Time-Saving Essentials for Busy Working Moms in Japan: The Three Holy Grails of Efficiency

Essentials for working mom

This article is written for those who are quite impatient (especially those living in Japan). It’s because I’m impatient myself…

The desire to make things easier is a given, but I think these tools are perfect for those who are not good at spending a lot of time.

Three essential tools to help with household chores for time-saving and performance-oriented moms, I can’t live without these anymore…


Gas Clothes Dryer – “Kanta”

When a child is born, the first thing that increases significantly is the amount of laundry. The amount is extraordinary, isn’t it? Why does it increase so suddenly? It’s truly a mystery.

Buying a lot of clothes might work, but then you also need storage space for them. Furthermore, there are scenes where you have to respond to requests like “I want to wear this outfit again tomorrow!” from your child, or “I want to wear this swimsuit again tomorrow!” in the summer. (Not responding will lead to trouble.)

In that case, the only solution is to increase the frequency of laundry. And you know what’s unpleasant? It’s the hassle of hanging out the laundry.

Drum-type washing and drying machines are often recommended as one of the three essential tools, but while they do save the hassle of hanging out laundry, they don’t reduce the frequency of laundry. Why? Because drying takes quite a bit of time. You can’t run it 2 or 3 times a day!!

I may be specifying the product too much, but among the three essential tools that I recommend and highly recommend, the first one is “Kanta.”

Rinnai Global
Rinnai Global Rinnai product information can be found here. Based on a concept of local production for the local market, products under the Rinnai brand are developed and pro...

I have used a drum-type washing and drying machine called Toshiba ZABOON before, and at that time, I had a routine of running the washing and drying machine at night and taking out the dried laundry in the morning (if there was a lot of laundry, it would still be somewhat damp). Based on my experience, it took about 6 to 7 hours for them to dry, so I always had the washing machine running, and the laundry to be washed next piled up in front of the washing machine like a mountain. Accumulating dirty laundry was quite stressful.

Since I introduced Kanta, life has changed dramatically. Especially on weekends…

  • 1st load: Bedsheets and duvet covers for the whole family
  • 2nd load: Everyday clothes and towels
  • 3rd load: Pre-seasonal clothes storage wash

Sometimes, I run the washing machine about 3 times like this. It’s truly revolutionary that the laundry dries in an hour. The children can wear their favorite clothes every day (lol). However, because it dries quickly, I can’t keep up with folding the laundry. The dried laundry piles up like a mountain (lol).

These are just my personal impressions, but I have summarized the differences between Kanta and drum-type washing and drying machines.

  • Kanta (Evaluation: Excellent)
    • Merits:
      • Dries in 60-90 minutes (amazing!!)
      • Can easily run it 2-3 times a day
      • Fluffy finish (feels like a luxury hotel every day)
      • Can dry shoes too
    • Demerits:
      • Need to transfer laundry from the washing machine to Kanta
      • Requires gas
      • Takes up space (can be installed on top of the washing machine)
  • Vertical Washing and Drying Machine (Evaluation: Good)
    • Merits:
      • Minimal space and cost
      • Seamless transition from washing to drying
      • Easy to clean
    • Demerits:
      • Takes time to dry (4-5 hours; if still damp, takes twice as long to dry again)
      • Cannot be run multiple times a day
  • Drum-type Washing and Drying Machine (Evaluation: Average)
    • Merits:
      • Minimal space and cost
      • Seamless transition from washing to drying
      • High water-saving efficiency
      • Clothes are less likely to be damaged
    • Demerits:
      • Takes time to dry (4-5 hours; if still damp, takes twice as long to dry again)
      • Cannot be run multiple times a day
      • Takes up space when the door is left open; mold may develop when closed
      • Difficult to clean

As Kanta requires a gas connection and installation work, the hurdle for installation is quite high. It might be difficult to install it in a rental property. In that case, instead of a drum-type washing and drying machine, I recommend a vertical washing and drying machine. While a drum-type washing and drying machine takes up space when the lid is left open, which can lead to mold formation when closed, a vertical one is better in that regard. If you have a large room and wash delicate clothes frequently, a drum-type washing and drying machine might be better.

