Mommy Hacks – Tips for Improved Efficiency

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Motherhood » Mommy Hacks – Tips for Improved Efficiency

I’ve had a running list in my phone of tips I found that saved me time or money (or made my life much easier). My hope was to work them into posts so I could share them, but the list was getting longer and I was having trouble fitting a bunch of random helpful tips into posts about detoxing your pits or MTHFR mutations. So I decided they deserved their own mommy hacks post, since all of us moms could use a way to do more in less time or get a little more relaxation (ha ha) into life.

Note: I would love more ideas (and so would all of the moms reading I am sure!), so please add your most life-changing hacks in the comments!

Mommy Hacks That Make Life Easier

These are some random “mommy hacks” that save me time or money, or are just plain convenient (like this Ecocentric Mom Box that gets delivered right to your door!). These little things made life so much better when I discovered them, so I figured they’d be worth sharing…

1. Keep an All-In-One Cleaner in Your Purse

I don’t love using hand sanitizers or antibacterial soaps, but my kids have a way of finding germy messes to touch on a regular basis. I’m definitely not scared of a little dirt, but gym floors and public bathrooms are another ball game.

My kids also have a knack for spilling brightly colored substances on their clothing. From paint to beet juice, few shirts make it to the laundry without at least one stain.

I found one solution to both of these problems. I keep these baby wipes in my purse at all times, even when I don’t have a baby in diapers. They double as hand wipes, stain removers, and I use them to wipe down surfaces at restaurants and in airports.

2. Keep Lettuce in Glass Mason Jars

I wish I’d know this years ago…. it would have saved so. much. lettuce. A friend shared this with me long ago and I’ve been doing it since!

The process is simple. Just wash, dry (or use a salad spinner) and pack into glass quart-size mason jars. Greens stay crisp and fresh in jars for 1-2 weeks instead of 3-4 days this way.

To save time, I’ve also pre-packed my favorite salad recipes into these jars. Put the meat or protein on the bottom of the jar with any sauce or dressing, then add any other chopped veggies or toppings, then put the lettuce or spinach in last. I pre-make these for the week, especially if I’m on the go.

When ready to eat, just shake the jar to mix in the dressing and pour out on to a plate. This may not be just a mommy hack, but one for the whole family!

3. A Shirt That Improves Other Shirts

I am by no means a fashionista… I’m more of a yoga pants chic kind of girl, so I don’t typically write about clothing. But, a recent purchase inspired me to break this (self-imposed) no fashion blogging rule, however. It is called a lace extender and it has allowed me to wear shirts I haven’t worn since a decade ago (and now I feel old!).

It is a camisole that can be worn under shirts to make them longer and dress them up a little. I’m long-waisted and no longer like the midriff or hip bone baring styles I wore in college, but I still love some of the shirts I have (that are now *actual* vintage).

These lace extenders have seriously expanded my wardrobe and they even dress up shirts, cardigans, or sweaters.

4. Dry Shampoo

In a perfect world, I wake up early each morning, workout, shower and do my health routine before my children wake up so I am calmly making breakfast when they come downstairs.

In reality, this only happens about half of the time and the other half, I’m on deadline or they wake up early so I don’t have time to wash my hair before they wake up. On these days, dry shampoo is my best friend.

I used to make my own with this recipe but I now use my own brand of dry shampoo with Wellnesse, my line of clean and natural personal care products.

5. Reuse Old Socks

Our home could be re-named the land of mismatched socks. I don’t know how, but somehow my children manage to lose, ruin or hide socks, but only one of them…

My ever-growing mismatched sock bin was frustrating me, until my daughter figured out how to make kid-sized heat packs out of old socks, (and until we figured out we could mop the floor with them!).

Here is the tutorial for the homemade heating pads (make them smaller for kid-sized hand warmers!).

For floor mopping, I just give each child a spray bottle of diluted Branch Basics cleaner, let them all put on several layers of mismatched socks and “skate” on the floor. They spray a spot and then glide over it to clean it. As socks get dirty, they just peel them off to get to a clean layer.

Result? A fun activity for the kids and a clean floor for me!

6. Get a Diva Cup

So we all know tampons and pads are unhealthy… didn’t know? Here’s why.

