Home Hacks

So many of us spend so much time fighting our homes, trying to force them into submission, that we’re exhausted.

Lately I’ve been trying to get my home to work for me. I’m working to create a rhythm and systems that work for me and my family, not the other way around.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of these home hacks, in the hope that they’ll be helpful to those of you still fighting the same old battle at home.

My first tip? Make your home work for you before leaving the house of a morning.

Specifically, get your machines ready (think dishwasher, washing machine) and have them running before you head out.

To make this easier, I try to have my laundry sorted the night before, stains sprayed, clothes sitting in the machine ready for the morning.

I also try to have our dishwasher stacked and ready to take the breakfast dishes, then put it on once lunches are made and the kitchen is tidied away.

Then I set my machines to work before I leave the house. When I get home from preschool drop-off, running errands or visiting a friend, I know that two big jobs (washing clothes and washing dishes) will have been done for me.

And seriously, how awesome is that?!

Rather than continue to take these everyday, modern conveniences for granted, and rather than seeing the loading/unloading of these machines as a chore, I now choose to see them as allies. I know that might seem silly (and it really kind of is) but I find being mindful of it makes me more grateful for the modern conveniences we do have access to.

So try to put your machines to work first thing in the morning, and also try to practice gratitude by saying, “Hey, dishwasher, thanks for doing the dishes.”

16 Responses to Home Hacks

  1. I have been trying to get my house to work for me, not against me as well, but this tip needs a word of caution. If you’ll be running major appliances while you’re out, and if something springs a leak or catches fire while you’re not home to do anything about it, your hard work is more than wasted. I would never suggest leaving the washer, dryer, or dishwasher on while you’re out. Yes, the laundry might get done, or you might come home to a lake in your basement. It’s not worth it.

  2. Wouldn’t it make much more sense to run your machines at night, when the cost of electricity is generally lower? Then, there are clean clothes and dishes ready for the start of the new day.

    • Sophie- those with solar power with low feed in tariffs are better to run things during the day, and yes those with offpeak power rates could set it before going to bed to make use of the offpeak rates.
      As Brooke says it is about making the house work for you, and you are right, that includes considering costs of power!

  3. Have you ever had a pot of sloppy oatmeal dumped on top of an already clean load of dishes, or wet athletic shoes when you’re ready to go out the door? That’s what I try to avoid by running the appliances at a set time each day. Day or night? Doesn’t matter so much, just get her done!

  4. I love the idea of this–and used to do it myself–until I read about the dangers that Cheryl outlined above. Even though I’ve never had an appliance fire or flood, I don’t do it any more. I run the dishwasher after dinner. Do laundry then, too. (Which sometimes sits the next day in the washer and then gets dried the next evening. And is just fine.)

  5. Fabulous ideas…I do one step further and use the “delay start” feature on both my appliances. The laundry is ready from the dryer when I wake up (but not getting musty all night long!) and the dishwasher has a delay start by four hours, so I set it for bedtime, that way if my teenagers use dishes after I’ve cleaned up for the evening, I can pop them in, close it back up, and I don’t have stray glasses, etc. in the morning!

  6. When OH is at home I put the washing machine on timer as I leave (for it to come on 2-3 hours later), then the washing is almost finished when he gets up. Then he can hang it out for me :o)

  7. I totally LOVE this approach, especially the “allies” part. A few years ago my dishwaher died and I ungraded to a decent one – which I’ve never had before. It’s miraculous – seriously, you put dirty dishes in and clean ones come out!

    Having suffered for the first 45 years of my life with either no dishwasher or a poorly functioning one, this is something I do NOT take for granted. I love my new dishwasher so much that it even has it’s own little song to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy “Oh I love my dishey washer, I love my dishey washer woo…” I know I’m totally crazy, but reminding myself of how much easier life is with it than without it certainly helps me to not resent the small chore of loading and unloading it.

    One other thought. I don’t know if this is really a serious concern or not, but I once read that you shouldn’t run appliances when you’re not home because they do occasionally short out and can cause a fire. I kinda think that’s overblown, but it might be worth researching. I run mine at night all the time – though I probably wouldn’t run the clothes drier when I’m not around or awake since that’s probably the most likely device to cause a fire. Just a word from the paranoid to brighten your day! :-)

  8. While that seems like a good idea, I personally wouldn’t recommend leaving appliances running without someone home. Living in an apartment, I have had numerous floods from clogged drainage lines, as have 2 neighbors (flooding my apartment, as well). The neighbor’s flood messed up our carpet, since they didn’t clean it up immediately and I had no clue it had come under the wall. I’ve also had a friend whose dishwasher almost started an electrical fire.

  9. I do exact same as brooke. It helps me keep things ticking. Which i struggle with :) Preschool run is short. And our electrity costs same 24 hours. Everyone’s home different – physically, mentally, emotionally ;)

  10. Great ideas! I don’t have a dishwasher or laundry machine, but I do love using my slow cooker. There’s something so fantastic about setting it up in the morning, then coming home later to a finished meal!

  11. Great article Brooke.

    After years of pushing and thrashing this Simplicity thing, I’ve finally loosened my grasp around it so I can be with it and let it succeed.

    I find the Yoga philosophy also taps into this, so practice with detachment can also look like Simplicity without torturing myself that I’m not “there” yet.

    So I’m more finding the flow, the natural rhythm of my family and lifestyle and going from there.

    Thanks for your writings! Love your blog & Instagram! xx

  12. I love your ideas about making the clothes washer and dish washer work for you. I just recently have set the timer on the clothes washer to start around 4:30 a.m. so that when I get up at 5:20 the clothes are done and ready for the dryer. In the dryer they go and the load is almost down by the time I leave for work. I also start my dishwasher as the last thing I do before bed so that all the evening’s dishes are in there. The kids learned that the dishwasher had clean dishes in it when they were eating breakfast so they either unloaded it for me or put their dishes in the sink.
    I don’t get too worried about fire/water/etc. I use my crock pot all the time and there is no difference. Using electricity is using electricity no matter the appliance.
    Thanks for the great ideas/tips/suggestions/motivations!

  13. You’ll be met with an earthquake and woof, then afterward go talk to Pua.
    Leave them out for longer periods of time until the night-time temperatures are above 50 degrees.
    These are found in various shapes as well as sizes.