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My 13 Favorite Time Saving Apps


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. – 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.  

Instacart_Best_App – 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. 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

Fin Mark


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When we were in LA at christmas we took a few taxis that took *forever* to get what looked like a 10 minute drive on my map. Finally on our last day we got an Uber and he got us from Venice Beach to West Hollywood in 20 minutes, the taxi there had taken 45 minutes! His “secret” was an app that was running real time directions that put him on empty streets that were parallel to the crazy busy streets. It worked like magic! I *think* it was Waze. I just looked it up and its the largest traffic app out there, not exactly a secret, but considering the phenomenon of busy street next to empty street, it must still be a secret to some people.


You can now get Morgan Freeman as your voice command on Waze. It is so fun to hear him say “turn right”, etc…

That would be awesome!


You know what else will save you time? When you fly home from Australia you’ll gain a WHOLE day. Yippee!! Please say you’re coming to Western Australia? ?


Thank you for the great roundup. One site I use is for deliveries of paper goods, cleaning supplies, some snacks. I found it thanks to I also get monthly snacks from Naturebox and meals from Homechef and Hellofresh. Basically, I love my USPS, UPS and FedEx delivery people!!


As a Canadian in low density area, I don’t get very many of these conveniences 🙁 Maybe I should make my own app? I have had my groceries delivered for a couple of years though, and it is LIFE CHANGING!!


Great post! Game. Changer!


Hi Emily (and blog world), I have been searching for what feels like ages for your great post about framing the submarine art in your living room, but I can’t seem to find it! I have a similar work of art that I would like to frame in the same way and would love to re-read that post for ideas. If you or anyone could send me the link, I would be forever appreciative! Thanks and love your blog.


curve line space…. ithink, is the name of the place


I think the post was called ‘my epic blimp artwork story’ but it doesn’t seem to exist anymore? If you google Emily Henderson epic blimp artwork there are some pins that show the blog post, so you might want to check those? There is tweet from Emily about it – but when you click through the link to he blog it says the page no longer exists?


Oh man instacart is the best. I don’t have kids and live in a place with reasonable traffic but sometimes you just don’t want to or just can’t get to the grocery store! It is strangely hard to find some basics on Whole Foods site though. And Costco has a markup from the store but lord I hate going to costco sooo…


Amazon Prime Now is the best! In less than 2 hours I got a case of water, a case of coke, face wipes, puzzle glue, a cast-iron pan, binoculars, car ice scraper, wrapping paper delivered to my house for free! They do ask that you tip the driver, which I did, but still it all came in less than 2 hours!

Stacie Martin

There is someone near you who will clean for two hours for $54??? WHAT THE? It’s like minimum $60 an hour where I live.


Hahah that’s too funny, I thought the SAME thing! Lol

We have a housekeeper who cleans our house (takes 3-4 hours) for $65. I live in the Dallas area. It’s money well spent, let me tell you! I am terrible at cleaning.


I love your site and posts – always relevant and refreshing. But I’m desperately missing original content and design work. Revisiting old design work is nice, trends are fun, but I’m feeling ready to move on. I’m excited for your current projects to be sharable!


Thanks for this post. I’m late to the party; maybe your reviews and explanations here will give me courage to try these. I recently switched to having my paper and cleaning supplies delivered by Walmart and/or Amazon. Although I have Prime, I found Walmart did a better job. (order $50 for free shipping) It makes a difference to me on shopping trips not to be schlepping detergent, paper towels, swiffer things, etc. I don’t like the amount of space Costco purchases require, so this is my current strategy.

I could also just do with a personal assistant… 🙂


I’ve been following you for a few years now and absolutely love your blog but this post comes across as completely obnoxious and out of touch with reality. I know I’ve ‘made it’ in life when I have someone to wipe my plant leaves and have an on demand masseuse coming to my house. By the time you use an app and wait for someone to wipe your plants and blow dry your hair, couldn’t you have done that yourself and actually SAVE time?


Like I said on the toddler couture post, it’s like seeing how another culture lives, for me. I balk at a lot of this stuff but I try not to be too judgmental, either. I balked at some of the things I pay for now when my salary was half as much. Who knows if I made 4x more, what I might find valuable to outsource?

But yeah, given my finance background, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t ever justify paying for a home blowout but I also don’t get much pleasure from that. And I don’t lose money by spending time on this sort of thing because I’m salaried and I have time for all my DIY life tasks AND my family. Which is probably unique and uncool but I like it that way.

And I find I appreciate my things more when I tend to them myself, which helps me not want more things.

