So often what people associate with “being organized” is having everything nice and neat in piles on the countertop or on closet shelves with everything stored in pretty little boxes. But to me, “being organized” is really all about is the ability to be prepared, to know what you have to accomplish today, this week, this month, and to be able to find the items you need to accomplish the tasks at hand. “Being organized” leads to a state of calm, of knowing that you are in control and on top of what you need to and want to do. And I think that one of the best ways to accomplish this feat of “being organized” is having a set of routines- for yourself, and sometimes for your family, that outlines the steps of what you need to do, and the order in which you need to do them in order to get through a particular part of the day. One of the best times of day to start putting a routine into place- is to create an evening routine for your family.
Our Evening Routine
It all needs to start with a clean kitchen. Fans of the Fly Lady know that she says that every evening you should “shine your sink”… and what I think she’s really trying to convey is that the next morning when you walk into your kitchen- it is so much more pleasant to face the day when things are clean, the dishes are washed, and the sink is empty. Your day starts out with total drudgery if the first thing you need to do is to scrape the hardened crud off of last night’s dishes and load the dishwasher. So at our house- immediately after dinner the kids are asked to scrape their plates into the garbage, rinse them, and then put them into the dishwasher. They help me wipe down the table, put away the leftovers, and to wash and dry any dishes that need to be done by hand.
Next it’s time to get things ready for the next day of school. Once homework is completed and I’ve had a chance to check it over, I ask the kids to take their homework, put it back into their homework folders, and put the folders into their backpacks. We also check to see if they need to return a book to the school library the next day or if there’s anything else that needs to be in their backpacks. For my kids that play an instrument at school, we also take the instrument and place it near the front door- so won’t be forgotten in the morning rush to meet the bus.
Our Sunday Night Routine
On Sunday evenings we do a few extra things which “sets us up for success” for the week ahead. After dinner we review the school lunch menu for the week, and the kids can tell me if the intend to purchase the hot lunch at school or if they want me to pack a lunch. For the days they wish to bring a lunch from home, we plan in advance what entrée we will take in each day. This makes my school-day mornings go so much easier- because I don’t have to think about what to make everyone- it’s already all planned out for me. On Sunday night after the kids have showered, we will also pick out their clothes for the week ahead- laying them out by day. This helps us to avoid most of those early morning “clothing dramas” when one of my daughters can’t find anything to wear!
The Bedtime Routine
Once we accomplish all of this “getting things ready for the next day”, it’s time to do what most families do in the evening- which means get the kids to brush their teeth, take showers, put on clean jammies, and cuddle up in bed with a book. Kisses and sweet dreams!
Want to See More?
Here’s a quick 3-minute video on our family’s evening routine:
What About You?
How is your evening routine working for you? Please leave a comment below!