If I had to name one thing that has saved me time, money and hassle, it would be my menstrual cup. Yes, it is strange to adjust to. Yes, my hubby still thinks it is weird, but it is the closest thing to not having a period when you’re on your period. Here’s why I love it:

  • My period has decreased in length by 1-2 days per month since I started using it (other women report this as well and also report having their cramps vanish).
  • I only have to change it every 12-24 hours and in between, it is like not having a period. I can swim, run, exercise, sleep without worrying about changing it.
  • It has saved me up to $10 a month on buying natural feminine care products.

Here is the model I have (get this one if you haven’t had kids) and I LOVE it (strange to say about a menstrual product). Seriously, try it… I dare you! TIP: if it is uncomfortable or leaks, try turning it inside out…

7. Foaming Hand Soap

It took me a while to discover this one. It sounds like a little thing, but when you have six kids and the hand soap is always running out, it’s important! Switching out our hand soap dispenser for one that foams makes our soap last so much longer (and cleans hands better since the kids rarely wash their hands long enough to make the soap suds).

To make it easy, I use a non-toxic, natural soap concentrate that I use everywhere else in the house. I just pour a little in, add lots of water, and there it is… soap that lasts for a month (or at least a week!) without a trip to the store.

I’ve also made my own hand soap from castile soap. Here’s the tutorial.

8. Whiten Teeth With Charcoal

You know how a little mascara can change your whole look? If you’ve never whitened your teeth, watch out, it’s addictive because it makes just as much of a difference! I’ve whitened my teeth (like really whitened them) completely naturally with natural coconut charcoal (not the stuff from the grill!) and it has improved my oral health in the process.

It sounds strange (and looks even stranger, because your teeth are black for a while!) but it works. Here’s the how-to. If you really want to kick it up a notch, I’ve also used this LED light system that comes with a mess-free tray for applying the activated charcoal to your teeth. It works even better!

9. Get Actual Sleep

I’ve been at this mommy thing for a few years now, and I’m convinced… beyond diet, supplements, or exercise, sleep is the thing that matters most. I know it sounds like an oxymoron to suggest one actually sleeps as a parent, but there are a couple of hacks that have helped me make the most of the sleep I do get.

Of course, the first tip is to actually go to bed at a reasonable hour! This is tough as moms because nighttime is often our only alone time. The next time you’re trying to convince yourself to put down the Internet and go to bed, try this convincing podcast on the benefits of sleep. It changed how I prioritize it for sure!

Here are some other things that help (even moms) get more sleep:

  • a cup of reishi tea before bed
  • magnesium oil on my feet (this works for kids too)
  • blackout curtains for total darkness
  • some Brain.fm music (with sound frequencies that induce sleep – I also like Wholetones)
  • a sleep tracker like Oura Ring to keep me accountable (it’s one of the few that works in airplane mode for reduced EMFs)
  • staying cool while I sleep

For a full description of my bedtime routine, see this post.

More Mommy Hacks Please!

I know there are about one million other life-changing mommy hacks I didn’t list, so please share the love and tell us below what you’ve found that makes your life as a mom easier, better, and healthier!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Sheila Kilbane, MD, a board-certified pediatrician, trained in integrative medicine. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

What tips and “mommy hacks” do you have to help save time and money? Share your best ones below!

Sources
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

58 responses to “Mommy Hacks – Tips for Improved Efficiency”

  1. Shauna Avatar

    I LOVE my Diva cup!!! I will never go back to tampons again! So comfortable, you hardly notice it, less expensive, and sooo much better for my body. After only a couple of months, I notice that my cramps are less and my period isn’t so long or heavy. And, since it IS heavy naturally, I’ve also started using cloth pads, saving the Diva cup for heavier days. Oh.my.gosh…so comfortable!! I will never, EVER go back to store-bought tampons and pads. Ladies, if you’ve been on the fence about this, TRY IT! You will not regret it!

  2. Kathy S Avatar

    Question: do you refrigerate the jars of lettuce/salad? Thanks for the tips.
    My daughter (6) loves to pretend she’s skating on the floor, and because of you I have Branch Basics so maybe we’ll give it a shot — great way to use up her incredible energy.

  3. Jordan Avatar

    Awesome post! I am loving that lacey cami. I had no idea charcoal can clean your teeth, either!

