1 | Prep breakfast
Plan out breakfast the night before. Set breakfast items on the counter so they are ready to go, especially if you have older kids who can help themselves. Make sure there are enough clean cereal bowls for everyone and check that you have milk in the fridge.
There are some great breakfast foods that can be prepped the night before, such as overnight oats or yogurt parfaits. Keep grab and go breakfast items on hand, like yogurts, muffins and granola bars, for those extra busy mornings. My advice is to keep breakfast simple so it doesn’t take a lot of time but ensures that everyone gets something to eat.
2 | Pack lunches
If you bring a packed lunch to work or send lunches to school with the kids, it’s really handy to organize a little lunch packing station in your kitchen. Read more about our lunch packing station in this post. It’s also helpful to either make a meal plan for lunches for the week or at least keep a running list of the food items you have on hand for lunches. Here’s a free lunch planner printable that can help you get organized.
Do any prep you can the night before to save time in the mornings. You can load lunch bags with pantry items that don’t need refrigerated, and you can also make cold sandwiches that just need to be grabbed from the fridge in the morning.
I try to spend a little time prepping our lunch items over the weekends. For example, I put raw veggies into snack baggies and divide veggie dip into mini food containers. I also buy big containers of yogurt and divide them into single servings topped with frozen berries. In general, we tend to buy lunch foods in bulk and divide them up into single servings ourselves. This is typically cheaper than buying snack sizes of everything.
3 | Plan for dinner
One of the worse feelings is coming home to a family asking “what’s for dinner” when you don’t have a plan. Create a meal plan for the week ahead and check it in the evening so you’re prepared. Check that you have all the ingredients, ensure the pots and pans you’ll need are clean and take anything out of the freezer that needs to defrost. If you have time in the evening, you may also be able to get a head start on the next night’s dinner by browning the hamburger, chopping the veggies, etc. You’ll feel so organized when you can quickly prepare dinner the next day!
Related Reading: 12 Genius Habits That Save Time In The Kitchen
4 | Lay out clothing
Save yourself time and headaches by planning outfits before you go to bed. It’s so much easier to get up and already have an outfit ready to go than to be staring at the closet when you’re still trying to wake up. This is also especially helpful for kids so they know exactly what they’re going to wear.
5 | Set out gym bag/workout clothes
Whether you work out in the mornings, midday or evenings, it’s smart to have your workout gear ready to go. That way you have no excuses! While you’re planning your outfit for the next day, also take a minute to pull out workout clothing and pack your gym bag so it’s ready to grab.
6 | Pack purse/backpacks
Make sure homework, permission slips and anything else your child needs are zipped up in their backpack so it’s not forgotten in the rush to the school bus. Also, stock your purse with anything you’ll need for the next day.
7 | Brain dump your thoughts
I’m a huge fan of the brain dump because it’s such a good way to clear your mind at the end of the day! I think this is one of the best things to do during your evening routine. Take a few minutes to unload all of your thoughts onto paper so you can go to sleep knowing you won’t forget about anything. I wrote all about the brain dump method in this post.
8 | Make a list and check your calendar
lt is also helpful to spend some time in the evenings to plan for the day ahead. Check your calendar to be sure you haven’t forgotten about any commitments and so you know what time you need to be out the door in the morning.
Make a to-do list or block your time for the next day so you wake up with a plan in place. This helps you know exactly what needs to get done when you wake up and it will help eliminate decision fatigue first thing in the morning.
Related Reading: Theme Your Days To Add Structure To Your Week
9 | Wind Down
When you’re thinking of things to do during your evening routine, don’t overlook the importance of allowing time to wind down and relax. You might find you sleep better if you cut yourself off from electronics a set amount of time before bed. Or maybe you have a favorite pastime that will put you in a good mood and help you relax before bedtime.
Related Reading: Giving Yourself Permission To Make ‘Me Time’ A Priority
Being intentional about using your time in the evenings to get ahead for the next day will save you so many headaches! I hope this post gave you some practical ideas for things to do during your evening routine to start your morning off right.
What do you do in the evenings that makes your mornings smoother?
If you liked this post, also check out this one: 5 Morning Habits That Help Me Come Home To A Happy, Inviting & Organized Home
And if you want more practical advice for establishing a weekly routine, you’re welcome to take my free Organize Your Week email course!
Have a lovely day!