Top 10 Tools to Lighten Your Load Right Now
Let’s face it - we are ALL doing too much. I mean it - too many of us are chasing the dream of Pinterest-perfect homes (guilty as charged here), insanely accomplished offspring, healthy gourmet meals (now that one, I cannot be accused of!), stunning social media presences for our businesses & causes, & on…and on. One of the reasons I created this blog was to share tips & hacks that can help us live more fully — part of that, from my vantage point, is finding short-cuts & ways to affordably outsource the stuff we “have” to do so we have more time & energy for the things that are really meaningful to us.
Here’s my list of top 10 tools — which ones did I miss?? Leave a comment if you can & I’ll make sure to spread word about it in upcoming posts.
1. Wyzant - thank you to my friend Margaret for this one! Wyzant is an online national network of tutors — just put in your zipcode & your child’s needs & you’ll see a list of qualified tutors across range of subjects. My youngest daughter has made liberal use of this for variety of subjects, whether prepping for AP tests or just regular coursework. And you put your credit card in so all rates/payments are securely paid online, no hassle. A lifesaver, even on short notice!
2. Care.com — another workhorse in the outsourcing department, Care.com was of course started by a woman, CEO/founder Sheila Marcelo. I’ve used it a lot over the years to find babysitters, occasional extra household help, and even for others in my extended family when we needed an extra pair of hands if there was a crisis and I couldn’t be there in person. There’s a month-to-month subscription to get access to their listings, so if you just need help on a one-time basis you pay for 1 month’s access (which has consistently given me extensive quality applicants). Thanks, Sara, for turning me onto this when I first went back to work!
3. Dogvacay.com — you’re starting to see a pattern here I bet…? Yup, an online network of pet sitters. They came to my rescue when we got a puppy 2 years ago and I had to go to my older daughter’s lacrosse overnight trip (oddly not trusting my husband to feed the little guy and let him out every 2 hours for a full weekend - hmmmm….). Lots of options at all different price points.
4. TaskRabbit.com - this is literally your jack of all trades in the outsourcing department. I’ve had good luck with their service for finding local movers, guys to set up IKEA furniture (which took them like 15 minutes where it would have taken me all day!), & a handyman. I feel like the quality is a little bit more uneven on this network though so just do a little online homework, look at their reviews & make sure they seem up to the job.
5. Thumbtack.com — same idea as TaskRabbit.com but I add them to your consideration because they seem to have slightly different geographic profile, so depending where you live and what you’re looking for, you might want this option. I used them to find a long distance mover from DC to New Hampshire (who were incredible!), a party photographer, and my daughter used them to find a makeup artist. Similar caveat - just check reviews first.
6. Freecycle.org — this one is golden when it works. People post stuff they want to give away and then interested respondants write you back to say if/when they can come by to take it off your hands - for free. This was hugely helpful when my husband & I decided to get rid of the seriously old and immensely heavy pool table in our basement that came with the house when we bought it (making room for a ping pong table of course:). We would have paid $$ to have it taken out by another service, but a nice church group wanted it for their community area & brought out a whole crew to move it. Win, win for both of us!
7. Waze.com — please tell me you know about this one. If not, I have no idea how you get anywhere in a busy metropolitan area!? Or maybe you’re lucky enough to live somewhere without any traffic?? Ok, we can’t be friends - I’m too jealous. Well, if you ever visit me in Washington DC, get this (free) app and you’ll slice your commute time in half on a good day.
8. Instacart.com or Peapod.com — I positively hate going to the grocery store. Do you?? If so, these are a couple of gems to use for online ordering from Whole Foods and Giant, delivered at variety of convenient times (at least in my area). There’s a very small surcharge per order but it saves so much time and I guess gas money too. Both of them have ability to save your previous orders so ordering gets easier each time you do it.
9. Upwork.com - Do you have hobby, a side hustle, or something you want to showcase online? I recommend this site to anyone who wants to find a digital/design guru for their pet project — it’s how I found the incredibly talented Christiane who helps me with this very blog! Stay tuned — several of my friends & fellow blog readers are cooking up stuff with Upwork.com right now and I look forward to spreading the word about their amazing businesses after they launch.
10. The “Calm” app — if none of the above gives you the break and easier load you want, then hit the Apple Apps store and dowload this on your phone. Beautiful imagery and guided meditations just might be just what you need!
Note to self: do less. Live more. Workin’ on it….