But fun post! I feel so… independent and thrifty for doing my own errands and such!


There is nothing wrong with Emily spending her hard-earned money the way she wants.


Ouch. That’s a bit harsh.

This falls into the category of “work smarter not harder”. If it costs Emily half the price to hire someone to wipe her leaves than it does to hire a babysitter for an hour while she wipes her own leaves, then it makes all the sense in the world. She seems like a pretty busy lady and the return on investment of TIME is MUCH more valuable than money. If I had the option to spend an hour with my kid or spend an hour wiping leaves, I will pay the money.


It’s not harsh enough! Are we really supposed to applaud the Uberization of work in this country …the destruction of entire industries that, through regulation and collective bargaining, have provided a living wage for workers and safety for their users for decades? This is how people want to use their beloved little tech toys? The race to the bottom quickens. If you can afford all of these luxuries, then you can afford to hire an assistant to run errands for you and to pay them a living wage.


I don’t understand how hiring an assistant to do the same tasks is different than hiring someone via one of these apps? Unless you are specifically referring to using amazon prime or something that delivers things for “free”…



Less than a lifetime ago there were lots of “errand boys” (reality is that fewer were “errand girls”) for a number of these same tasks. Just because you got the name of the errand person from a bulletin board, neighbor, or the store sending the purchases doesn’t make it morally superior to using an app now.

Yes, for a few decades that changed. And, yes, going back to a similar thing has an effect on economy and industries. That was also true of (among many new things) refrigeration and motors.

Besides, who is this assistant who is great at hair styling, can respond to mild medical emergencies, is competent at carpentry skills, well-versed in childcare, and will do your errands?


Plus, unless you have had to endure really bad traffic with really young children on a daily basis, you really have no room to judge. Also, Emily’s job also relies a lot on how she looks for better or worse that is a fact. She must be fashionable, cute with shiny blond hair and always camera ready. I don’t blame her one bit for wanting her hair blown out from time to time to feel good and do her job…and one more thing bc I am red hot right now…I would argue she is creating jobs by outsourcing locally to skilled people instead of doing these jobs herself. Jumping off my soapbox now.

julie k

People can spend their $$ however they choose. If I never have to do my own house cleaning again, I’ll be very happy. I order food a lot and tip well. There is a high human cost to some services, however – just like with fast fashion and cheap products. After learning about how Amazon treats people – warehouse and white collar – I’ve stopped ordering from them. If we knew the human cost of a lot of our stuff, it would be a sad day. Another reason to love Craiglist and vintage!


Jacky and Mary, I’m with you. The plant wiping thing made me laugh.
Sure Emily is allowed to spend her money as she likes.
But I think living like this creates a vicious circle.
->You work hard because you need the money to do the things you don’t have time because you’re working so hard. <-

Thank god for modern technology. Now if I can find an app totally dedicated to dish washers – I’d be set.

Josh | The Kentucky Gent


Retired (so no excuse re lack of time?!?) but we use InstaCart all the time. I find I am less likely to make random impulse purchases like I would at the grocery store and I appreciate not having to navigate roads and supermarket aisles. Also use DoorDash at least a few times each month—a treat when kids/grandkids are over and no one feels like cooking but everyone feels like having a party! 🙂

This is so great! I’ve got a few time saving apps but these are fabulous. Can’t wait to try a few of them out!


Maybe it’s a bay area thing, because I feel like we all use a bunch of these apps, at least on occasion, here? I’m really enjoying Google Express for my Costco runs.


To be fair… Amazon Prime Now and Amazon Pantry are two separate and amazing things. Amazon Prime Now helped me in a pinch when I 100% forgot I had to go to a baby shower in less than an hour. I still had to shower and get ready so running to the store to get a last minute gift was not an option. Yes, the gift ended up being a bit more expensive than I wanted but I have zero regrets for saving my stress levels and not getting to the party half an hour late.
Amazon Prime Pantry is amazing because it saves me buying a massive thing of cat litter or dog food and walking between where I parked my car to my apartment with it. Which as a city-dweller is most likely, at least 2 streets away. For the most part, it’s also the same price as the grocery store and no shipping costs, so why not!

Also you forgot uber!


Also, forgot to mention, I live in Richmond VA where there is a big Amazon Fufillment Center, I’m not sure if there’s ‘Amazon Prime Now’ everywhere. Richmonders have definitely drunk the Amazon koolaid…


I live in Richmond too. I had no idea Amazon Prime Now would work for us! GAME CHANGER!!!


