When you wake up do you feel tired? groggy? unprepared? stressed? I have, many times in fact. I started to become REALLY tired of being tired. Being more prepared can take away the common stressors that we experience in our mornings. Your bedroom is where you begin and end your day - so it is especially important to have a minimal space that you can rest and recharge. I can confidently tell you that my mornings are much less stressful and harmonious when I commit to a routine and feeling more organized. Whether you realize it or not, your brain registers a disorganized environment as a job to be completed. The "principle of sleep hygiene" is that "you need a space you are comfortable in, where you are able to tune out and turn off". A bedroom or home in general that is overflowing with mess can make it hard to put away thoughts of "unfinished tasks" and lead to sleep-disrupting anxiety (According, to Dr. Carl Bazil from Colombia University Medical School). You want your bedroom and home to feel like your home, not like a storage room or dumping ground. If you're finding that the clutter is overwhelming, it's important to analyze your choices. You can have the item(s) or the space that the item(s) is taking up, not both.
Clothing, accessories /jewelry, a few books, a notebook & pen, and any other bedtime aids are among the few items that should be in your bedroom. Studies have shown that people who have cluttered bedrooms reported sleeping worse than those who don't have clutter.
By taking the actions to prepare for your morning you are setting yourself up for success. We often hear about the importance of instilling a routine for children, but often dismiss the value of routine as adults. How we begin our days can set the tone for how we function and flow throughout our day. Changing your habits can take time. It doesn't necessarily happen overnight, but taking the steps to improve your lifestyle goes a long way. Like any lifestyle change, consistency is key. It is not about being perfect or having a perfect household. It was never about that. It's about making asking yourself does this action support the lifestyle that I want to be living. So here are my top ten tips of how to get sorted in the evenings for a simplified morning PLUS a bonus morning game changer!
1. Put dishes in the dishwasher.
Before you head to bed, empty (if needed) and fill the dishwasher! If you don't have a dishwasher wash what is in the sink or on the kitchen counter. While you sleep your dishes will be washed and ready for your morning routine! By cleaning your dishes each night you reduce your chances of attracting bugs, mold build up, and odor. Plus, it just feels better to have maintained this household task. Whether you live alone or with a house full of kids, dirty dishes are notorious for piling up fast! If you don't clean each day it can only get worse. So do yourself a favor and put the dishes in the dishwasher.
2. Charge your main electronic devices.
Before you go to bed, I highly recommend storing your electronic devices outside of your bedroom. If you aren't ready to set that boundary then I recommend placing them in a designated drawer or box in your bedroom. By doing this you will reduce the visibility of the many little lights that accompany them. As well, charging your devices overnight will have them fully charged and ready for you as you take on your day!
3. Lightly tidy the living room.
Before you go to bed, take the time to ensure that the common areas are tidy because it makes for an especially restful sleep! Folding any blankets, setting up the couch cushions, removing any toys (children or pet related!) from the area rug, and clearing the coffee table makes for a calming space. Remember, it's not about perfection - just clearing the space and putting items away so that your space is fresh for the next day.
4. Lightly tidy the kitchen.
Before you head to bed, clear the counters of any excess items, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and wipe down the counters. The kitchen doesn't need to be spotless, but it helps to have a tidy kitchen. It always feels better to tidy your kitchen the night before so that when you wake up to get ready, make breakfast, and prepare to head out the door you can do so without any setbacks like having to scramble to wash dirty plates and mugs!
5. Pack for tomorrow.
Before you go to bed, check that your keys, wallet, workbook, water bottle and any other items that you will need tomorrow when you are heading out the door! Making your lunch the night before is also a game changer. It's better to have realized you that you misplaced something in the evening than in the morning right before you leave for work or to drop off the kids! No one wants to start their day in a panic and I certainly do not want that for your either! So do yourself a favor and pack for tomorrow.
