Can't seem to make it out the door on time in the morning? We hear you! With so much to do before breakfast, it's a wonder you and the kids don't forget your lunches more often. If you'd prefer a home that ran more like clockwork-and less like a four-alarm-fire drill-consider our experts' tips for revamping your morning routine. (Hint: A well-run morning starts before you go to bed!) Follow their advice and you might just make it to work without breaking a sweat.
Designate a place for school paperwork.
Nothing derails a morning like finding out at the last minute that your son has a field trip and he can't find the permission slip for it. In lieu of having him miss out on a unique experience, get him in the habit of using an after-school outbox, urges Barry Izsak, a professional organizer and founder of Arranging It All in Austin, Texas. Use a stacking tray or magazine holder with enough slots so that each child has his or her own space. When they open their bags to do homework, permission slips, school newsletters and notes from their teachers, as well as graded homework and tests, go into their designated slots. Once you've reviewed it all, return anything that needs to go to school the next day so they can place it in their backpacks.
Plan for the a.m. during the p.m.
If your kitchen feels like the eye of a hurricane in the morning, tackle the next day's tasks while you're making dinner, suggests Gisela Lowenstein, creator of The Glow System cleaning and organization program. Set the timer on your coffeepot to start brewing a few minutes before you wake up. Designate a spot on the counter for breakfast must-haves, including cereal bowls, coffee mugs and juice glasses. Finally, pack lunches and put them front and center in the fridge. By setting up all the essentials the night before, you'll have them at the ready during the whirlwind that begins as soon as the alarm goes off. Photo: Shutterstock
Make it easier to find your makeup.
Organize and store your makeup in a hanging cosmetic bag with clear pockets, suggests Alejandra Costello, cofounder of Color-Coded, a creative professional organizing company. Eyeliner pencils go in one pocket, lipsticks in another, blush compacts in another. Reserve one pocket for the makeup you wear on a day-to-day basis-your favorite foundation, go-to mascara and so on-and you won't have to fumble through sparkly special-occasion eyeshadows and stray nail polish bottles during the morning rush to get ready. Photo: Shutterstock
Be weather-wise-not weather-weary.
There's nothing worse than finally making it out the door, only to realize that it's now raining, snowing, hailing-or any other weather condition that requires a few accessories to cover your work wear. Avoid a last-minute scramble for protective gear by getting in the habit of checking the weather report on your computer or smartphone before you shut it down for the night. "As they say, there's an app for that," jokes Lowenstein. Based on the forecast, set aside what you'll need to get through the day. So, if it looks like rain, round up umbrellas, galoshes and raincoats and leave them by the door. Photo: Shutterstock
Get the kids to start thinking ahead.
Any parent knows that in the rush to get the kids to the school bus on time, many important things can get left behind, like lunches and homework. Which is why it's a good idea to get your kids to do the bulk of their morning "stuff" the night before, says Alexandra Mayzler, founder of Thinking Caps Tutoring. As soon as homework is done, school bags should be packed and left by the door. If your daughter needs her racquet for tomorrow's tennis lesson or your son has a library book to return, those should be packed before bed, too. Same goes for clothing: Izsak suggests helping your children decide what they're going to wear the night before. If you're going to have the "But I want to wear a tutu!" fight, you may as well have it when you're not trying to get out the door. If the thermometer's been all over the place lately, opt for outfits with layers-a sweatshirt over a short-sleeve T-shirt or a dress with leggings-so you can make adjustments for the weather without starting from scratch. Photo: Shutterstock
Claim a shelf in the medicine cabinet.
When you're in a hurry, things will inevitably go wrong-and you'll end up wasting precious time. For example, how many times have you been scrambling to get ready only to knock your contact lens case off the bathroom sink…and into the toilet bowl? Even if the rest of your bathroom is completely cluttered, clear an eye-level shelf in the medicine cabinet for essentials that family members use every morning, says Allison Perkins, professional organizer and founder of Reclaim organizing service. This way, the items you need and use every day (contact lens solution, moisturizer) will be at your fingertips. Photo: Jonathan Kantor/Getty Images
Tweak your closet for your size and season.
Don't let a cluttered closet derail your morning, says Lorie Marrero, professional organizer and creator of ClutterDiet.com. This system will help you wrangle your wardrobe without doing a full-on closet overhaul: Designate one end of your closet for "too big" clothes and the other for "too small." ( Hanging closet organizers can help you keep tabs on everything.) If one pair of black pants doesn't fit, move it to the correct end of the closet and try on the next; do the same with blouses, skirts and so on. After a few weeks, you'll be able to assemble a well-fitting outfit from the center of your closet without having to try on the same six pairs of black pants every time. Next up: Sort by season. If your winter gear is still hanging front and center, remove any clothes that are stained or worn out (no point in packing those up), then wash or dry-clean the rest and store in underbed storage bins until it's time to actually wear them again, suggests Ruth Hansell, a professional organizer of 19 years in Sonoma County, California.Get your closet in order with these clutter-busting tips.
Hang your keys as a reminder for other things.
Follow this handy tip and you'll never forget your lunch or scramble to find your keys again. Stick a magnetic hook on your refrigerator door, says Leslie Jacobs, the personal organizer behind Les Is More organizing service. When you come home for the day, hang your keys on the fridge. They'll be at the ready when you are-and they'll remind you to open the refrigerator door and grab your lunch, too.
Tidy up for 10 minutes to contain the clutter.
Before you let your kids watch TV at night, get the family together for a "straighten-up-the-house session," suggests professional organizer Kristi Meyer. If everyone pitches in every day, the whole session should take 10 minutes, tops. Don't use the time to vacuum and mop, just put things back where they belong, unload the dishwasher, wipe up crumbs and so on. Your mornings will go more smoothly when the house isn't covered in things for you to trip over. Photo: Shutterstock
Limit your distractions.
It's easy to get caught up in a morning show segment, lose track of time and end up leaving late for work. As tempting as it may be, don't turn on your TV or computer in the morning, urges Debby Lea, the professional organizer behind Streamlined Solutions. Both are unnecessary distractions in a time-pressed home. If you use your morning TV to catch up on the news, turn on the radio for the latest headlines instead. If you must check your work email, use a Web-enabled smartphone to scan messages, but wait until you get to the office to respond to non-urgent ones. Photo: Shutterstock
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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