I’ve told you how much I love waking up to my morning coffee, right? And I told you how I’ve simplified the process by making it the night before. But did I happen to mention a big reason that I love my mornings so much is because when I wake up for that cup of Joe, I’m also waking up to a nice clean, practically clutter-free home? Yep, it’s true! So, “what’s the big deal” you may ask? Well for me and for many others, physical clutter creates mental clutter and mental clutter creates stress…the bad kind of stress. I’m not sure about you, but I have enough stress in my life without added stress from clutter! Honestly, I’m reminded of it every day when I look in the mirror and find another stray gray hair, so if there are ways to alleviate and prevent it…I’m all for it!!!
So, what’s the key to a stress-free morning? One word….PREPARATION! Just 15-20 minutes of routine preparation every night and you’ll be well on your way to a stress-free morning. Here are a few things you can do just before you go to bed:
1. Load your dishwasher and run it in the evening. By the way…rates are cheaper when you run your appliances at night during off-peak hours. BONUS…you save money and help out the grid!
2. Clear and wipe down the kitchen counters. Put away kitchen supplies, food and paperwork.
3. Prepare your coffee the night before and set it on a timer. (HINT: check out my previous post on how to simplifize your morning coffee making routine).
4. Review your “to-do’s” and calendar/schedule for tomorrow. This will give you a heads up on the important tasks you need to do and appointments you need to attend. It’ll also help remind you of items you need to bring with you and what type of attire to wear (next tip: #5)
5. Pack items you’ll need for tomorrow. This may be your gym bag, work clothes, paperwork, laptop, etc.
6. Lay out your clothes the night before….down to the underwear, socks and shoes. Sounds silly, huh? Yes, I know, but it is super easy and an efficient practice. No rifling through your drawers in the dark (or waking up your spouse or significant other).
7. Prep your lunch the night before. When I prepare my nightly dinners I purposefully make an extra serving or two so that my husband and I can have leftovers for lunch. Whoa! Another money-saving tip!!!
8. Straighten up your living space and bedrooms:
– Put dirty clothes in the laundry hampers
– Put away and hang up clean clothes
– Take dishes to the kitchen and put them in the sink or dishwasher
– Shut down computers or put them in “sleep” mode
– Put away remote controls. I gotta admit, remotes are my nemesis. Vampires hate garlic. I hate remote controls. (Or is it werewolves that hate garlic? Anyway…). Since remote controls are a way of life, I sewed up a remote caddy just to keep them tamed. So, Vanessa 1, remotes zero. Here’s a pic. Super easy…anyone can do it.
– Straighten up the couch and chair pillows
– Gather your magazines, newspapers and books and put them away
9. Take a look around…sigh…smile…and enjoy your clean home. You’re gonna wake up to that same refreshing sight in the morning. Woo-hoo!
So what about the kids and other folks in the household? GET THEM INVOLVED! Kids of all ages (even toddlers) can help with all or most of the above tasks. You can most certainly get them involved in cleaning up after themselves and preparing their clothes, homework, lunch and backpacks for the next day. The key with kids is giving them CLEAR and CONCISE EXPECTATIONS (oh boy…I’m starting to show some of my military training). When giving them a task or chore, clearly explain what you expect…in other words, exactly what you want the completed area or task to look like. It may take a step-by-step approach at first, and a few reminders, but once they get into a routine, you may not need to give them a reminder at all. Hey, if I can get my two and a half year old daughter to clean up her toys, put her dishes in the sink, change into her “jammies” (pj’s), brush her teeth and get her blanket for bedtime…well…you get the picture.
So there you go! An easy-breezy routine to Get Simplifized and de-stress with the ultimate nightly clutter-control routine. Hope this helps…test it out, tweak it to fit your lifestyle, and pass it on to a friend.
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