By Guest Blogger Stacy Leighton

It’s not even 8 am and my neighbor, Sue, waves smiling as she heads off to work. Sue is single, no kids, not a hair out of place, without a care in the world. I used to be Sue. Now I am a mother of two under 5; I am Sisyphus, doomed to a life of struggle to get 8 long steps to my car. Even a trip to the pool is a challenge. I soldier on, balancing a 600 lb. diaper bag and an 800 lb. toddler. Deftly, I scoop up my shoeless 4-year-old, narrowly missing the sprinkler. I am feeling triumphant, shoulders squared, only 7 more steps. And, wait, what?! My hem is stuck in the closed AND LOCKED front door. Thankfully, my toddler is gumming the keys. It is now 7:23.

Sound familiar? Who couldn’t use a few life hacks?! Here are 13 great idea I’ve discovered from other busy families…

  1. Bathe your child in a laundry basket in the tub, preventing his or her toys from floating away. Of course, you will never leave them unattended, but this way, bath time is a more enjoyable experience.
  1. Everyone knows to lay out your clothes the night before. For little ones, choose outfits for the week, fold and hang in a shoe caddy with 7 pockets, label Monday through Sunday, one for each day.
  1. Keep TWO diaper bags, one that stays in the car with the regular essentials (diapers, wipes, toys etc.…) and a small one to take to and fro with the daily consumables (fresh bottles etc.…).
  1. Place command hooks on the back of the high chair for easy access to bibs and rags.
  1. Hang a shoe organizer on the back of the driver’s seat. Fill each pocket with kid’s activities for road trips (books, crayons, toys etc.…)
  1. Keep cleaning supplies up and out of reach; hang a shoe caddy (yes, another shoe caddy; see the Dollar Store) on the inside of a pantry or laundry room door.
  1. Pool Noodles are great things to have! Cut an 8-inch length off the noodle. Then slice down one side, slip this over the edge of the door to keep it from accidentally closing on little fingers. Pool noodles can also be cut to slip inside rain boots to keep them upright. (Don’t forget these other pool noodle ideas that TMoM has shared in the past!)
  1. Use your phone to take pictures of prescriptions and business cards. You will have scrip refill numbers and dates at your fingertips. Business cards will no longer clutter up your wallet.
  1. Batteries rolling around the junk drawer? Here’s how to find out if they are still good. Drop a battery about six inches above a table. If it bounces one timeand falls, over it’s good. If it bounces more than once it is dead or on the way out.
  1. Are you a good egg or a bad egg? Lower an egg into a bowl of cold water. If the egg is fresh, it sinks to the bottom and lies on its side; one week old lies on the bottom slightly bobbing. Floating? Toss it out!
  1. Be the coolest McGyver Mom ever! Take an emptied toilet paper tube, slice once down the middle (leaving an inch on either side), lower your iPhone into it, bottom first and BAM! Instant speaker.
  1. Need a cold beverage in a hurry? Wet a paper towel, wrap it around your drink can and place into the freezer for 15 minutes. Voila! Your drink is nice and cool!
  1. Looking for a safe place to hide your keys, cash and phone at the pool or beach? Clean out a large old sunscreen bottle, cut the top, leaving 1 inch on the back, so that it folds open (or use one with a large mouth, no cutting necessary). Valuables are now incognito.

*This article was reprinted with permission from Forsyth Family magazine