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An evening cleaning routine will set you up for success tomorrow morning. The FlyLady system taught me that prepping for my day the night before would really help my mornings go smoothly and my days be more productive. With just ten easy steps done the night before, I wake up ready to go.
My Mornings Before An Evening Cleaning Routine
There was a time when I didn’t think I could handle an evening routine. By the time I finished cooking dinner, helping the kids with their homework, and running kids to their various after school activities, I was too tired to do anything else. The mess, clutter, and cleaning tasks would just have to wait until tomorrow.
The problem I faced came in the morning when I woke up unprepared for my day. What should I wear? Where is my work bag? Do I pack a lunch or just buy overpriced food at a coffee shop? My kids are screaming because they can’t find the shoes they wanted to wear to school, and one of them can’t find the library books they were supposed to return to the school library today. My phone lights up with a notification from my calendar app – 10 am parent/teacher meeting that I completely forgot about.
This wasn’t something that happened every once in a while. This was an everyday occurrence in my house. It was extremely stressful, and it had to stop. This is all before I found the FlyLady cleaning system.
My Mornings After An Evening Cleaning Routine
Before FlyLady, I didn’t know the value of routines. Now, my days have a rhythm and flow that helps me get the important things done, and a cleaning schedule that I can follow consistently is a part of that rhythm.
No more yelling at each other because we were supposed to leave for school five minutes ago and someone still doesn’t have on their coat.
Now, I wake up knowing what my schedule for the day contains. I get dressed quickly because I already picked out my outfit for the day. I have time to actually eat breakfast because everything I need to get myself and my kids out the door was packed the night before. No more running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I can only find one shoe or the pants I wanted to wear are dirty.
This nighttime cleaning routine can help you too. Don’t you want a morning that flows peacefully and calmly? I hate starting my day stressed. It bleeds into the entire day and makes me feel terrible. If this is you, a nightly cleaning routine may just be the solution you need.
Let’s take a closer look at how the ten steps of this FlyLady simple evening cleaning routine can help you too.
FlyLady Step #1: What’s for dinner?
Meal planning is my salvation on busy weeks. (And honestly speaking, which week isn’t busy?) I set aside one evening a week to plan my meals for the next seven days.
My evening cleaning routine starts by looking at my meal planning notebook and seeing what is planned for dinner tomorrow night (not tonight. Presumably, your evening cleaning routine starts after you’ve already eaten dinner.)
By looking at what we plan to cook tomorrow night, we can already start to formulate in our minds what needs to happen to get dinner on the table. How long does the recipe take to make? Do we have any after work or after school activities that will make cooking dinner hard to do? What can I do earlier in the day to make cooking dinner easier in the evening?
Preparing yourself mentally for what cooking dinner is going to look like tomorrow will help you be consistent in cooking meals.
FlyLady Step #2: Kitchen Clean Up
Getting the kitchen clean is one of the most important steps in the FlyLady evening cleaning routine. Here’s why – waking up in the morning to a messy kitchen is super stressful! My mood turns immediately grumpy if I wake up to dirty dishes, messy kitchen counters, food crusted to the stove, and crumbs on the floor sticking to my feet.
If I want my morning mood to be calm and ready for the day, I need to start myself on the right foot with a clean kitchen. Of course, that’s easier said than done sometimes. Life gets in the way, and there are nights when I go to bed without cleaning my kitchen. For the most part, I do put priority on getting it clean before the day is done.
Involving your family in the kitchen clean up might feel like more work at first. It might feel easier to just do it yourself, but getting your family involved in helping to clean the kitchen is a great way to ensure the kitchen gets clean every night.
Dinner is done, and everyone in your family goes to relax in the living room. Your partner is reading a book. Your daughter is chatting with her friends online, and your son is working on a craft project. You look around the kitchen – dirty pots and pans are stacked in the sink. Your family’s dinner plates are still on the dining table. The floor needs to be swept, and the counters need to be cleaned. You do all of the work yourself, silently resenting all of the people relaxing while you scrub.
Dinner is done. No one leaves the kitchen until it is clean. Your husband loads the dishwasher while your daughter clears the dining table and wipes it clean with a damp rag. Your son wipes the counters and takes out the trash. Before you know it, the kitchen is clean, and everyone heads to the living room to relax for the evening.
