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Grating vegetables into food and hanging clothes to save ironing – mum’s list of clever ‘cheats’

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The average mum relies on a string of clever ‘cheats’ to get by – including passing off bought cakes as their own, spraying furniture polish when visitors are on their way and bribing the kids to get ready for school, it has been revealed. Other common cheats include freezing food for later use, grating vegetables into meals so the children don’t notice and hanging clothes to dry rather than having to iron them.

Passing off supermarket own-brand products as upmarket brands by refilling empty bottles or packets, using baby wipes to clean their children instead of always washing their faces, and spraying clothes with freshener to get an extra day’s wear were all regular ruses.

The trend emerged from a study carried out among 2,000 mothers which also found around eight out of ten mums struggle to keep up with all the household jobs.

The study was commissioned by kitchen, bathroom and bedroom retailer Bohen.

Psychologist Donna Dawson said:

“Home-hacking – coming up with inventive ways around the home to cut down on the amount and variety of work that needs accomplishing – is a new trend which is emerging in the world of the frazzled mum.

“With mums proving desperate to accomplish everything that needs to be done over the hours of the day and still have time for that cup of tea, it means that shortcuts need to be found.

“Our study unveils that mums are clearly coming up with their own home-hacks on a daily basis with ingenious shortcuts, imaginative re-cycling, thinking ahead, and a good knowledge of human nature.

“It also involves a deep understanding of what makes their own children tick, and the ability to be slightly ahead of them when called for.”

The study also found more than half of the mum’s polled felt when it came to sharing the workload their partner could do more to help.

In fact, one third of mums felt a bit taken for granted, 30% said they felt a sense of obligation to keep things running smoothly and one in ten went as far as to say they do everything themselves.

No surprise then that 93% described themselves as busy, with nearly half battling a frantic day to day life.

The study also revealed the full extent of mum’s organisation with three quarters sticking to the same systems and exact routines every day.

A frazzled one in ten said they couldn’t cope without relying on various time-saving measures and results showed the incredible extent to which mums go, coming up with inventive solutions like creating storage from leftover containers, using old coffee jars to store herbs and spices and other recycling methods.

And one third of those studied regularly swap tips and time-saving techniques with friends and families, with the average mum using at least five shortcuts a day.

Donna added:

“Without shortcuts, life can appear to be out of control with the days running away from you, leaving you feeling powerless and stressed.

‘”Shortcuts allow women to feel more in control of their lives, which in turn gives them more confidence and energy to tackle the challenges of their daily lives. And sharing shortcuts with other women is further empowering, as we feel better about ourselves when helping others.

“For their multi-tasking and organisational skills, versatility, and sheer inventiveness, home-hacking mums deserve to be celebrated – they serve as an inspiration to the rest of us.”


1. Freezing food to use later in the week
2. Use jarred sauces instead of home making everything
3. Laying out all clothes and school uniform the night before
4. Hang clothes up instead of ironing them
5. Use a pen to write their names on clothing and shoes, instead of sewing in name tags
6. Bribing the children with treats to get them to cooperate
7. Delegating household tasks to other family members
8. Shopping online for food instead of going to the supermarket
9. Using the ‘three second rule’ when dropping food on the kitchen floor
10. Using baby wipes to clean your children instead of always washing their face
11. Grating vegetables into food to ensure the children are eating their five a day
12. Using a bit of ketchup on foods the children don’t really like
13. Putting dry shampoo/putting a bit of talc on greasy hair to save you from washing it
14. Spray deodorant in smelly shoes instead of buying new ones
15. Spray furniture polish before guests arrive so they think that you have recently cleaned
16. Skipping bath time in favour of an extra bedtime story
17. Spray clothes freshener to get an extra day’s wear out of them
18. Using convenience food for breakfast so children can eat in the car
19. Icing bought cakes and pretending you made them
20. Getting children to do their homework in the car