By Cammie Jones

 

We are all busy people – there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get all of our stuff accomplished. A great line I heard lately is that when someone asks you how your day was, instead of answering “busy,” say, “full.” 

I like that answer so much better because it reminds us that we should be thankful that we do have full days, which to me equals a full life. So, yes, we should be appreciative of our health and well-being and ability to have “full” days, but we can still use a few shortcuts here and there to allow us a little breathing room and, hopefully, a little less stress. I’ve put together a list of services that can help save a little time in your everyday life. 

Pick up/Delivery Dry Cleaning Service  

Susan Littlefield, owner of The Laundry Bag, offers a pick-up and delivery dry cleaning service for people in the CSRA. “We pick up at your home and deliver back the next business day,” she says. Think this will be costly? It’s not. The costs are the same as when you take your clothes to the cleaners yourself. Customers are billed by the month and there are no contracts, no hidden fees and no pickup and delivery fees—it’s all included. If you’re like me and tend to drive around with the clothes to be drycleaned for a week before dropping them off, this is a great time saver for you!  

Meal Delivery Services  

I recently looked into Hello Fresh, mainly because I have seen the ads along with many posts on Facebook. How does it work? Basically Hello Fresh chefs create recipes that are easy to prepare with a balanced diet in mind—keeping it simple yet interesting. The folks at Hello Fresh do the grocery shopping for you and deliver the pre-measured ingredients to your home once a week. Delivery is free and then you prepare the meal according to the instructions provided. They promise not to require any fancy equipment or weird ingredients, and making the meal takes about 30 minutes.

Costs are between $9 and $10 per person per meal, depending on which meal box you choose. Hello Fresh offers a flexible subscription so you can pause your subscription by a certain time and day the week before the ingredients are to be delivered if you will not need a meal that week.

Quick Pick Up Meals (not Fast Food)  

You can always swing by a fast-food drive thru but sometimes you want something healthy without the prep time. Every Thursday, Fresh Market offers a meal to feed a family of four people for $20. You just purchase it, heat it up and dinner is ready. 

The New York Butcher Shoppe is now open in Surrey Center and each week, they offer a meal that includes a main dish, bread and a side. For example, one week it was a lasagna, salad and bread. You can choose between a meal that feeds two or four depending on the size of your family—all for a pretty decent price, considering that you don’t have to do anything but heat it up in the oven!  

Publix also offers its Apron Simple Meals. “Sometimes it’s not a meal idea you need, but a recipe for a great dish.” The Publix website is a great place to look for these delicious recipes. They also actually cook some of these recipes at their local store using the specials of the week if you happen to be grocery shopping when they are cooking—and the ingredients for the recipes are conveniently located in a cooler nearby. All recipes have been tested and are paired with a recommended side dish.

Fast Car Washes  

For about $5 you can zip through a quick car wash and use the vacuum to clean out your car. It’s more of a “rinse-off shower” but it will do the trick when you are in a hurry. I try to do this about once a month or so, just before a road trip or if I am going to have a non-family member adult in my car. The last thing they need is a bunch of sticky cheerios or soccer field debris stuck to their clothes! 

Mobile Pet Grooming Services

Sometimes getting my large and spirited black lab in the car to go get a bath is more trouble than its worth. Now, you don’t have to throw your animal in the car and struggle to get him in the store for his grooming service. There are many mobile pet grooming companies out there today. Grateful Paws and Scissor & Suds are a couple that I know of in the area. 

Daily To-Do Lists  

Okay, this really doesn’t fit in with actual services or products that can help you save time, but making a list for each day will help keep you focused and stay on track. What are the most important things that need to get done that day—are you out of milk? Do you need to send in money to school for the annual family dinner by a certain day? Write it down and make sure to look at that list every morning before your day starts. It can be on your phone or written down, old-school style.  

Why is this a time saver? It will help eliminate those last-minute, frantic trips to the grocery, etc., that were not planned for in your day, thus making you stop whatever other task you were doing at the time. 

Time savers for busy families are a must and choosing one or two to try may give you more time to do what it really important in life – enjoying it!

Cammie Jones is an Augusta freelance writer, community volunteer and mother of three.

This article appears in the May – June 2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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