I need more time. Everyone could use more money, and sure, I could use more help but more than anything I really need more time. With two tiny, needy, unpredictable children and a demanding career, I’ve come to realize that my time is the one thing of which I am SUPER protective of. Luckily, Silicon Valley and all their VC backers know that I’m not alone, and the inundation of time saving apps has filled our phones, to the point where grocery shopping seems like a nostalgic event – especially in LA where traffic makes a quick trip for a gallon of milk a 3 hour situation. So I’ve made a list of all the time saving apps that I’ve used – sometimes I even call them my diva apps because a few of them have to do with beauty needs. Most of these are luxuries, but they are good to have in your arsenal when you look at your week and realize you barely have time to brush your teeth, let alone your hair.
Handy.com – It’s a handyman and cleaning service with vetted dudes and ladies. I’ve used this once for an electrician/tv mounting and he was great and will continue to book him. It was $60/hour which ain’t nothing, but electricians are way more expensive so it was a really good option. He mounted my TV (hooked it all up) and hung drapery hardware and drapes in 3 hours. It’s like hiring a husband without the marital argument. But we also use them for our office cleaning every two weeks!
Taskrabbit – Taskrabbit and Handy are probably in competition, but I use them for different things. I use Taskrabbit to clean the leaves on my tree (I’m not kidding, each one has to be wiped off individually because it has a stupid virus), put together furniture, and move furniture around my house. I found my go-to dude from Taskrabbit, and now I just book him directly. Everyone is a different price, ranging from $25 – $60 an hour based on experience and the task. They will do literally ANYTHING – put together Ikea furniture, paint, pick up your rugs for cleaning, grocery shop, run random errands . . . anything.
Thumbtack. This service has everything from photographers to private yoga instructors to contractors to life coaches. I haven’t used it but I know people that do and they love it.
Porch – Porch is more about experts in a home service. I’ve used it to find a good window washer, gardening services, and to get quotes from contractors. Yes, even I find it EXTREMELY hard to find the right contractor and am constantly trying out new people.
Blow Me – Calm down, it’s just a blow out (of the hair). I’ve done this now twice, right after I had Elliot when I felt so schlubby and ugly (as you do when you are spending 49 hours a day in pajamas and only showering every third day), but I couldn’t really leave the house because I was breastfeeding. So some dude/chick comes to your house and blows your hair out. It’s not as good as Dry Bar, but it’s at your house and sometimes you just need someone else to brush your hair in your own home – words of a true basic bitch, right there.
Saucey – Booze/wine/mixers on demand. I think that the warehouse is located near me because it takes like 20 minutes from order to delivery (I’m sure it’s not the same everywhere). It’s more expensive than the stores, but you are paying for convenience. It’s perfect for those dinner parties where you see your stash dwindling, or those lazy Sundays with friends, when no one is volunteering to go to the store.
Washio – Now, I haven’t used this one yet because I’m too lazy to even collate all my dry-cleaning into one bag, and instead I opt to wear the same clothes over and over and over, BUT I hear this is wonderful. We are redoing our laundry room in the next few weeks, so while it’s under construction we’ll be using this app, I’m sure. My friends that use it love it, and if it stays successful it will make going to the dry cleaner obsolete – which is not good for dry cleaners, but might be good for moms.
Instacart – Grocery delivery within a couple hours. I do this everyday. It’s rather financially irresponsible because it is more expensive than going to the store. But taking those two kids to the store is almost impossible, and using my free time to do that seems absolutely ludicrous. The pluses are that you get your groceries delivered from anywhere you want (Whole Foods, Ralphs, Costco), the minuses are that sometimes you think you ordered 3 carrots when instead you ordered 30 pounds of carrots. Or often it’s hard to find “chicken” at Whole Foods on the site, even though they obviously carry it. Despite all that, it is what we’ve chosen to do because I hate grocery shopping with a mad passion and between work and those kids, this is the only way I can keep fresh food in the house so we aren’t ordering take out every night.
Soothe.com – Massage on demand. I’ve done this now three or four times. There is something weird about it, I’m not going to lie. You feel both bougie and dirty at the same time, but sometimes you just want someone to pet you with oil in your own home. Two of my three massages have been decent but not amazing. But I keep coming back because the service is so convenient and it’s the same cost as a spa, although much more expensive than going to your local Thai massage joint. All in all, sometimes on a Friday night (again if you have kids and didn’t book a sitter) it’s the perfect treat. I did those mostly when I was pregnant, while everyone else was at happy hour and it did give me something to look forward to at the end of a long week.
Amazon Prime Now – It’s only on your phone and it means you can get many things to you within hours – at least in LA. It’s crazy fast and easy. I couldn’t find an image of it (it took me forever to realize it’s JUST on your phone).
Postmates – Restaurant delivery. I think they do other things too, but mostly we order take out through them. When we first moved from New York to LA we were horrified at the lack of takeout. Seven years later we finally don’t need to leave our own home to eat bad Chinese.
Door Dash – More restaurant delivery, very similar to Postmates, but often they do have different restaurants in their arsenal.
Care – While most of our sitters are through word of mouth, every now and again we’ve been stumped. Care.com vets the nannies, sitters, and mother helpers. You interview them, and we stick around the first time with them, but then we have a new sitter to call on when The Bachelor invites us back for the “Women Tell All” episode.
Doctor On Demand – I’ve done a couple sponsored posts with them because it’s a service that I really like. We use it once a month (and no, I don’t get it for free), for random little things that are more serious than a Google search, and less serious than immediately going to a doctor. Read this and this post to see how and why we’ve used it.
So what am I missing out on? When you look at this whole list together, it looks as though we rarely need to leave our homes, or that we don’t do anything for ourselves anymore, but I think that the world (Silicon Valley) is responding to our basic need to not be oppressed by minutiae of day to day living – especially in a city that takes FOREVER to run 1 errand. So while we can’t outsource every single annoying thing in our lives, it’s good to know that we have more options so we can spend more time with our kids and friends and less time waiting in line for a parking spot at Trader Joes.
***feature image by Stephanie Todoro