Thursday, January 24, 2013

Blast From the Past | Prepping the Night Before

Since we have "talked" about Morning and Evening Routines, I thought I would bring back a post I originally posted on August 14, 2009. I was pretty happy to see that I have stuck with this approach for the last 4 1/2 years. I was really happy actually. It is nice for me to once in a while go back to see that I have stuck to what I have said.

As the school year gets underway again, I thought about some ideas that I have picked up over the years to make the morning a bit easier (things that I did as a teacher needing to get out the door in the mornings and now as a wife and mother making life in our home easier). Some of these ideas are from past experiences, and some things I am discovering and fine tuning for our family and home.
  1. Lay out your clothes the night before- As a teacher at a school with uniforms, I can't tell you how many times parents were blamed because a student could not find his belt while getting ready in the morning. Have your child lay out everything that they will need to wear for the next day of school the night before depending on their age (you will need to do this for young children). You will find yourself and your child at ease and not running around trying to find that one accessory or belt when you have five minutes left before the bus or car pool pulls up. For me now at home, I find that laying out my clothes the night before, helps me to get moving faster in the morning since I don't have to spend any time thinking about what I will wear in the morning while I am trying to help Brian get out the door on time for work. I am able to move on in my day with out wasting any time.
  2. Prepare lunches and anything else that needs to be ready for "Go Time" the night before- When I was working, I would make our lunches the night before and put everything in the little baggies. What needed to be refrigerated stayed in the fridge, and whatever was nonperishable was put in the lunchboxes. In the morning, all I had to do was put everything in the lunchboxes, and we were ready to go. I also had my bag of things I needed to take to work with me packed and ready to go next to the door. Mornings were very easy and nothing was forgotten. Over this summer, I didn't prep the night before for Brian's lunch and found myself trying to get things done in a flurry while a toddler who was still a little groggy kept following me around with her arms up and whimpering because she needed a shoulder to rest her head on. I found that things are always easier when I plan and prep for them ahead of time. I have even begun prepping from the time I come home from the grocery store. It does take a couple of hours, but it is so worth it. All of the fruit gets washed, dried, and either put in the fruit bowl for enjoyment or into baggies for a quick snack or for lunches. All meats are taken out of their packages, skinned, and put into family serving sized freezer bags. Planning ahead does take time initially, but saves time later on.
  3. Quick clean the house before you go to bed- No one likes to wake up to yesterday's mess. We do a "quick clean" around here. We just take about 10 to 15 minutes, walk through each room, and make sure everything is in its place. The next morning, it saves me from having to add one more thing to my list of things to do, and it is nice waking up to a neat house.
  4. Write out a time line of what needs to be done and when it should be done the night before- I have a notebook that I keep where I write in what the schedule for the day will be. It helps keep me on track and forces me to make decisions the night before about what dinner will be and what I will be doing with my time. I find that I accomplish more, and Addie and I have more productive days this way. For me, just making a list of things to do does not work. I need to know when I will be doing them. I guess that is part of the teacher mentality that I still have. Keep in mind, generally, when I have guests over, I do not write out a schedule since things are not as they normally are. When I have guests, we stick to Addie's sleep and feeding schedule and that is it. Everything else just kind of goes with the flow. I do not want my guests feeling like they have been penciled in or that they are intruding in our home. Schedules are a great tool for us to use in helping us accomplish what we must on a day to day basis. Schedules are not meant to bind us so that there is no flexibility.
  5. Have a plan of what dinner will be- when you are planning out your schedule the night before, also plan what dinner will be based on what your day looks like. That way, when you wake up you can get your meat thawing, fill and start your slow-cooker, or start soaking the beans you'll need to cook with later. Starting your day with a plan will help the rest of it seem like smooth sailing- even if the plans unexpectedly change:).  I have since begun planning my meals one to two weeks at a time.
  6. Wake up before everyone else- Mrs. Proverbs 31 is a big advocate of this one. I have found that waking up before everyone else gives me a quiet time with the Lord, time to exercise without a small person giving me high fives when I am trying to balance or wanting me to hold her while I do aerobics, and a chance to get my first load of laundry started. I have always found that when I start out ahead of the game, I never feel like I am running to catch up to myself.
I hope that these 6 ideas help you to get yourself started on an organized, ahead of the game school year. And for those of us who don't need to follow the school year, I hope these tips help to make your day run a little smoother. Have a great day.

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