The Key to a Stress-Free Morning: The 10 Minute Tidy
Mornings are tough.
Mornings are chaotic.
Mornings with kids are insane!
Let’s face it, in most homes there is just too much to do in too little time. Many working moms run around like crazy trying to get out the door in the morning with all the stuff they need for the day. But, this sets the harried, stressful pace for the rest of the day.
What if, instead, we used our mornings to invigorate us and set a positive tone for the day. One where we are organized and energized to take on the day! Instead of getting up on the wrong side of the bed or starting out on the wrong foot – let’s start our day out on the right side of the bed and on the right foot.
To do this, we have to start the night before. This is crucial to a stress-free morning. It’s a simple matter of getting organized and tidying up our physical space so we’re not tripping over everything and hunting for keys lost under a pile of paperwork. Taking care of some of our clutter in the evening, meals less stress and less anxiety as we’re preparing for our day. This makes everyone’s day start off on a better note.
But, I know you’re busy and spending an hour each night cleaning up isn’t going to fit into your already full schedule. But you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in 10 (distraction-free) minutes. The tasks below can be done by yourself, your partner or your kids. And if everyone gets involved it will take less than 10 minutes.
Set a timer on your phone, put on some uplifting/dance music, put the phone down (this part is crucial – remember no distractions) and GO!
The 10 Minute Tidy
- Put the shoes/coats/hats/outdoor gear back in the closets.
- Collect the junk mail and newspapers and put them in your recycling bin. Quickly sorting your junk mail and flyers each day can help keep kitchen counter tops clear and keep your important paperwork (like school permission forms or licence plate renewals) from getting lost in amongst the junk.
- Put the clothing where it belongs (either in the laundry or back in the closet) and not just lying on the floor, a chair or the end of the bed. I struggled with this for a while because what do you do with the “not quite ready for the laundry, but I wore it for 3 hours” pants? I have a spot in my closet where these shirts and pants get hung – right at the front so I can put them on the next day (or following day).
- Store electronics and media out of sight. Kids DVDs, video games, leap pads, iPads, remote controls, game controllers, etc. can really clutter up your main floor. Taking less than 1 minute to put these away can go a long way to making your mornings easier. Out of sight out of mind – your kids are less likely to plop down on the couch to play a game if the controllers are in a drawer.
- Empty your pockets/wallet and put the coins, receipts etc. where they need to go. This makes laundry day easier in addition to making your life more organized. We have a spare change jar in our kitchen for “coffee money” (or Girl Scout cookies) and pockets get emptied into there; receipts are either tossed or put in a tray to file.
- Clear your bathroom counters. It’s so easy for bathrooms to get cluttered with everyone’s various hygiene and personal care products – but when you’re trying to get ready in the morning working around the mess can be stressful and add precious time to your morning routine.
- Put all homework in the school bags. No more phone calls at work that your child left their math homework at home. Get your kids in the habit of putting all of their schoolwork in their bag the night before!
- Put kitchen items away. I’m assuming that you’ve done some after dinner tidying already (or this will take more than 60 seconds) but tidy up anything that’s been left on the counters since dinner, so you have clear counters to prepare breakfast in the morning.
- Put toys back in their bins. I say bins because this is the easiest way to sort and put toys away (especially with young kids), but it can be any storage system you have. If you can’t get the toy room done, at least get the common spaces and bedroom toys tidied up. This is a great one to teach your kids at a young age. No one wants to step on a Lego or toy car in the morning as you’re trying to get out the door.
- Put paperwork to be filed in a tray (and block off a timeslot to file it this week). If you can file it, even better. But realistically, putting it all in one place to be dealt with will save you from losing important pieces, missing bill payments or losing a receipt for something you need to return. Just make sure to block off time to tackle this tray. I like to spend about 30 minutes Sunday afternoons doing this and if I stay on top of it weekly it doesn’t take me more than 10 minutes to do this. Tip: Get your bills electronically and there’s even less to file.
All of these items can be done in about 1 minute or less (and eventually you’ll notice that you end up doing some of these things automatically throughout your day so they don’t need to be done later that evening … like putting the coats and shoes away and emptying the pockets or putting homework in bags).
Taking time to do these things makes our morning a lot less stressful as you won’t be searching for items as you’re trying to run out the door (or tripping over toys and shoes as you corral your toddler).
Post this checklist somewhere in on your main floor and get the family involved in creating this new evening habit.
What will be the easiest part to incorporate in your family? What will be the most challenging task? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next week …
Stress-Free Morning Checklist
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Are you barely surviving the chaos of motherhood with your sanity intact?
I work with busy moms to help them get organized so they can simplify their lives, reclaim their time, and reduce their stress. Using a combination of time management, organization and stress management techniques, I help my clients go from surviving the chaos to thriving as a working mom.
Helping you save your sanity one day at a time.
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