There’s no such thing as a smooth morning routine — or is there? Our alarms go off at 6:30 a.m., the chaos of the morning begins, and we always feel like we’re running late. Either one of the kids has walked out the door forgetting to grab their homework or you’ve misplaced the keys. We asked our resident decluttering expert Peter Walsh to share his top tips for keeping your mornings organized.
I know you’re waiting for me to reveal magic hints that will shave those precious minutes off your schedule. Frankly, I’m sure, if you were to Google it, you would find pages of “hacks” where people demonstrate things such as how to apply your make-up while sipping your tea and walking the dog. Some of these ideas are good, but they don’t always make the big change in people’s lives that I believe they’re looking for.
Instead, I’m going to offer you the two most important pieces of organizing advice I can give you. If you learn just these two things and incorporate them into your life, you will save time and feel far more relaxed and in control every single day.
Everything has its place.
I am a big fan of what I call “old wisdom” and recall that my grandmother often used to say there should be “a place for everything and everything should be in its place.”
Think about how you might apply this to your home and daily life. What things do you constantly need or use every morning? Make a list. My guess is their things like keys, wallet, or purse, kids’ school bags and homework, lunches, and perhaps a few other things specific to you and your family.
If you designate a place where each of these things lives, and if they’re all near each other by the door, you’ll quickly and easily see what’s there and what you still need to gather. When you don’t have to scramble to look, you’ll feel far more in control. And the added benefit is that everyone in your family knows where things belong when it comes time to put them away.
Routines are your friend.
If you embrace this friend, I promise your life will be easier! Quit the habit of just putting things down. Instead, put them away. When you walk in the door, put the keys in the exact same spot every time. When you put your purse or wallet down, make sure it’s exactly where it’s supposed to be. When the kids finish their homework, the last step for them should be to gather it up, put it back in their schoolbag, and put the bag right by the front door, in the space designated for their bags.
Additionally, set up time routines. When are the lunches thought out? When are the outfits arranged? Who feeds the pets and walks the dog each day, and when? Don’t get into a stressful situation — plan ahead.
Solid routines help establish a clear sense of order. I’m a big believer that the more you get done at night before bed, the faster and easier your mornings will become. Look, things happen. We know they will. So, instead of getting thrown off track when something unexpected turns up, plan extra time for it.
Organizing isn’t just about your stuff — it’s about the way you live your life. The most organized people do have some magic, in their time-preparation and ability to think ahead. Be that person. Start small. Set up one new routine for yourself and your family, get everyone on board, and stick to it. Then, assuming it’s as painless as I expect it to be, add more. Soon, you’ll be living a far more organized, less-stressful life. Trust me!
If You Only Have 10 Minutes
Set up one new routine for yourself, a place for your keys. Find that nice bowl you received as a gift, which has been sitting in a cabinet and take it out. Put it by the door. From now on, whenever you come in or go out of the house, put your keys there — not in your pockets, not back in your purse, and definitely not on the kitchen bench. The time you’ll save by not having to look through the entire house for your keys will be pretty surprising.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.