Dishwasher (preferably a front-open built-in type)

Of the three essential tools, the second one is a dishwasher. There are “built-in” and “tabletop” types of dishwashers. If you are building a new house or remodeling your kitchen, I recommend a built-in type, while if you are living in a rental property without a dishwasher in the kitchen, consider a tabletop type.

Built-in Type

There are two types of built-in dishwashers: large sliding open and front open. I have used both, but if I were to buy a new house, I would definitely choose a front-open one.

The reason is that “it has a large capacity, so you can run the dishwasher fewer times.” Front-open ones have a large enough capacity to accommodate everything used throughout the day, from large pots to small cutlery. Many overseas manufacturers make them, but in Japan, Rinnai offers front-open models.

However, even if you can’t install a front-open one, I would definitely install a sliding open dishwasher. The sliding open type is used for every meal. I’m not good at arranging dishes in the dishwasher, so it quickly fills up, and I end up handwashing the dishes that didn’t fit. However, it’s still better than not having one. Washing dishes and then drying them is a time-consuming task. I personally want to spend that time with my children instead.

  • Front-open
    • Merits:
      • Large capacity
      • Easy to put large pots and small cutlery (small items go on the top shelf)
      • Strong cleaning power (I feel so, it’s my personal opinion)
    • Demerits:
      • Powder-type detergent use is assumed
  • Sliding open
    • Merits:
      • Wide variety of manufacturers and types
      • Can use various types of detergents
    • Demerits:
      • Limited capacity Tabletop Type

Tabletop Type

Tabletop dishwashers are excellent as they can be installed around the sink without any construction work. They can be used even in rental properties, and there is a wide variety of dishwasher sizes available, from single-person to family sizes. It’s difficult to create space around the sink for the dishwasher (it also creates a sense of oppression…), but once you clear that, you can install it immediately.

Moreover!!! There is also a flat-rate usage service (Panasonic). This is great!! You won’t know the goodness of a dishwasher until you actually use it. However, buying one costs a considerable amount, so with the flat-rate usage, you can check if it suits your lifestyle in advance. If you don’t use it, you can cancel it…

Panasonic Store Plus Dishwasher Flat-rate Usage Service
I could only find Japanese websites.

The usage is similar to that of a built-in sliding open type, but no matter how large the capacity is, it can’t fit all the dishes used throughout the day. So, it’s the image of using the dishwasher after every meal. Dishes that don’t fit are handwashed. But, I’ll repeat, it’s better to have one than not! Working moms are busy. Let’s use what we can to streamline our housework.

Vacuum Cleaner + Mop

My third essential tool is not a robot vacuum cleaner, but… I strongly recommend “Dyson vacuum cleaner and the mop attachment set.”

I have used both a robot vacuum cleaner (Roomba) and a floor-washing robot (Braava). However, I recommend “Dyson vacuum cleaner and the mop attachment set.”

The reason is simple: it’s fast! It finishes quickly!

I used a robot vacuum cleaner while I was out, but it often got stuck in narrow places like under the sofa and frequently stopped working. Even when I used it while at home, it took too long. My children complained that they couldn’t play while it was running. Since my family is impatient, we concluded that it’s faster to vacuum normally.

However, when you have small children, just vacuuming is not enough to make the floor clean. There are times when the floor is sticky or has pencil or pen marks, and just vacuuming doesn’t make it clean. That’s when I introduced Dyson’s mop. It was better than I imagined.

Even without exerting much force like with a Quickle Wiper, the floor becomes sparkling clean. I wet the mop with water and spray it with My Pet to use it. Since the mop is washable, I can use it repeatedly, which is eco-friendly. Until now, I only wiped the floor during the year-end cleaning, but now it’s become part of my weekly routine. This remarkable product greatly reduces the hurdle of floor cleaning.

We happened to use Dyson’s vacuum cleaner, so we could attach the mop as an option. But even if you don’t use Dyson’s vacuum cleaner, it’s okay. There is a cordless electric mop with similar functions. It’s really recommended because you can easily clean the floor while standing.

By the way, after mopping, the floor is slippery until the water evaporates, so be careful if you have small children at home.


The three essential tools I recommend for impatient moms in Japan are…

  • Gas Clothes Dryer – “Kanta”
  • Dishwasher
  • Vacuum Cleaner + Mop

That’s it!!

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