Cleaning up at the end of a long day may be the last thing on your to-do list. But, if you complete these simple tasks each night, your mornings will be easier. And you’ll experience less stress as a result.
They say opposites attract. While my husband and I have a lot of similarities, our cleaning styles are much different. For example, after the kids go to bed my husband wants to relax on the couch before cleaning up. I’d much rather get all the cleaning out of the way. Then I can spend the rest of my night relaxing. One thing we agree on is that there are certain tasks we like to try and get done before we go to bed at night. Because if we do, the next morning always goes more smoothly.
Straighten Your Living Area
The majority of our time each day is spent in our kitchen and living room. Which also means those are the rooms that get the messiest. Between homework and toys and meals, it’s easy for the space to get cluttered. My husband and I try to have our kids clean up their messes as they are made. But inevitably, there are still various belongings strewn between these rooms. By taking the time to clean them up before going to bed, it’s easier to start the next day fresh.
Whether you have a dishwasher or do dishes by hand, getting the dishes done each night means clean dishes the next morning. This seems obvious. But how many times have you gone to get a bowl or plate at breakfast only to find that everything is dirty? Sure, it only takes an extra 2-3 minutes to wash one. But that’s 2-3 minutes you could have saved by doing it the night before. We are a family of 5 and I’m still shocked at how quickly we go through dishes. We fill up and run our dishwasher most nights because if we wait until the next morning, it just doesn’t get done and then we are stuck with a sink full of dirty dishes.
Prepare the Next Day’s Meals
Plastic containers are some of my best friends when it comes to cleaning up any leftovers from dinner each night. My husband and I try not to spend a lot of money eating out. One way to do that is to make sure that grabbing food for the next day is convenient. Rather than put all of our leftovers in one big container, my husband puts enough for himself in a smaller one. The rest go in a different one for me and the kids to eat the next day. It doesn’t take long and if you are doing the dishes nightly, you’ll need to clean out the different pots/pans you used to make your meal anyway.
Clean Off and Wipe Counters
When my counters are cluttered or have crumbs all over them, I feel less organized. By taking a few minutes at night to clear them off and wipe them down, it allows me to start fresh the next day. If possible, keeping small appliances off the counters also helps the kitchen feel cleaner. I remember when we made the simple move to keep our toaster in a cabinet instead of on the counter. I instantly felt better. Plus there were a lot less crumbs to deal with. *wink* Additionally, it’s good to clean them off and get rid of the germs that can accumulate.
Gather Kids Backpacks, Shoes and Jackets Into One Place
One thing that has made our mornings run smoothly is to put my daughter’s backpack, shoes, and jacket by the front door the night before. We’ve already checked that her homework and reading is in her backpack. So there’s no rushing around the next morning before the bus comes to make sure it’s there. The same thing goes for her shoes and jacket. When you have a designated place to put the things you need in the morning, it’s easier to not feel rushed or stressed.
Gather Your Purse, Wallet and Keys Into One Place
My husband has a horrible habit of pulling his wallet and keys out of his pocket and setting them down in random places around the house. I can’t count the number of times he’s been rushing out the door in the morning, only to find that one of these things is missing and he can’t remember where he put them. However, I always keep my keys and wallet in my diaper bag so I always know where they are. (See what I mean about opposites attract? *wink*)
When I’m getting ready to run errands, I know that all I have to do is grab my bag. All of my stuff is already in there. If there are other items that you don’t normally take with you when you leave but need to remember, place them either in your car or right in front of the door so you will see them when you go to leave.
And there you have it! Six nightly cleaning tasks to make your mornings easier and less stressful. Once you get into a habit of doing them each night, it will become second nature and will only take a few minutes of your time to complete.