As a consultant, I put in long hours and a lot of travel. By the time I get home, doing chores and household tasks isn’t on the top of my list. In an effort have more quality time during the weekends, rather than catching up on chores, I opted to engage in some outsourcing services. Below are five ways to automate and outsource domestic activities:
- Hire a housekeeper. One of the most cost effective chore to outsource is cleaning. A typical maid/housekeeper service will cost about $50 – $75 per session. The cost and services performed is negotiated. Services include dusting, wipe all surfaces down, vacuum, clean bathroom, clean kitchen, load dishwasher, clean stovetop, wipe refrigerator surfaces, clean baseboards, clean doors, and overall tiding everything up. I opted for every two week (although I would love to have weekly service). By the end of my two weeks, my home is a nightmare and when I return home from work, it’s sparkling clean. It’s the same feeling I get when I stay at a hotel and return after housekeeper comes through.
- Replenish supplies with Alice. Almost everything you need can be purchased online, including books, music, movies, and so on. For household supplies, we still get in our car and take a trip to Target/Safeway. Instead, consider using Alice, an online tool that lets you purchase household goods direct from the vendor. They use their sourcing tools to get you the best price, and even apply coupons when available. You can even specify the frequency that you go through certain goods, such as every two weeks for toilet paper. Alice will automatically set up orders to replenish your inventory. Finally, it’s free shipping, making the economics of ordering supplies feasible.
- Get fruits and vegetables delivered weekly. Where I live, Farm Fresh To You delivers packages of seasonal fruits and vegetables grown from local farms. During off season, they source the produce from other locations. You can easily stock up on groceries and save money by buying in bulk, however, produce cannot be stocked up. Using this service, I ensure that I get the best produce weekly and reduce time spent at the grocery store stocking up on perishables.
- Have your groceries delivered. Remember the craze during the dot com era where online grocery ordering was all the rage? You can still order the bulk of your groceries online. Some traditional grocery stores now offer delivery service. Safeway offers most items, including meats, fruits, and vegetables.
- Outsource your laundry. Most laundromats offer some type of fluff and fold service. This typically includes sorting your clothes, wash, dry, and fold (match socks as well). I’ve seen prices averaging about $1.25 per pound (which can add up in cost). Add delivery service to the mix and you have completely outsourced your laundering duties.