more morning arguments over what to wear.

3. Fill up your gas tank when it hits the quarter of a tank level. In case of a delay in traffic, you won't have to worry about running out of gasoline.

4. Have a routine each week for the days you do errands and shopping. It will save you gasoline since you won't have to keep running out for forgotten items. A shopping list is a MUST, and bring coupons if you use them.

5. Put the perishable groceries in the refrigerator right away directly out of the grocery bags, rather than placing them on the counter first. Wash and cut fruits and veggies before putting them away. Enlist the kids to put away the canned goods.

6. Cook some meats ahead of time and store in the freezer. For those nights you are too busy to start from scratch, this will help you get dinner on the table in a jiffy.

7. Pick a regular day each week to do your bills or any desk-related items. If you don't have bills that week, work on your budget or bank statement. With debit cards , and a few people in the family using them, just a bit of disorganization can lead to overdrafts. Avoid this at all costs.

8. If you are comfortable having bills paid online, sign up for this service. Mark your calendar on what particular day the bills will be paid so you can keep track of what's happening.

9. When making appointments, mark your calendar right away--along with any necessary contact information. If something changes or you have questions, you'll have the information you need to call right there with the date and time of the appointment.

10. Have the family work on planning the weekly agenda, so that there is no one left in the rain waiting for a ride. Try and arrange car pools with other family members and friends whenever possible.

11. Have colors for each family member for towels, toothbrushes, hair care items and more. It can save a lot of time and prevent confusion. Even match the hampers and baskets if possible.

12. Have a place for tote bags and items that are needed every day for various classes and activities, and fill these bags with needed items so you can just 'grab and go.' For example:

Library Bag: When books are read, everyone places the books back into this bag and you can just grab it and take it with you to return.

Dancing school/and or Music lessons Bag: Include all the costumes, shoes, tights, socks, books, instruments, music and other necessities.

Overnight Bag: Inside, store an extra toothbrush and underwear, pjs, small toiletries, a travel hair dryer, an extra hair brush, slippers, a wrinkle-free outfit for the next day and socks. Do this for the kids too, so if grandma or grandpa are missing your little ones they can be ready in no time.

If you do some or all of these items you will be finding that extra time to do the things you enjoy. You will also feel like you are more in control.
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