6. Decide your outfit the night before.
Before you head to bed, it is extremely helpful to know what you are going to wear the next day. In fact, it is surprisingly a major time-saver. I have incorporated this into my evening routine and it makes getting ready so much more pleasant. Layout your entire outfit from shirt and pants to underwear and any accessories. Get specific so that you do not have to make any decisions in the morning on what you are going to wear.
7. Communicate with your spouse and/or kids on their upcoming schedule(s)
Before you head to bed, check-in with your partner and/or kids. Communication is key! Before heading to bed, I have found it so helpful to check-in with my partner on what's going on in each others schedules. If you have kids, checking-in on their schedules can be so helpful for everyone. Whether that looks like dropping off kids to school earlier for a basketball try-outs or making dinner plans with your friends. If you struggle to communicate with your partner or kids then I highly recommend some soul-searching on why that is. If we can improve in any way - being able to effectively communicate with your family is a major one. If we are able to communicate our schedules then it provides the opportunity to see how we can best support one another.
8. Put away clothes
Before you go to bed, put away your clothes. Don't leave any clothes on the floor, on a chair, or your bed. Put them in the hamper, hang them up, or fold them into your dresser drawers. When we do a little each day it makes it much easier to maintain then trying to do it all on a Sunday. Especially, if you have kids in the house - I highly recommend doing one load of laundry every day. Because, it beats writing off your whole Sunday to chores.
9. Create and review your to-do list.
Before you go to bed, make a to-do list. If you have a busy life with many responsibilities chances are you have a lot on your mind. As someone who also has a scattered brain and tends to several social and professional responsibilities when I write down everything that I need to do the next morning and day it's as if I am emptying it out of my mind. Among the many benefits of creating a list includes structure, sense of ease, and clarity. It also reduces the chances of you not forgetting anything that you need to complete! If you find list making daunting, then I recommend creating subsections in your to-do lists such as a self-care section, a professional section, personal/social section, and a cleaning/tidying section. It puts your needs into a clearer perspective and from there you can better prioritize.
10. Invest some time for yourself.
Before your go to bed, check-in with yourself. I know. You may be thinking..OH, F*CK OFF. LOL. I know many people find taking time for themselves challenging, guilt-wrenching, or truly feeling that they do not have enough time. This is precisely why I am writing this blog. I want to provide readers with tools and guidance to have more time and energy. Taking time to reflect and check-in with yourself is just as productive to your health and wellness as anything else. We can often get lost in our careers and taking care of others that we lose track of how we are feeling and recognizing what we need. So unplug, brew yourself a cup of chamomile tea, maybe do a face mask, write in a journal, read, stretch, or just be still.
BONUS: Rise 'n Shine - Make your damn bed.
YES, i'm telling you to make your bed! So, when the sun rise, your alarm starts blaring, and you roll out of bed - make it. It doesn't need to be hotel standards, but make it. It feels good, fresh, and productive. It truly is the best way to begin your day. It will simply make you feel better to not see a mess. As Lewis Howes said, "it's not just about having a neat place to come back to later. It's about instilling order in your life." Committing to completing the small tasks such as making your bed, taking a shower, and eating breakfast. They are small tasks that you absolutely can guarantee that you'll get done at the beginning of your day. Prioritize your time to the best of your abilities - because, when your prioritize your time, you are prioritizing yourself.
Apply these evening routines so that your mornings can be simplified and all you'll have to do it rise 'n shine!
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the level of clutter and disorganization in your home - let me tell you now - you do not have to keep living in it. Reaching out to others can be uncomfortable - there is this sense of pride that many people hold. An internal dialogue that says I need to do everything. It's okay to surrender to support from community and resources. Get Sorted offers a complimentary consultation to answer all of your many decluttering and organizing service related questions. Professional organizer provide much more than a quick tidy up - it's about going through everything by sorting, decluttering, and setting up systems as needed. Getting sorted is more than about labeling containers and jars or picking up things off the floor - it's where organization meets wellness.
What do you do in the evenings to prepare for the morning?
