There is nothing that makes me cringe more than when I wake up in the morning (or middle of the night if I’ve got a cranky or sick toddler) and coming downstairs to a mess. Waking up to see toys all over the place and dirty dishes in the sink is a sure way to put a dent in my day and it’s only just begun!
I have much better mornings (and that translates into much better days) when I can wake up to a clean and organized house. On the days when this happens things run so much smoother, we are able to be on time, and I don’t feel frazzled or yell at my kids, and the feeling is generally more peaceful.
I’ve come to realize that it isn’t by chance that this happens, but that I need to be intentional about how I spend the last few minutes of my evening the night before. By putting a simple routine in place before I hit the sack at night can make all the difference the next morning.
1. PICK OUT KIDS CLOTHES WHILE THEY TIDY UP THEIR ROOM.
– When it’s time for the kids to head up for bed we have started doing a quick tidy up of their rooms while getting pajamas on and getting ready for bed. Firstly, because my son still gets out of his bed every night because he is lonely or scared and I don’t want him (or me) tripping on any toys or getting hurt. Plus it’s much easier to calm down and go to bed when the room isn’t going crazy with chaos.
While the kids are picking up their toys I will quickly grab an outfit for the next day and lay it out. That has made all the difference in getting out the door first thing in the morning. Plus it is encouraging my 4 year old to be more independent and get himself dressed.
2. DO THE DISHES.
-After the kids are put in bed (or while they are being put down if Dad is handling bedtime, can I get an AMEN?!) I will come down and finish cleaning up from dinner and make sure that the dishwasher is all loaded and the sink is empty. I love running the dishwasher at night and then in the morning or when I have some spare time during the day I can quickly unload them.
3. WIPE DOWN COUNTER TOPS AND SINK
-After the dishes are done I wipe down the sink and if I’m feeling really ambitious I’ll squirt some baby oil in there and get it to really shine! Then I’ll wipe down the counter with this awesome surface cleaner and table and leave everything looking clean. Having the counters cleaned and clear from clutter when I come down in the morning seriously gets rid of so much un-needed anxiety, keeps me calm, and helps with the morning rush.
4. SWEEP FLOORS
– I have two darling but very messy kids (and one little girl who loves to throw food on the floor. We’re working on it…). By the end of the day my floors can look like a scene from a disaster movie, Attack of the Crumbs! If I just do a quick sweep around my kitchen and under our eating areas it makes my home look so much cleaner! If I’m on a roll that night I’ll pull out the wet mopping clothes (Swiffer) quickly clean the floors. If I’ve had one of those days where everyone is lucky to still be alive (everyone has those days, right?) then we’ll stick to just sweeping.
5. PICK UP TOYS AND STRAIGHTEN UP LIVING ROOM
– At some point during our nighttime wind down we’ll be sitting on the couch watching the news, sports, or Jimmy Fallen. While I’ve got some entertainment on I’ll quickly pick up whatever toys have been left out, put the throw pillows back on the couches, and straighten up the living room.
Speaking of throw pillows….if you haven’t checked out Nanny Goat Pillows you NEED to! She has amazing pillows for amazing prices! Plus she is super awesome and always posts some great stuff on her blog. Okay, now back on topic…
6. LOOK AT CALENDAR AND PLAN TOMORROW
– One of the best ways to be prepared for the next morning is just knowing what your day looks like! I like to check my calendar and see what we have going on. If we need to be out of the house by 9:00 AM then I can plan on a quick breakfast, and make sure I have the things that we will need set out. By going to bed with an action plan for the morning lessens the chance that I will be cranky, running late, and a total nag for my kids. Ain’t nobody like that!
7. SET OUT WORKOUT CLOTHES
-The early morning before the kids get up is the best and most ideal time for me to get my workout in. That being said, I TOTALLY STRUGGLE WITH THIS! I Looooooove my sleep and getting up before the sun is out is not my favorite thing in the world. But if I don’t do my workout then, there is a 97% chance that it isn’t getting done.
To help me get out of bed and get that much needed exercise in I make sure to set out all my workout clothes before going to bed. That way, when my alarm goes off I can basically get dressed in the dark without disturbing anyone and get going. Like I said I struggle with this, but I am determined to make it work!
8. MAKE SURE TODAY’S LAUNDRY IS FOLDED AND PUT AWAY
-Before heading up to bed I do a quick double check to make sure that all the laundry from the day has been folded and put away.
Okay, I’ll be completely honest and say that I just started doing this. Why? Because I am r-e-a-l-l-y good at putting the laundry in the washer and usually getting it to the dryer. After that I can get distracted and the newly cleaned laundry can sit in the basket for days. Then I’ve basically just created another chore for myself since now I’ll need to iron everything.
So I added this to my nightly list and hopefully we can fix our little laundry problem!
9. BRING DOWN LAUNDRY TO START FIRST THING
-To go along with #8 once I make sure everything is put away I will check to see if I’ve got any other laundry that needs to be washed. I’ll just quickly grab it and put it in the laundry room. Then when I come down in the morning to make breakfast I can toss it in first thing in the morning!
10. ENJOY AT LEAST 10 MINUTES OF “ME” TIME
-Last, but certainly not least is to take at least 10 minutes to unwind and have a little “me” time. That might be reading a few pages of a good book, catching up on my guilty pleasure t.v. shows, paint my nails, take a bath or shower….. whatever I need to do to decompress and unwind for the night.
Once these 10 things (which are really quick and easy once you get into the routine) are done I can head to bed feeling calm and ready to conquer the next day. Motherhood is hard enough without starting out on the wrong foot and by taking a little bit of time at night to set the tone it really makes all the difference.