Now I’m crying. I live 20 min outside of Santa Fe, in the boonies. I work in ABQ, so I have a 2-3 hour commute both ways 3-4 days per week. No way there’s any of these apps I can use. *sad face*


Some of my coworkers get their prime orders delivered to the office. Maybe you could try it!


I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but one thing that works well to kill fungus and critters on plants is diatomaceous earth. It’s food grade (kid and pet friendly) so maybe the plant leaf cleaner can rub it on the leaves? If it’s a true fungus that has permeated the branches, it might not work. Just a thought!

Also I wish I could use the blowout app – but I’m not in a big city. Curious how these work if you’re not in a super metropolitan area. Having been to LA many many times, I can see how convenient all of these apps would be because driving around in LA is the pits!

Viruses are not the same as fungi and there is literally no way to cure viruses in a plant except for cutting out the apical meristem and growing it in a test tube in a tissue culture lab (I used to work in a tissue culture lab at a botanical garden). Though I don’t know why cleaning the leaves would help with a virus, so maybe Emily actually does mean fungus or some other insect problem. Also, there are many different types of fungi, some of which grow on the plant’s surface and some of which grow inside the plant, but they are all “true” fungi.


I personally like Houzz a lot more than Porch!


i’m the (oh so cool) gramma to 8 very nice grandkids and 12 adult kids (6 kids x spouses). i see how their parents (my kids) stress and struggle with picking up kids at schools, feeding nutritious meals on staggered schedules, cleaning, laundry and juggling various after school activities and sports. (i help out with cookies and crock pot dinners every week). but it means these earnest moms and dads spend all day in the car or racing to and from work. weekends are soccer, horseback riding, swim lessons…it’s insane! but that’s life for them now. can’t judge, just deal. some of these apps would be a great help. i will definitely forward these to the kids, but i fear they’ll be too busy to read them! btw, we already use amazon prime, uber, waze and zappos (same-day shoes in LA!).


Another very cool Noni of 8 here! I think these apps are genius in helping with every day life. My husband and I have a great time pitching in with dinners and time! Keeps our brains and hearts young. I love sending little things to our sweeties with a quick click. I enjoy the blog no matter the topic. Thank you for sharing! Charlie and Elliot are adorable!


you do realize 90% aren’t available to a majority of your rapidly dwindling audience?

more design and less clickbait please.


I live in Europe and I don’t have any of those apps but I still liked reading this. It really bothers me that people read Emily’s blog for FREE (yes!) and still have the guts to be critical like that.


I’m in Australia and most of these things are not available, but I still enjoyed this post. Part of it is that I have kids too, and it’s interesting to me how different families (especially those with two parents working full-time( like me and my husband) make it work — other people might have good ideas I can pick up!

But as Kate says, it’s FREE. If you don’t like it, move on 🙂


Bye Moi! Most bloggers are giving us a glimpse into their life. How fun and lucky for us that Emily gives us a glimpse into hers. I get so annoyed with comments like the one above. Go read something else instead of posting a rude comment . Emily there are lots and lots of us who willnbe here. I love the design posts but I also see the value in above post. I am a working mom who doesn’t live in a big city and I have been able to utilize Amazon Pantry. I also have thick curly long hair and the thought of having someone come to my home to blow it out for me sounds heavenly. It would last last me three days. Especially dreamy after my fifth baby was born. Emily and staff keep up the great work and I look forward to future design projects too!!!


Unfortunately not all apps are available in all areas but you may have something similar in your location. Ask around!


I would add the app! It’s amaze! Takes all your junk emails and consolidates it into one email a day. I have an inbox I can glance at again! I used to just not check it, because how the heck do i have 17k+ emails? I love the idea of a blowout at the house and need to try! Especially right before family photos and stuff like that, where it’s just too hard to get out the door for your hair to look nice! Thanks for the suggestions!

I will have to try the apps for home project help. I have had a hard time in the past finding help for those projects that are just a bit too big or intimidating to tackle by myself, but a bit too small for most busy contractors/handymen to find it worth their time.


I use a lot of these apps and want to voice my wholehearted support for delegating what you can in order to spend precious time with your family, if that’s what’s important to you! Also just gotta say, pregnancy in the era of Postmates and Instacart is dangerous for both your wallet and your gestational diabetes test (the world is your Cheesecake Factory). I’ve also been happy with Rinse (a Washio competitor) and Caviar has a great selection when all the Postmates are busy. Great post!


I know several families that simply wouldn’t function well without Amazon Prime (working parents, kids, etc.), so I am by no means saying don’t use services like these! I guess I’d just ask for people to be mindful, because there is a very real human cost to our “on demand” culture. This article really changed the way I use Amazon. Yes, I still use it, but now I think very hard about how fast I actually need something, and I just won’t do the two-hour delivery thing because I know what that means for the people working in the warehouses.


