6 Modern Ways We Are Outsourcing Chores

13 min read

Executive Summary

Outsourcing chores is a great way to free up time as a parent. And there are so many affordable, easy-to-use apps and virtual services that can help with your chores whether you have hired help at home or not. Below are 6 of my favorite chores to outsource and the services I use to do so. Click each chore to skip to that section. 

These days, we are all in need of more time

“We feel like we don’t have enough time to do everything we want to do, and that makes us feel like we’re unable to cope with the demands in our everyday life,” says Harvard Business School Associate Professor Ashley V. Whillans, who studies the relationship between time, money, and happiness. 

Time is especially coveted by parents. We’re in desperate need of time to recharge, so we can be present and energized for our children. As you may already know, one of my favorite ways to gain more time as a parent is outsourcing chores and household tasks to my nanny and housekeeper.

But nowadays there are so many affordable, easy-to-use apps and virtual services that can help with outsourcing chores whether you have hired help at home or not!

Below I have outlined my 6 favorite apps and services for help with chores. If you have no help at home, using these will free up a lot of your time and mental energy. If you have full-time or part-time help at home, you can have them use these apps and services so they have more time to take additional tasks off your to-do list.

Household Chores To Outsource: Research & Booking Appointments

woman using virtual assistant for outsourcing household chores

Researching things — like a new babysitter, a good plumber, or recipe ideas — isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of household chores, yet I often find it to be incredibly time-consuming. It can be so easy to get sucked into reading countless Yelp reviews trying to find a reliable person at a good value. These kinds of tasks are the perfect thing to outsource to a virtual assistant. They can book your doctor’s appointments, call your insurance company to dispute a bill, order birthday party supplies, or research life insurance options. 

I’ve had our virtual assistant fill out school applications, book spa appointments, and even source an extra housekeeper in the area. Pretty much anything you need to research or book they can do it for you.

If you have a few research-based tasks that come up sporadically, such as finding a family-friendly hotel or booking swim lessons with a local instructor, then I recommend Yohana.  Yohana caters to families and has built an app that is easy to navigate, and provides a ton of categories for ideas on what they can help take off your plate. The service is $129/month (equivalent to $4/day), but you can use our exclusive code for preferred pricing and start delegating that to-do list!

If you don’t want to commit to a monthly fee, then I recommend Persist.  They’re a household management app, but also offer a virtual assistant service (cleverly called “persistants”) and they can handle any research-based task with the same capabilities as Yohana.  The app costs $20 and each “persistant” hour is $40 and billed in 5-minute increments—so you are in control of what you spend. Try out the Persist Starter Kit for $100 and get 10% off with our exclusive code.

Investment Cost: $129/mo for Yohana 

Time Reclaimed: 6-8 hours per month**

Worth it? If you make more than $18/hr, yes!

** assumes you’re outsourcing one task a week 

Household Chores To Outsource: Furniture Assembly 

swingset in backyard, household chores to outsource

Anyone who’s ever spent hours trying to understand the cryptic pictures on a furniture assembly manual will appreciate hiring someone to assemble their furniture. I recommend using TaskRabbit to hire someone to build your furniture for you, whether it’s a bookshelf or that play gym (see picture above!) you’ve been wanting to put together but keep putting off. 

I used TaskRabbit to put together furniture that was delivered for my home office. Full transparency: my interior designer booked them to come to the house and coordinated the whole thing. But it was easy peasy for me. They showed up at the allotted time, put together the filing cabinet, and I tipped $20 cash just because I felt it was the right thing to do. 

One of my friends had a similar experience when she hired someone from TaskRabbit to build a dresser for her. She said it was super easy to book through the app and they put it together both faster and better than she could have done herself. The only downside was that her tasker overslept and showed up late, which was a little frustrating. It cost $55 and took about 2 hours. 

Investment Cost: $75** 

Time Reclaimed: ~2 hours 

Worth it? If you make more than $38/hr, yes!

** based on the cost of assembling a 6-drawer dresser in San Diego

Household Chores To Outsource: Returns

phone showing someone using uber's package return service, outsourcing household chores

Uber just added a “return package” feature that allows you to have them return up to five packages at a time for a $5 flat fee, or $3 for Uber One members (plus, a tip). Drivers will pick up the packages for you and drop them off at either UPS, FedEx, or USPS. 

To use this service, you need to package, tape, and print and attach a label for the item(s) that need to be returned. There’s also an option to upload a return QR code on the Uber app, which is great because then you don’t need to print anything. Not every vendor will have a QR code option, but Amazon does for most items. 

The rest works like normal Uber. You enter the pickup location and where you want them to drop it off (UPS, FedEx, or USPS).  The app shows where the driver is while they’re on their way and gives a pickup time. After they pick it up, it shows their route to the dropoff store, and then provides a picture of proof that it’s been dropped off after the task is complete. 

Our nanny met the driver outside for the first time to test it out, but says she easily could have left it on the porch. 

Investment Cost: $5 

Time Reclaimed: 30 minutes

Worth it? If you make more than $10/hr, yes!

Household Chores to Outsource: Laundry & Dry Cleaning

a stack of laundry in front of a washing machine, household chores you can outsource

I hate doing laundry. I usually have my housekeeper do laundry as one of their tasks. But if you don’t have a housekeeper or don’t want them to take on that chore, then Poplin is a great option. 

