I thrive on routines. I do best knowing exactly what is coming next. When I was younger I was good with spontaneity but now, we are not good friends. Unless it’s a trip to the beach. I can drop everything any day of the week and go stick my toes in the sand. Other than the beach, I need structure, organization and lists. Just give me ALL the lists 🙂 There’s something very satisfying about crossing something off my to do list.
MY EVENING ROUTINE
One of the biggest routines in my life is my nighttime routine. Honestly, I start this list right after dinner so it may seem a little longer than most. I try to do as much as I can in the evening so my mornings can focus on the day instead of residual mess from the day before. It really doesn’t take long at all and it’s worth it! When I close my gratitude journal and bible at the end of the night it’s like I’m closing the book on the day. It lets me go to bed each night without worry.
Recently, I wrote about putting my house to bed at night and that is basically my afternoon/after dinner/ early evening routine. It’s more for everyone else in the home and our home itself. My actual night routine is all for me. I have a printed list that I keep in my planner so that nothing gets forgotten. If you want to grab my pretty printable, you can get it here.
MY AFTERNOON/AFTER DINNER/EARLY EVENING ROUTINE
We eat dinner rather early. My husband gets in from work around 4:15. I try to have dinner on the table by 4:30. His job is pretty physical and he’s ready for dinner. I like having dinner early so we have plenty of time to relax in the evenings. It makes us sound really old but it works for us. This is what I do right after dinner. It might take at most an hour to complete.
Clear the table.
This is an easy one. We get the table cleared off and my daughter will get the leftovers packed up. This gets us a head start on lunches for the next day too!
Check tomorrow’s menu & meal prep.
While my kitchen is still a mess, I’ll make sure nothing needs done for tomorrow’s meals. Since we follow more of a slow food way of eating, sometimes things have to be started a day ahead of time. If I’m making pizza, I need to start my sourdough crust the day before or take it out of the freezer. When I make beans or grains, they need to be soaked at least overnight or taken out to thaw if I’ve batched prepped some. If I’m making pancakes for breakfast, it has to be started the night before. Being in the habit of quickly checking on tomorrow’s menu means less surprises at meal times. I do most of my meal prepping on the weekend but some things work best just a day in advance. I’ll also prep any lunches, pack up leftovers, all the food things.
Run the dishwasher.
Practically a given in most houses. Get everything loaded up and give it a good wash. I usually hand wash the bigger things, pots and pans, etc. My children are responsible for the unloading and putting everything away.
Shine the sink & wipe the counter.
Since I’m already in the kitchen, I’ll do a quick spray down of Thieves cleaner on all my surfaces and shine the sink. Walking into a clean and sparkling kitchen each morning is good for my mental health. It sets the tone for a productive day.
Reboot the laundry.
I hear mamas all the time talking about how laundry has taken over their home and life. It’s one of those tasks that can easily get away from you if you don’t stay on top of it. In our house, my teens do their own laundry. I don’t wash anything from their rooms. They do their own bedding too and have for years. I start them young. I’ve gotten in the habit of doing a load of mine and hubby’s laundry almost every day. This gives me a decent routine and keeps the laundry monster at bay.
Once a week I strip down our bed and wash all of our bedding. Usually once a week I do a load of towels, sometimes twice a week. Other days I’ll throw in mine and hubby’s clothes. By doing a load almost every day, I can stay ahead of the game. Our washer fills the water level by the weight of the clothes so I’m not wasting water. It works great in our house!
While we’re on the subject of laundry…here is something I wrote about the 7 most common toxins used in commercial laundry detergent, check your labels. Also, here is my semi-homemade laundry detergent recipe, it’s a money saver!
Quick clean the house.
This one is an absolute must! I take 15-20 minutes to put things where they belong and have my children do the same. It amazes me how fast teenagers can create a path of destruction behind them, they’re worse than toddlers. Making them take some time to put things away each night helps keep their tornado from getting out of control. I’ll run the vacuum in the middle of the rooms and spot mop if necessary. This keeps our house in decent enough shape so if someone stopped by unexpectedly, I wouldn’t panic about the state it was in.
MY NIGHT ROUTINE
Since I try and have my head on my pillow by 9pm, I usually give myself an hour for my before bed, night routine.
Load my diffuser.
It’s no secret I love my essential oils. I use them for so many things but one thing I really love them for is sleep. During the day, I’ll use different blends depending on my mood. At night, I use a special blend. You can grab the recipe from my downloads page. It helps me breathe better and sleep so good. I start it at the beginning of my night routine so by the time I’m done with our walk and a shower, my room is filled with sleepy goodness!
Take our evening walk.
This is usually me, my daughter and the dog. Getting outside for a little exercise in the night air does us wonders. It’s a great way to stretch out at the end of the day and helps ensure I won’t wake up to a present from the pup, ugh!
Shower, teeth, face.
This is pretty self explanatory. Skin care is really important to me. I’m really trying to hold off on looking my age, ha! Taking just a couple minutes to cleanse, treat and moisturize my face has worked well thus far.
Check the forecast.
This is one of those things that takes seconds to do but can make a big impact on your day. Here in Charleston, our weather has a mind of it’s own. We can go through all 4 seasons in one day. You might wake up and it’s been pouring buckets of rain all night. If you have somewhere to be in the morning you have to leave early because it floods easily here and people cannot drive here when it’s raining. It’s crazy! By checking the weather, I know what to expect the next day.
Grab tomorrow’s clothes.
Since I mostly stick to a personal uniform, this one is really easy for me. I basically live in maxi skirts, leggings and tank tops but occasionally I have other things going on. Grabbing my clothes the night before ensures that I don’t have an extra decision to make early in the morning. Decision fatigue is a real thing in our culture and the less I have to think about at 5 in the morning, the better off I am.
Check my calendar.
I try to keep a basic schedule. I like things being predictable for the most part. This helps keep my calendar and life simple. Sometimes things pop up or my days deviate from the usual so just making sure I’m in the right mindset for the next day. It only takes me 5 minutes while I’m already sitting in bed.
Review tomorrow’s to do list.
My days have several moving parts. Even though my schedule is simple I have multiple things going on at once. I work part time, work on this blog, run the house, feed the villagers, etc. My to do list keeps me on track and lets me more forward on my bigger goals.
CREATING A NIGHT ROUTINE TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER
It’s important to make a night routine that works for you. We’re all in different seasons of our lives and what works for one might not work for the other. So, take a few minutes and think about what you can do to help give you are restful night’s sleep and make your mornings easier. It’s one of those “an ounce of prevention” things. Do you have school or work lunches to pack? Could you do that at night to save time? Do you spend way too much time in the morning looking for lost shoes? Round up everyone’s shoes before they go to bed. What about searching for your keys/wallet/etc? Spend a couple minutes putting everything by your launchpad before you call it a night. Just imagine if you save yourself 15 minutes in the morning. You might get time to sit and relax with a cup of coffee and drink it while it’s still hot. Ha!
ONE LAST TIP
Whatever you decide to do with your evening routine, write it down. It doesn’t matter if you pencil down a list and tape it to the fridge or download a fancy app, write it down. You can laminate it or write it on a page in your planner. Do what works for you. Especially in the beginning. After awhile, it’ll become second nature. Keep it written down anyway. You never know when you’ll have a full space cadet moment and completely forget what you need to do. Ask me how I know that…HA!
Alright mamas…what say you? What do you do at night to get yourself ready for bed? What do you do to make your mornings better?
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