Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Elul 5765 - September 28, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

66 Timesaving Tips for 5766
by Rosally Saltsman

[Ed.: You'll love these. They make so much sense. And you'll have a good laugh at No. 21! And you'll love No. 23, especially. (No peeking, you've got to read them in sequence!)]

Another year has come, and gone, so let's talk about time — that is saving it, so that next year we won't wonder where it all went. And with a bit extra, we can always find some worthwhile way to spend it.

So some tips:

1. Buy anything that you can in bulk. You save shopping time and often money. Things that can be bought in bulk and don't take up much room include: school supplies, envelopes, stamps, greeting cards, nylons, toiletries, kippa clips, hairpins, and notebooks.

2. Buy several gifts at once. Either for the same person/different occasion or different people/same occasion.

3. Have a specific place for everything. We spend so much time looking for things, which we could save if we knew where everything was. Have a hook for housekeys, a glasses holder for your glasses, and a bookmark for your place in a book.

4. Throw a party! If you have no time to see your friends, throw a potluck dinner for a group of them once or twice a year.

5. Soak your dishes before you do them. This may even be easier than loading and unloading a dishwasher.

6. Make lists! I am a devoted list-making enthusiast. It keeps you organized in ways that nothing else can.

7. Once a week only! Wherever you have to go — library, bank, supermarket, post office — keep your trips down to once a week and do everything you have to at the same time.

8. Use your phone and email. Whatever errands you can do by phone, mail or email, do them. This also saves money.

9. Keep things you use frequently in each room. Have things like pens, pacifiers, paper and phone numbers you call often but don't remember in each room so you don't have to go looking for them when you're in the middle of something.

10. Spread out major events purchases during the year. This may sound like it would take more time but it actually doesn't. If you buy something like balloons when you're in the toy store anyway, then you don't have to go looking for them when you have a birthday party. If you buy new dishes for Pesach when you're buying new cutlery anyway, you'll have it ready when you need it.

11. Make doubles. Have doubles ready of things you might need like extra keys for guests — or for when you can't find yours - glasses or contact lenses and if you find a really comfortable pair of shoes, buy two pair.

12. Have a bank in the house. Keep a "bank" (in an obscure place or container) with extra cash for unexpected emergencies or for when you need extra money for a treat.

13. Order checks for the whole year. Banks limit how many checkbooks you can order at once but you could, over the space of a couple of weeks, order all the checkbooks you'll need for the year. If you calculate how many checks you used last year and order ten percent less with the promise to yourself that you won't write more, you'll also save money.

14. Buy at Gemachs and Bazaars. If you buy things you may need but are not sure you'll use at gemachs and bazaars, you won't spend a lot of money, you'll have the thing if you need it, and, you'll be donating money to a good cause.

15. Pay your bills before they come due. Preferably when they arrive. Paying bills before they're due takes the pressure off and eliminates fines and the time necessary to pay them.

16. Keep the change. Most people always need to make change for one thing or another. Put your change in a bowl or box every day (away from small children) so that when you need small change you'll have it. This can also double as your "bank" if you do it every day.

17. Keep an inventory. Ever spend time looking for something and then remember you lent it to someone? Keep a written inventory of everything you borrow or lend out. That way, you'll know where everything is.

18. Cook in bulk and freeze. But before you freeze, separate into smaller portions and label, of course.

19. Prepack. We spend a lot of wasted time packing and unpacking. Have a prepacked bag ready for places you go regularly. These can be bags for: the park, standard birthday or bar mitzvah gifts, a trip to the maternity hospital or a weekend trip.

20. Attractive Storage. Kids will be more inclined to keep their rooms neat and their things in place if they have nice containers, boxes or small bags for their possessions. This saves cleanup time and cleanup nagging time.

21. Make like a monkey. Well, King Solomon did exhort us to learn from the animals. You can line up the kids one behind another in the morning and have them comb each other's hair. They'll probably have a laugh and get it done more quickly. This saves oodles of time, if you can get them to comb for lice this way and you can just do the last nit picks.

22. Double up. Put things you have to do where you do other things. If you have to sew on a button, or sort laundry you can do it while you're on the phone. You can grade tests, while you're in a waiting room. You can file your nails, while you're filling the tub.

23. Relax. Time taken to relax should be sacred for relaxation. Of course you could relax by doing two relaxing things at once — reading a book while having coffee or doing a crossword puzzle in the bathroom.

24. Call ahead. So much time is wasted when we're given the wrong information. Call even three times to make sure you have the right info regarding times, what you need to bring and whether this trip is necessary at all. If the post office is really open today.

25. Take delivery. Whatever you can have delivered, have delivered: your groceries, your computer supplies, Yated . . .

26. Calculate. Before you let anything into your home, figure out how much time this thing is going to cost you. If it needs special maintenance, reconsider.

27. Go digital. Digital cameras are smaller, more fun and cheaper to use than regular cameras because you only print the pictures you like. You also have to visit the photo shop less often to print them, buy film or make reprints.

28. Share your burdens. Isn't it kind of silly that my neighbor and I both go to the other side of town to get something and then go to the opposite side of town for something else? If neighbors and friends pooled their errands, they would spend less time in transit. Everyone takes a different part of town and runs errands for everybody else. This takes a bit of management, but can pay off big.

29. Divvy it up. When faced with overwhelming tasks, we tend to procrastinate rather than accelerate. If we divide up large looming tasks into small increments, we can get the job done sometimes faster even if we do it in small allotments of time.

30. Email. If you email instead of call and have broadband connection, you not only save the cost of the phone call, you save the time of polite chitchat that accompanies every call. If the person isn't home, you don't have to wonder whether they got the message and communication is more efficient if all you want to do is convey a byte of information.

31. Be productive! We all have hours in which we have spurts of energy or use our time better for certain things. If we maximize those times, we'll spend both less energy and less time.

32. Say "Please!" It is human nature that if you take the time to be considerate and polite, the other person will be more inclined to make things easier for you. If you are dependent on someone for their services or assistance, take the time to make them feel appreciated.

33. Look into the future, as it says in Pirkei Ovos, and be forewarned. You usually get the message that something is going to happen before it does. If your washing machine starts acting up and it looks like the repairman is boycotting you, begin looking around for a new machine. You'll be better able to make a decision about what to buy when it isn't at the last minute.

You should have lots more time at your disposal if you follow even some of these tips. Use it well!

[Part II next year — for Succos edition.]


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