WE MADE IT! New year, same you, but with an extra notch of experience! Whether we like to admit it or not, we gain some form of experience in life through each year that passes. Personally, I completed another year in business - and I'm still here! Get Sorted still exists and is supporting so many individuals and families. And, for that I am beyond grateful. Don't worry, I don't want to bombard you with yet another "NEW YEAR-NEW ME" trendy topic, so instead of telling you why the "new you" is "better". Instead, I want to focus on the importance of self-reflection. It's important to self-reflect even if you don't like doing it. Reasons you may not like self-reflecting is because it causes you to slow down, acknowledging that you don't understand something, experiencing inefficiency or messiness, or having to take personal responsibility...yikes! For many, this is like pulling teeth. But, truly, this is short term pain for long term gain. Think of self-reflection as an investment...in yourself. The more you know about yourself the better partner, leader, friend, co-worker, and community member you can be!
OKAY, I know we are a week into January but, you know those few days in between Christmas and New Years where everyone is just reeling in from the whirlwind of a holiday season that just blew by them and no one knows what day it is, what’s really going on, or where they’re headed in life? Yeah. Those days that seem to get lost in a time warp are often the first few days where people start to reflect about the past year, or in this case, the past decade. So many of us in the final days of 2019, spent our time writing in our journals about the top 10 things that happened to us this decade, making vision boards, re-posting our best 9 on Instagram, and obsessing about how we will absolutely, definitely, CHANGE, in the new year and how the following decade will positively DEFINE our lives. And a lot of us shared our best intentions with the world via Instagram, Facebook, and whatever social media platform would listen to us pour our hearts out.
This willingness to change can be well intentioned, yet so scattered and misplaced. Our list of resolutions can go on and on! Our goal setting has just turned into one resolution a month, one thing to do a day - but there are 12 months and 365 days! For some of us, in spite of our best efforts to do better for ourselves, we have just inadvertently caused ourselves to feel overwhelmed at the thought of aaalll of those new habits that we have to improve on and all of the goals that we have to reach. As well, it takes more than just writing down the vague goal - we need to be SPECIFIC and create a plan. Start with one or two goals and expand from there. Our need for perfection and so-called success has actually caused us to feel the opposite - failure, as we struggle through the clutter that is our resolution list all while realizing that we cannot possibly achieve it all at once.
So in 2020, we should reframe this narrative of self care from a never-ending series of instagrammable highlight reels of our life, to being true, honest, and steadfast with ourselves about the things we need to focus on in order to live the life we are striving to live. This is about the real work. The dirty work. The sit-down-with-yourself-and-get-shit-done, work. & it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to dive deep and sit with that one thing that seems to be stopping you from feeling your full potential. Because it’s often buried under so many other things that disguised as the actual thing. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the things we don’t acknowledge but need to. It’s the things that keep us up at night and are at the back of our heads during the day.
True self-work, is facing our deepest fears, regrets and desires - the same way that organizing our spaces and our homes allows us to see through these things. We need to sift and sort through the mental and emotional clutter in order to exist as our authentic selves. And this processing part of the equation towards a better life can be messy, and confusing and can downright feel off. But that’s the point of processing, because once we’ve acknowledged and processed the heavy stuff, it’s time to start letting stuff go.
The beginning of this decade feels intense. 2020 on a personal and global level is defining in the ways that we move through the rest of the decade and the rest of our lives. I will I choose to live my life and how will I choose to impact other people's lives. In recognizing our own shortcomings (whether it be our triggers, weaknesses, or disadvantages), in seeing the problem with clear eyes, we can begin anew. It takes knowing what will propel us and what will slow us down. 2020 can be a fresh start to a year full of committing to ourselves in healthy ways that benefit us and everyone around us. We can create reasonable resolutions, realistically achievable goals, and slowly but surely create real and lasting change in our lives.
Professional organizer's perspective on all things clutter, organizing, health, minimalism, and more!