Carly Kennedy of The Fit Mom Method says Poplin is super simple to use: you log into the app, select how many bags of laundry you have, and the type of detergent you want used (scented, hypoallergenic, or supply your own). You can add special instructions like if you want them to “hang dry” your clothes. They automatically separate light and dark colors and wash everything in cold (though you can request a hot wash if you want). 

You can choose if you want it next day ($1/lb) or same day ($2/lb), and then you select which Laundry Pros (aka the person who will be washing your clothes) you want to send your request to. 

“All my items have come back great,” says Kennedy. “I have one woman who goes above and beyond, and even organizes all the folded clothes by person which makes putting away everything so much easier, so I always request her first if she’s available.”

Once your Laundry Pro confirms, they’ll let you know when they’re coming so you can have the clothes out for them. You just leave your clothes in a bag outside your door at the designated pick-up time. If you choose to leave your hamper outside the front door, then they will transfer your clothes to a disposable bag and leave your hamper behind. You can also use laundry bags, which they’ll return to you laundered. 

There’s a $20 minimum, which is about two hampers worth of clothes. Kennedy says she usually puts her clothes in a tall kitchen bag, which holds about one laundry basket’s worth of clothes. 

“About three full bags is typically 25-30lbs, so I usually spend about $30,” she says. 

Though I don’t use a laundry service, I do use Hamperapp for local dry cleaning pick-up, and it works similarly. You use the app to select the day you want your dry cleaning picked up and leave your laundry bag outside during the designated time. 

They then drop your clean clothes back off the following week. I have it set up so every Tuesday they pick up the dirty dry cleaning and drop off the clean clothes from the week prior. 

Investment Cost: $20 for two loads of laundry. 

Time Reclaimed: ~1 hour 

Worth it? If you make more than $20/hr, yes!

Household Chores to Outsource: Grocery Shopping

groceries from whole foods in paper bags on doorstep, how to outsource grocery shopping

If you have never been stuck in an endless grocery store line, then you are one of the blessed ones. I love using Amazon Fresh as my grocery delivery service. It saves me up to 3 hours each week since I don’t have to spend time driving to the grocery store, wandering around the aisles, and waiting in line.  We order Amazon Fresh + Whole Foods every Monday afternoon, and have it arrive on Tuesday when our nanny is working and can help unload everything. 

Orders over $100 are free if you’re a Prime member. Otherwise, Amazon charges a $6.95 fee for orders between $50-$100, and $9.95 for deliveries under $50. If you’re not a Prime member you’ll be charged between $7.95-$13.95 depending on basket size and the delivery window selected. 

Using a grocery delivery service also takes away the mental burden of having to remember what items are needed for each week, since it has an option to save my recurring items so I can easily remember what I need to buy. 

“We have a saved list for the essentials, which makes it really easy,” says pharma CEO, mom, and time-saving expert, Hitha Palepu, who uses Fresh Direct for her grocery delivery. 

If you have a specific grocery store that you like getting items from, Instacart is another good option, since they partner with dozens of local grocery stores. You can also order items from places like Costco and Sam’s Club even if you don’t have a membership. Instacart delivery fees start at $3.99. There’s also a service fee that varies based on factors like location and the number and types of items in your cart. I’ve paid between $7 and $20 for the service fee. 

Investment cost: $6.95 + tip

Time Reclaimed: ~ 3 hours per week 

Worth it? If you make more than $2/hr, yes!

Household Chores to Outsource: Restocking Household Basics

Amazon packages on doorstep, outsourcing chores

Setting up recurring deliveries for household basics is another easy chore to outsource. This kind of subscription is not only free, but also often provides discounts. On top of that, I save time by not going to the store, and it clears up mental headspace because my partner and I don’t have to think about whether we are almost running out of Kleenex or paper towels.

I use (and love) Amazon’s Subscribe and Save for everything from dog food to laundry detergent. Every household item our family needs is tracked and automated by Amazon. At first, it takes some guesstimating to figure out how often you need things restocked. It’s better to go in with some padding and error on the side of overestimating (no one wants to run out of toilet paper mid-poop. yuck!). 

Worst case, you guess that you need toilet paper bi-monthly and then too much arrives and you have no extra room under your sink to fill it. That same day you can log in and change it to a monthly delivery instead.

Fun Fact: Amazon can also refill your prescriptions and mail them right to your doorstep, saving you a trip to the pharmacy. 

Investment cost: Save up to 15% off your entire order

Time Reclaimed:  ~ 1 hour

Worth it? Yes! You can save money as well as time. 

The Perks Of Outsourcing Chores

Some of you may hesitate over the cost of these services, but research shows that spending money on reclaiming time for yourself is incredibly valuable. Ashley Whillans, the Harvard professor who studies this, has found that the boost in happiness you get from outsourcing chores can often outweigh the financial cost. She also found that people who spend their money on creating more time for themselves are happier than those who spend it on material possessions.

 “The less control you feel you have over your daily experience, the less happy you feel,” she says. “Money is a tool that allows you to purchase that control.”

As I mentioned earlier, for those of you who have a nanny at home, I recommend outsourcing the setup and coordination of these additional services to them. If that’s not the type of task you have asked of your nanny before, check out our parenting guide: How To Convert Your Nanny Into A Family Assistant.

But no matter who you are, these modern ways to outsource chores will help you reclaim time so you can be a more present parent and happier human. 

For more tips on taking control of your time in parenthood, download our free guide: How to Run Your Home like a Business (99 Tasks You Can Delegate Today). And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to receive our latest articles in your inbox. 

Want to Buy More Time? Subscribe!