Did you know the average American spends 14 hours per week doing chores around their home and only 4 hours relaxing? Seems like it should be the other way around if you ask me! With a few minor tweaks to your routine, I bet you’ll be able to get back several of those hours for whatever else you want to do, from work to exercise or quality time with your kids. Below are a few ideas to get you started.

Woman doing dishes in her kitchen.

1. Embrace kitchen simplicity.

Not only are simple foods typically healthier, the fewer pots you get dirty, the fewer you have to clean. Salmon cooked in the oven, plus broccoli cooked on the stove, and rice microwaved in a pouch equals a delicious dinner for the price of only two dirty pans. Pasta cooked in one pot and veggies and shrimp sautéed in another likewise only produces two dirty dishes. Simplicity doesn’t have to sacrifice quality or taste but I promise you’ll be happier with less cleanup time after your meal.

2. Make emptying the dishwasher a game.

My best time for emptying a full load is 3 minutes and 45 seconds, a time I continuously try to beat, and someday I’m sure I will. Try this out next time and let me know what your time is!

3. Don’t grocery shop right after work.

That’s when everyone does it, so the parking lot is more crowded, the checkout lines are longer, and it’s harder to get the deli worker’s attention. Readers Digest reported that less than 5% of store trips occur between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., even though most stores are open during those hours. Wednesday is the least busy day. So go grocery shopping on Wednesday night (if that works for you) and you’ll be able to get in and out in a flash–or use the aisles for bowling practice (kidding, sort of).

4. Don’t do chores on weekends.

You’re probably thinking, “when else am I supposed to do them?” but cutting chores out of the weekend saves you time in several ways. First, it forces you to seize small bits of time through the week to get whatever has to happen done (instead of checking your email again). Second, it forces you to lower your standards which is important. Chores expand to fill the available space. If you have less time, chores will take less time. And finally, it encourages you to hire someone for the bigger tasks.

Woman doing laundry with her son.

5. Create less Laundry

I’m definitely not advocating bad hygiene. But playing offense on the laundry is often more smart than smelly. Towels can be re-used, jeans and pajamas can be re-worn, kids can wear sandals (without socks) in the summer. If it smells you should obviously wash it but there is no need to pile up the laundry for no reason!

Let me know if you decide to embrace any of these tips. They’ve worked for me and I hope you can find some value in them as well!