The increasing number of nontraditional students pursuing adult education or beginning a college search means plenty of people must juggle their work, family, social and school lives. And when things get busy, it becomes easy to feel overwhelmed, especially by housework or other time-consuming activities. The following tips can simplify your home life so you can spend your time where it really matters:

Cook slow
Not only can eating out be a financial drain, but it can be a health drain as well. Restaurants often put additives or preservatives in their foods that you would not find in a typical meal made at home. For this reason, buying a slow cooker that will cook your meals for you while you go about your day is a smart, healthy investment in your family's lives. It's fast and easy to throw in a couple of ingredients in the morning and arrive home to a home-cooked meal.

Cook fast
Some meals do not lend themselves well to a slow cooker, and for those times you should try using an electric grill like the ones popularized by George Foreman. An electric grill cooks foods on both sides, so you can prepare meals faster. Most electric grills are non-stick, and for even easier clean up, a quick spray down with a non-stick spray prior to cooking will make cleaning a breeze.

Shop smart
Of course, owning a slow cooker and electric grill will not be any help unless you are prepared to cook a meal. It's a good idea to buy groceries at the same time every week to eliminate that last-minute scramble. You would also benefit by keeping a list on the refrigerator door of food you always keep in the house. When something empties, just put a checkmark by its name for a ready-made grocery list. You should also keep an eye on your pantry and keep ingredients for your family's favorite, quick meals on hand. A meal made from frozen vegetables, chicken broth and chicken can be ready in 20 minutes, and staying stocked up on pasta and tomato sauce provides a great back-up plan for a busy day.

Tackle that mountain of dishes
It's amazing how a sink full of dishes can make a home feel cluttered, keeping you from enjoying the evening or doing that college search you've been putting off. One easy way to keep dishes from piling up, a problem which families struggle with because they are ready to relax after dinner, is to take two minutes to empty the dishwasher before the meal. That way, each family member can simply bring his or her dishes to the sink for a quick rinse before putting them in the dishwasher.

Streamline the laundry
Moms and dads going back to school or pursuing adult education might face mountains of homework at the same time they need to deal with a mountain of laundry. Working with big loads can be overwhelming, so one way to cut down on the size of the loads is to buy a couple laundry baskets for each family member and have them throw their dark clothes in one and their light-colored clothes in the other. This makes for an easy grab-and-go once the basket fills up, giving you more time to write that paper!

Author's Bio: 

Hello everyone, I am a featured writer for US College Search. Go to our site to check out all of our helpful information for going back to school. Our site helps "non-traditional" students enter back into educational mainstream. We have many college search options including the large collections of online colleges in your area, and our expansive collection of career faqs.