Which do you prefer? I definitely prefer scenario 2!
FlyLady Step #3: Shine Your Sink
FlyLady followers know that the FlyLady system is all about shining your sink – emptying your sink of all dishes, scrubbing your sink with soap and hot water, and then drying it with a kitchen rag.
I “shine my sink” every night because it makes my whole kitchen look and feel cleaner. Try it!
FlyLady Step #4: Tidy the Main Living Area
Walking into a tidy living space makes my morning feel calm and controlled. Having a living space that is comfortable and cozy to sip my first cup of morning coffee is so nice! Before my evening cleaning routine, I might have to move the stack of folded laundry on the sofa before I could sit down or step on random toys and lego bricks on the floor. Not fun! Waking up to a clean home feels
Here’s how to do a quick tidy of your living space.
- Set a ten minute timer. Only work until the timer goes off. This is meant to be a quick tidy not a deep cleaning session.
- Moving quickly, pick up and put away as much stuff as you can. I like to work in the order described by author KC Davis in the book, How To Keep House While Drowning. I pick up the room in this order: trash, dishes, laundry, things that don’t belong in the room, and things that do belong in this room.
FlyLady Step #5: Set Your Launch Pad
What’s a launch pad? It’s an area in your home that you designate to place everything you need for the next day.
My launch pad is a chair in my bedroom. In my launch pad, I place my packed work bag, my packed purse, my outfit for the next day (more on that below), and anything else that I might need in the morning.
The purpose of the launch pad is once you have everything you need for the next morning, getting out the door in the morning becomes a breeze! No more searching for the things you need five minutes before you are supposed to be leaving. Everything is ready to go and easy to find.
Setting up your launch pad can save you time and money! Do you have leftovers that could be packed for a lunch tomorrow? Can you set up your coffee pot now so that you make your coffee at home instead of buying it? Making these tasks a part of your launch pad routine checklist can make these tasks doable and attainable.
FlyLady Step #6: Pick Out Your Clothes
How many of us stand in front of our closets and say “I’ve got nothing to wear?” In reality, we all have much more clothing than any one person will ever need, but standing in front of a closet with one million choices and kids fighting in the next room can make our brains freeze.
Picking out your clothes the night before is a great way to wear more of the clothes you love and make your morning go easier.
As a part of my evening cleaning routine, I get an empty clothes hanger, and I place my entire outfit on the hanger. I mean EVERYTHING – from clothes to jewelry to underwear and socks to shoes placed on the floor beneath the hanger. Get your entire outfit ready to go, and you will never stand in front of your closet with nothing to wear again.
FlyLady Step #7: Set Your Kids Up For Success
Our kids feel the same stress we feel when we have a rough and rushed morning. Everyone, especially our children, benefit from calmer and more organized mornings.
Here’s how I set my kids up for success with my evening cleaning routine. My kids have their own launch pad with their backpacks and school supplies. We lay out their clothes for the next day every night, and we go over what is on their calendar for the next day.
FlyLady Step #8: Check Your Calendar
No more waking up and forgetting that important meeting that you were supposed to be at ten minutes ago! Every night, I check my calendar to see what is coming up this week. What do you have on your agenda this week? How can you prep tonight to make those events go more smoothly?
Going over your agenda and to-do list for the next day will help your day be more organized.
FlyLady Step #9: Load the Laundry
In the FlyLady world, we wash one load of laundry a day. We wash the load in the morning, put it in the dryer in the afternoon, and put it away in the evening. I take this one step further and gather the laundry load I need to wash tomorrow the night before.
If you have your own washing machine and don’t share a machine with neighbors, tomorrow’s laundry becomes easier when you put the laundry load in the washing machine ready to be washed in the morning.
FlyLady Step #10: Go To Bed Early
I love watching late night tv as much as anybody, but as much as I hate to admit it, I’m better served by going to bed early instead of watching one more episode.
As a parent, sometimes my only free time is late at night, and if that’s your situation too, I’m not going to judge you staying up late to have time for you! I think what we should remember is to not make staying up super late at night a habit. Aiming to go to bed at a decent hour that will provide you with eight hours of sleep should be the goal most nights a week.
This FlyLady evening cleaning routine will set you up for a successful morning. Are you ready to trade your hectic mornings for ones that are calmer and more organized? Try out this routine!