I like!!

Others! I need your help!

Hello! I Greetings from Peru !
.. please help me with a question !
I’m going to buy an apartment and do not buy if you floor the 5th or 6th floor?
the building are 7 floors and the latter has the largest area .
the area is the financial of Lima-Peru
and hopefully you can help me , I’m your fan! 😀
kiss your babies


Neem oil for the tree. Neem oil!!! Absolute savior. Get some and internet a guy to apply it STAT. I got mine from


Seems to me LA is costing you a lot of money, MOVE!

Good thing you have a good job, most people can not afford all those luxuries.


Long before apps and smart phones our dry cleaner figured out that people are busy so he only did–and still only does–pick up and delivery any time you want him to. When my father had terminal caner I added laundry service to the dry cleaning and it was wonderful to come home to bags of clean stuff on the back patio, neatly packaged. I’ve had a 15-year relationship with him and it may outlast my marriage…. He’s salvaged many suits and dresses, picked up and delivered within hours in a emergency and shown up at my door at 4:30 a.m. prior to my trip abroad to deliver my favorite rain coat.


Love this post. Thanks!


Emily, I love you! You just changed my life with Instacart. I’m 8 months into a delicate pregnancy and have a 3-year-old. This morning I had hassle-free, fresh groceries and toiletries on my doorstep thanks to your precious post. Your blog is invaluable. Thank you so very much.

Have to pin it on my agenda. never know when you need one. Thank you for those tips.

Sandy B

Love all of these ideas. I hadn’t thought about hiring people this way to help re-arrange furniture. I also often have to transport furniture that is bigger than my vehicle – to upholstery class, picking up great Craigslist finds, etc – some of these would be great for that!

I love Amazon Prime Now. I’ve been out of dog food at late hours and they had my hard to find brand which totally saved me. I had an early morning departure for the Round Top Texas antique show planned and really wanted a cart to carry all of my finds with me. I could have taken a few hours to go find a retailer who might have one or have Prime Now deliver one to my doorstep. I was able to continue with all of my prep for the big trip and still get the perfect cart!


Its called LUGG, they will pick up oversized purchased and delivery and assemble for you.


Thank you for sharing your life. As a mother of two I can totally relate though I live in a smaller city in Asia. We have some apps that cater to the same needs here I.e. groceries. But I do so wish we had blow out and massage apps. Sometimes a mother just need some pampering but the babies are napping. What better time to do it!


Try the app PURPLE for gas… they come to your house and fill your tank. It’s my new favorite.


I mean this in the best way possible, not like a troll, I promise. But I feel really sad for you. It just seems odd to me that the solution to your hectic life is not to simplify but rather to pay other people to solve your inconvenient problems. Its a vicious cycle, now you need to work more to pay for the things that are supposed to give you more time but working more takes up all that time your supposed to have saved?! This post really turned me off from the blog. I’ve felt its demise looming since the new year so its not really a surprise but perhaps it’ll be a good thing for you and your family. I wish you all the best.


Wow! Aren’t you charming? Not caring for a particular subject is fine but judging another person’s life, profession and resources is way out of line. To me there is “no best way” in your comment.


It’s about where you want to spend your precious time. Paying someone $10 to pick and delivery groceries so you can earn $150 during that same time period is just smart business. Paying someone $54 to clean your office so you can spend time either earning $150 during that same period OR spend time with your kids (priceless, no?) when off work is just smart parenting. This is a great post! Thank you Emily!


Points for the passive-aggressive twofer: Bookending an insult with faux warmth (“I mean this in the best way possible […] I wish you all the best”). More points for the unctuous, tsk-tsk foreshadowing of the end of the blog. Bonus score for your quasi-Victorian ideas of how a working mother lives in 2016 — and not just a working mother, by the way, but one who started and *runs her own business.*

The fact that you sling this mud after clearly being a longtime reader of Emily’s fantastic (free!) blog? Bravo to you — another successful day of being a woman who only feels good about herself when she’s keeping other women down.


Working mothers need to OUTSOURCE like no one’s business. Jessica Herrin, CEO of Stella and Dot, has some great interviews on this concept. Spend quality time playing with your kids not cooking, cleaning, and blow drying. Whatever I can afford to outsource I do. I don’t even have kids but I do it all the time, and spend the extra time I gain advising start-ups which brings in more money than I spend outsourcing. Think about it.

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