  4. antonia Avatar

    I dont normaly post but I LOVE my diva cup. My cramps all but dissappeared, to answer the question of shorter menstration most people were tampons. Tampons can cause you to not bleed correctly or can stop you from bleeding. I personaly can not use tampons because of this, I clot and the tampons mess up my abbility to bleed correctly. So based off of my personal experience if someone who has been using tampons switches to the cup thier body is probably able to do what it needs to do faster because there is nothing in the way. Also you dont smell if switching from pads to the cup the smell is gone pif gone. Best investment I made last year. While I am posting thanks for all the helpful things you blog about this is my go to place.

  5. Patricia Avatar

    The spare socks work great as bottle covers for my glass water bottles that I take with me when I go out. Then when I accidentally drop my bottle and it breaks, the glass is contained in the sock. This is what I do: I put the bottle into the sock and then at the top I put a rubber band below where the lid is and then fold back over the bottle. Makes it easier to hold onto also.

    1. Betsy Avatar

      That is a fantastic idea for the water bottles.

      I’ve also learned that canners use the elastic part (top) of socks to wrap the jars so they don’t bang next to one another – whether on shelves or boxed. Also they sometimes use rubber bands – from pics I’ve seen them with 2 bands – one closer to the top & the other closer to the bottom of the jars.

      Always great to read about re-using ‘stuff’ – especially socks – which I recently took a sack full to the Salvation Army and through away some with holes. Now I could use the top parts…. Oh well I’m sure I’ll remember next time.

  6. Anna Avatar

    I would bold that part about turning the Diva cup inside out, after a year of a love/hate relationship with that thing I finally flipped it and it is the best thing ever! I too have noticed at least a day, probably closer to two day shorter periods!

    1. Emily Avatar

      I flipped my diva cup inside out and I seriously could not get it out. Super weird, scary feeling. My hubby had to get it out. Super humbling and as much as I liked using mine, I couldn’t get past the feeling of not being able to grab it????

      1. Abbey Avatar

        I was wondering about that, what is there to grab hold of if its inside out??

  7. Kelly Avatar

    Well, that’s what I get for moving fast! *blushing* Sorry – meant to say, I really liked your post about the “mom I’m bored” jar.

    Hope to hear from you!

    – Kelly

  8. Kathy Avatar

    I read your blog almost daily and really enjoy your thoughts and tips. I’m 67, well past the mama stage, but most of your posts are still relevant at my age. I just started using Branch Basics and that stuff is AMAZING! For anyone not inclined to DIY for whatever reason, check out their website. And no, I’m not on their payroll. 😉

  9. Galia Avatar

    Thank you for the ideas. I never listen about the diva cup until I read your blog. I promise I will try. I love the idea of lettuce and spinach in a jar. One of my favourites products is the coconut oil , has a lots of ways to use it. One is to remove the makeup ;).

  10. Queta Avatar

    I haven’t used a Diva Cup, but I have used Soft Cups and they are awesome. I have PCOS so my cycle is super heavy and they work great at preventing most (not all) leaks.

    1. Jenny Avatar

      I have two children but had to have cesareans. Do I use the diva cup for moms or people who have not had children? Thanks!

      1. Natalie Avatar

        I think you should use the post child birth one even for a CS. I do because when I was fitted for a diaphragm my doc said the weight of the pregnancy is enough to change things around. And the post baby one has worked for me. Hope it works for you. I used one called a Keeper for 7 years and loved it! Upgraded after the babe. Hope that helps.

        1. Jenny Avatar

          Thank you! After reading more it mentioned that after 30 you should use the post-childbirth version. I’m definitely over 30! ????

  11. Amy Avatar

    Just wondering…is it maybe a bad thing that your period length has decreased? Is that messing with what nature intended and causing a problem elsewhere?
    I despise my period }:-( ….and wouldn’t mind a shorter one…I am just wondering what your thoughts are on that. Thanks!!

    1. Charlotte Avatar

      I use the Lunette cup, when not pregnant, and the decrease in cycle length is due to not exposing your body to the chemicals they put in disposable pads and tampons. The chemicals that they use can make women’s periods heavier, longer, and have cramps- so they have to spend more money on menstrual products. When you use a silicon cup you are eliminating those chemicals and it can therefore reduce the symptoms of your period to what it would naturally be without the expose to the chemicals. Hope this answer helps.

