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The Chore-Free Weekend

Weekends can mean a lot of work for parents. These hacks and tips get rid of (most of) the chores, and free up time for the things that matter.

The following was produced in partnership with Walmart Grocery Pickup & Delivery.

A weekend at home is not exactly a break for parents. Your routine is vital for maintaining your home, feeding and clothing your family, and planning for the weekend ahead. Also, you have to take care of the kids for the entire day. In other words, it’s a lot of work. But it doesn’t have to be. With a little pre-planning, some smart shortcuts, and a dad hack or two, your Saturday and Sunday can be nearly entirely chore-free. (Really.) Here’s how to make it happen.

Tip #1: Get Your Groceries Without Shopping

Grocery shopping can prove to be a pleasant, relaxing activity. But it also is usually time-consuming. Thanks to the Walmart Grocery Pickup, you can skip right to loading the car. While you’re out with the family at the park or taking a picnic break, pull up the app and start searching for what you need for the week. If you’ve used the app before, you will already have your family’s go-to items stored as favorites, making it easy and quick to call up a grocery list. Once everything’s in your cart, schedule a pickup time that coincides with your return trip home. Before you set out for the store, check in on the app, letting Walmart employees know you’re on the way and that they should have your order ready to go. Once you pull into the Walmart parking lot and find the spaces near the store designated for Walmart Pickup, you simply wait for the associates to load your order into your car. You’ll be back on the road, fully stocked for the week, before your kids even realize you stopped.

Tip #2: Prep the Week’s Meals More Efficiently

Shopping ingredient by ingredient is a tedious and inefficient way to think about the week’s groceries. Instead, think of your grocery shopping categorically. That means you first get your daily protein (i.e. chicken for Monday and Tuesday, pork for Wednesday and Thursday, turkey for Friday, and beef for the weekend); daily veggies; daily carbs (rice, bread, pasta); and then any specialty ingredients you need (herbs, spices, pantry staples you’re low on). Bonus: This happens to be how the Walmart Grocery app is organized. So get the app, follow the menus, and speed up your shopping.

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Tip #3: Find an Hour an Evening for Chores During the Week

When you want the weekend to yourself, your work week is for working. So before you kick up your heels at night, tackle one lingering chore. Whether it’s organizing the living room or doing your laundry, making it happen during the week makes your weekend that much more free.

Tip #4: Cook the Week’s Meals on Friday Night

Carving out the time on Sunday to cook for the week is an age-old chore that, if we’re going to be honest, really eats into your free-time. Stick to the plan of making the work week the time to get chores out of the way and try to ready everything for the following week on Friday night, after you put the kids to bed. Cooking for the week can actually be a pleasant, relaxing chore, especially if you share the task with your spouse and, while you’re at it, stream your favorite shows on a tablet. Both of you will wake up on Saturday accomplished and with a lot more free time on your hands.

Tip #5: Go Grocery Shopping During the Week

We hear the complaints to this one already: Butthere’s no time to shop during the week. Think again. Place your order the night before, or on your lunch hour (before 1 p.m.), check-in on the Walmart Grocery app as you leave work, and then swing by the store on your way home. Don’t have time to pick up the groceries? Have them delivered to your door. If you’re in a Walmart Grocery Delivery area, Walmart can bring your groceries right to your door after dinner or bedtime. That way you can have dinner with the family and put the kids to bed without missing a beat.

Tip #6: Hire a Sitter to Catch Up With Your Partner

Parenting isn’t exactly a chore — until it is. Pick a time over the weekend when the kids get bored and need a bit of fresh blood (3 p.m., anyone?) and hire a sitter. Then, spend that time with your spouse. Play a game, read a book together, or go for a long walk. It may well be the highlight of your weekend because you’re making the most of it while your kids are having a blast. Sure, this isn’t an every-weekend play due to budget constraints (unless the sitter is Grandma, who lives down the street!), but it will be money well spent.

Tip #7: Schedule Deep House Cleaning

If you and your spouse alone are in charge of house cleaning, it can seem like you never dig out. This task needs a bit of outside help. Household cleaning falls into four categories: basic cleanup; dusting and hard-to-reach spots; deep cleaning; and organization. Stay on top of the basic cleaning yourself (to save money), but try to outsource one of these other categories every month — by hiring local cleaners for the dusting and deep cleaning and finding a local task service to help you get better organized. After a few months of this rotation, it will finally feel like your house picks up after yourself.

Tip #8: Give Your Kids Responsibilities

There really aren’t many chores you can let your kids take on themselves — cooking, cleaning the bathroom properly, or organizing anything are probably too much for them. One chore that can be taught to most school-age kids is folding laundry. Treat this chore like an apprenticeship, paying them a small amount (or bartering) for every batch they do, and walking through the ins and outs of matching socks (a kid favorite), folding sheets (this might take some time to perfect), and organizing the laundry by family member. After all, getting the whole family involved is important for kids’ self-esteem, feeling of worth, and to help open up free time for everyone.

*Offer valid for first order only for Walmart Grocery Pickup, in available markets. Minimum order of $50. Offer not transferable, and void where prohibited by law. Does not apply to alcohol purchases. Customer responsible for all applicable taxes. Offer expires 01/31/19.