A lot on your plate? These quick chores won’t make you late

(ARA) – Time is very valuable to busy parents with active lifestyles. Between work, school and family plans, the big rush to get everything accomplished leaves little time to tackle basic household chores.

One room that can often be neglected in all the hustle and bustle is the kitchen, yet it’s also the area of the house where all the activity happens. And when visitors come over, everyone tends to congregate in the kitchen – so it really needs to be an area that you can keep clean without a lot of hassle.

To accomplish all the traditional kitchen chores without taking a lot of valuable time, consider these time savers:

* Set aside a different area in the house for the collection of mail, school homework and work projects. Because the kitchen is often a gathering area, it’s a good idea to keep these items in another storage area so you can easily use the kitchen to cook when needed. It also makes a quick pick up much easier when unexpected visitors stop by.

* Keep food covered in the microwave. A covering – like a dampened paper towel – can help prevent heating food from splattering all over your microwave and leaving a baked-on mess. If you do experience a food spill, clean it up immediately. This will help prevent the need to spend valuable time scraping and scrubbing the microwave to remove these difficult messes later.

* Condense dish time. Only run your dishwasher when it is full to save water and energy. You can do this effectively by using Cascade Complete Action Pacs, which remove stuck-on food and greasy messes up to 24 hours later, guaranteed. So let the breakfast and lunch plates sit in the dishwasher until after your dinner without worrying if they will get clean.

The Cascade Complete Pacs are also powerful enough that you can skip the pre-rinse. Really, you can stop running the faucet and rinsing he dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Just scrape off any scraps, and put them straight in the dishwasher. Skipping the pre-rinse can save up to 2,600 gallons of water per year (based on 12.5 gallons of water used to pre-rinse, at four loads per week).

* Planning can save valuable time. If you plan your family’s meals once a week, and do all the grocery shopping in one trip, you can help save time and money on the purchase of groceries alone. Prepare a list of all the meals you’ll be making, the snacks you’ll need, and don’t forget the breakfast items. From this list, develop a grocery list and then head out to the store. This organization can also help keep your refrigerator cleaner. That’s because food items stored in the fridge will be consumed in a timely manner, preventing accidental spoilage which could result in a mess to clean up.

Making small changes in your kitchen routines – like only running the dish washer when it’s full and not pre-rinsing dishes, or condensing the number of trips you take to the grocery store each week – also helps improve your environmental footprint, in addition to helping you to save time. And each small change you make as a family helps lead to a big environmental impact.

Visit www.facebook.com/futurefriendly to find more future-friendly tips both in the kitchen and around the house your family can participate in.