Why I Prep the Night Before and How I Do It


I don’t know what mornings are like in your house, but in mine, they can get a little crazy. Five people all trying to eat breakfast and get dressed by a decent time can get a little hectic. Especially since three out of five need a lot, and I mean a lot, of direction. Mornings that we have to be somewhere are even more stressful. I hate being rushed. I hate rushing my kids, running all over the house, wondering what I forgot on the way to our destination, and arriving somewhere in a tizzy. That’s why I prep the night before.

As a morning person, taking the time to do anything after 6:00 p.m. is not my favorite. I’d rather veg out with a book or a good show and save the hard stuff for the morning when I’m feeling fresh.

But I’m learning that if I take just 20 minutes out of my coveted relaxing time in the evening to prep for the following day, our mornings are 100 percent better. And since the way you begin your day often dictates the rest, our days are much better too.

Everything is Figureoutable :: A Mom Motto for the New YearPacking lunches and setting out clothes is a huge help. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s a bit of an art to prepping the night before that involves more than just making sure everyone has clean clothes. Since I’ve almost got it down to a science, I’m going to share my nightly prepping routine. Hopefully, it will ease some of the stress from your mornings too.

My Nightly Prep Routine

Set Out Clothes

This is the first thing I do in getting ready for the following day. It needs to be done before the kids go to bed since they sleep in the same room as their clothes. It also needs to be done with enough time to run a load of laundry if, while setting out clothes, I realize we are missing something that’s not clean. I set out everything from shirts and pants to underwear and socks.

Pack Lunches/Snacks

Don’t forget to fill up water bottles. And put snacks in your purse or bag, not just on the counter.

Clean and Organize Purse or Diaper Bag

Nothing makes me feel sloppier or more unorganized than having granola bar wrappers, receipts, and half-eaten bags of Cheez-Its falling out of my purse as I’m frantically looking for my keys. A part of my nightly prep routine is cleaning out my purse, putting its contents in the proper place, and making sure I’m not missing anything. I also hang my keys on a hook next to my purse so that I can find them within seconds. And while you’re cleaning out your bag, do the same with any bags or backpacks your kids need for the following day too.

Grind Your Coffee, Take a Shower, and Make a Plan

Now it’s time to take care of you, momma! To make sure I get my morning off to a good start, I grind my coffee and make sure it’s ready to brew in the morning. I like to shower at night and set out my clothes. This takes at least 20 minutes out of my getting ready routine. I also like to tidy up a little and make a plan for the following day. If I’m expecting an especially busy day, I might even write out a little schedule.

Give Yourself Grace

Lastly, don’t forget to be gracious to yourself. You could prep and plan every last detail of your morning, yet without fail, there will be a diaper that needs to be changed right when you are getting into the car. You might oversleep. Coffee might get spilled on your white pants causing the whole getting ready process to start anew. It’s ok. There’s grace for those moments. And guess what? Tomorrow you’ll get to try again. So don’t beat yourself up when you forget to pack lunches the night before or when your morning doesn’t go as planned.

Originally published November 2017.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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