      1. Becs Avatar

        Hi there, I had read that the menstrual cup may shorten your period length due to the fact that when you insert it, it stays in by creating a slight vacuum – and then when you remove it to empty, the vacuum just helps with the menstrual blood being removed slightly quicker. So not messing with nature, rather just helping it along 😉

  12. sarah Avatar

    I like these ideas. I already do some of them. I have been using the Diva cup for 2 1/2 years (minus the 9 months I was pregnant) and my cycle length has actually increased from 7 days to 9 days. I didn’t think it had anything to do with the cup, but now I wonder since you mentioned it.

    1. Anna Avatar

      It very likely has nothing to do with the cup. I’m confused about the anecdotal reports of a shorter cycle from the cup, as well. It’s just something we bleed into; it doesn’t have any magical powers to lengthen or shorten our cycles.

      1. Chelle H. Avatar
        Chelle H.

        Generally what happens is the chemicals/toxins from the pads/tampons have built up over the years, causing longer periods. So when you switch to a toxin-free option (cups or mama cloth), your period tends to shorten back to what it *should* have been for you. I have heard other stories of periods lengthening, but haven’t delved into any research on it – if there is any.

  13. beckie Avatar

    Love this post. I have a Luna cup and started using it a few cycles ago and for the first time in my life my period was 6 days rather than 7.

  14. Rachel Avatar

    great tips, Katie!
    The number-one thing I’ve done to simplify my life is to subscribe to a real food menu planner (from Holistic Squid). It keeps me on track nutritionally with no planning or stress. Love it!

  15. Christina Avatar

    Thanks!

    1. You could also make your own lace camisole if you’re handy with needle & thread or sewing machine.
    2. You could also re-use the socks to wash delicates, such as bras and sexy underwear. Just put the bra inside the sock and viola.
    3. Could you use activated charcoal for the teeth?
    4. Just bought a femme-cup, but I never thought about the having have had kids before. I haven’t used it yet. Hope it works.
    5. I saw the other day that if you get a food-saver with a canning extension, you could vacuum out the air and make the lettuce last even longer. I totally want one.

  16. Tracy Avatar

    Hey there. Thank you for all of your wonderful advice and ideas. I am very interested in trying the natural hair color methods. My hair has been partially highlighted in the past (and is badly in need of a touch up!). Has anyone tried the chamomile/calendula with previously color treated hair? Also, do I need to get the dried flowers, or will this method work with a high quality tea from my health food store?

    Thanks again!

    1. terry Avatar

      A huge boon for me was a trick my grandmother taught me. We live in an area where water deposits form, look unsightly and damage faucet fixtures, even with a water softener. Consistent early training with family members, from the time they are held up or are on a stepstool at the sink establishes this one habit that makes deposits not even form, and makes cleaning sinks a breeze, with little scrubbing. It extends to use of the kitchen sink, too when kids get older. The habit is: when finished using the sink and drying hands, use the towel to wipe sink, counter and around faucet fixtures, before replacing the towel on the towel bar. Every time. Every person. It takes less than 30 seconds. Before I started this, towels didnt even make it to be hung after use. Yes, the training took little time but on a regular basis until it became routine. I wash hand towels more often, but cleaning the sinks is a breeze, a spritz of vinegar/water or whatever you use to clean and disinfect, and a quick buff, seldom any heavy scrubbing required. The sinks always look clean, my daily bathroom cleaning is easier, and once we started doing it the routine was in place and I seldom have to remind family members.

      1. Becky Avatar

        I have both a Diva and a Luna cup and love them both except for use during water sports. I have no issues with leaking on dry land but can’t seem to keep the seal from releasing and allowing water in:(

  17. Ashley White Avatar
    Ashley White

    Thanks for the tips! I love your blog. When it comes to the tank-tops- I have made a promise to myself not to buy clothes that I can’t be reasonably sure were not made in a sweatshop or in an unethical manner. Basically I rely on thorough social responsibility statements and practices being published on websites…and this company doesn’t seem to have any of that! Are you aware of their policies so that I can feel good about purchasing from them?

  18. Lea Avatar

    Awesome tips, thanks! Maybe you covered this else where, but do you bleach or color your hair? What do you use? Also….love your gorgeous new photo, your improving health definitely shines through!!!

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