Let’s face it. Mornings are a hectic time in many households. Those snooze buttons are so tempting, there never seems to be enough time to get ready, you skip breakfast and frantically grab your things on the way out the door.
Routines keep things running like a well oiled machine. You probably often hear about the importance of creating a morning routine, but do you also follow an evening routine? The best morning routines begin the night before.
7 Practical Evening Routine Tasks
In our house, we like to eat dinner and finish up all our chores and to-dos right after work so the rest of the evening can be spent relaxing. Sometimes that means watching a show together or just talking, other times David heads to his office to play video games while I blog and watch Netflix.
Although it feels fabulous to relax the entire night away, I’ve also found it essential to have a simple evening routine in place that will jumpstart the next morning. Here are a few ideas of tasks to add to your evening routine to make mornings feel like a walk in the park.
1. Prep Breakfast
We normally eat cold foods like cereal and yogurt for breakfast which are easy to prepare. I usually buy the large tubs of yogurt and then divide them out into single serving containers, topping them with frozen berries to create an easy parfait. I usually make several parfaits all at once, so I double check the fridge in the evening to make sure one is ready to go for tomorrow. There’s not much to do to prepare for eating a bowl of cereal, but I do try to make sure I always have a couple boxes in stock and that there are clean bowls in the cupboard.
If your family is always in a rush and runs out of time for breakfast, consider ways you can prep things the night before. I know a lot of people who make oatmeal in their crockpots so it’s ready in the morning, and overnight oats are also popular.
Also think of ways you can set up a breakfast station that will make it easy for the kids to help themselves. This will depend on their ages, but maybe setting out cereal boxes, bowls and spoons on the counter will mean they can help themselves once they are dressed.
And don’t forget to prepare for those inevitable crazy mornings when there’s simply no time to sit down and eat. Stock a basket in the pantry with grab and go items like granola bars, bake a batch of healthy muffins that can be eaten in the car or have yogurts and disposable spoons handy so you can eat it at your desk at work.
2. Pack Lunches
Packing lunches the night before is another huge timesaver! Pack lunches for the whole family so the only thing you have to do in the morning is remember to actually grab them on your way out the door! David and I keep lunches super simple and budget-friendly, usually peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a few snacks like chips, string cheese and yogurt.
In an effort to keep cold lunches from getting too boring, try having supplies for three sandwiches and several sides on hand so you can combine them in different ways for each day of the week. Corral all of your sandwich making supplies in one basket in the fridge, and dump all of the kids’ single serving snacks in a big basket in the pantry so they can choose two or three things to go in their lunch every day.
3. Lay Out Clothing
I’ve never been great at laying out my clothes the night before, but it is seriously worth the effort. I have a horrible habit of staring at my closet and thinking I have nothing to wear when I really have an entire closet full of perfectly good choices. Too many choices is overwhelming, especially first thing in the morning!
Add a hook to the back of your bedroom door or inside of the closet door and hang the next day’s outfit on it. Even if you don’t plan out every last accessories, just having a top and bottom chosen in advance will make getting ready to work so much easier.
I think laying out outfits for the kids is a no brainer so they can get dressed themselves if they are old enough, and so you have one less choice to make in the morning.
Don’t forget to also set out your workout clothes if you work out in the morning or if you pack them so you can go to the gym after work.
Further Reading: Check out these printable closet labels from Making Life Lovely. Use them to label outfits for every day of the week!
4. Pack Your Bag
Spend a few minutes gathering up everything that needs to go to work and school in the morning. This includes your purse, briefcase, backpacks, gym bags, etc. Make sure all homework and permission slips are put back in backpacks before bed!
5. Tidy Up
This instantly makes my mornings feel more relaxed! Rather than wake up to a messy house, take some time to tidy up before you go to bed. For me, this means straightening up the living room, doing the dishes and wiping down the counters.
Decide on a couple tasks that you can do every night to keep the house clean and eliminate stress in the mornings. I recommend focusing on the main living areas during your evening routine.
6. Make A To-Do List
When I sit down on the couch for the night, I often open up my planner and write down anything I need to accomplish the following day. I’ll check my Google Calendar to see if I have any meetings or appointments, and then fill in the rest of the day with other to-dos.
Consider creating a to-do list at night. It can be something simple that you type into the notes on your phone, or you can handwrite a quick list. If you end the day feeling overwhelmed, you may want to spend a few minutes doing a brain dump of everything on your mind. Brain dumps help me get all my thoughts on paper so they aren’t swimming around in my brain keeping me up when I’m trying to fall asleep.
7. Wind Down
I hope this list gives you ideas of tasks to add to your evening routine that will make your mornings less stressful!
What other things do you do in the evenings to prepare for the day ahead?
Creating an evening routine is a fabulous thing to do, but why stop there! Take my free five-day Organize Your Week course and learn how to get organized by planning a routine for your entire week.