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Control the morning madness


Published: 02/22/2013

by Helen Buttigieg

The way you start your morning often sets the tone for the entire day. If mornings are stressful for you and your family,
try some of these techniques to save time and frustration – and get to where you’re going on time and with less hassle.


1. Check schedules the night before. Make a note of everything you and the kids need to take in the morning and pack what you can ahead of time. You’ll avoid the stress of scrambling when you realize it’s library day or special lunch day, just as you’re walking out the door.


2. Pack bags the night before and leave them by the door. For kids, remember to include permission slips, library books, gym clothes and homework. All that’s left to do in the morning is pack the lunch bag. If lunch money is sent to school
regularly, keep a jar of change for this purpose.


3. Make lunches the night before. Get kids to help and pass along this responsibility to them when they are old enough.


4. Designate an area in your pantry for portable snacks. Put them in baggies or small reusable plastic containers at the beginning of the week and place these in one or two large baskets or bins that are easily accessible. Encourage kids from a     young age to pack their own snacks.

5. Check the weather forecast and lay out clothing the night before. Include footwear, jewellery and other accessories. Keep your work clothes in a separate area of the closet, for easy access. Separate kids’ school clothes from their play
clothes. Hang a five-compartment sweater organizer in their closets and have them place an outfit in each cubby at the beginning of the week – one for each day of the school week.


6. Make breakfast drinkable or portable. Measure out the ingredients for a shake and place the cup in the fridge. All you have to do in the morning is blend it. Or have healthy grab-and-go foods on hand (breakfast bars, yogurt, fruit) so there’s no excuse to miss breakfast.


7. Keep a clock in the bathroom and the kitchen. It’s easier to arrive on time when everyone can keep track of time during the morning routine. A neat trick is to set those clocks five or 10 minutes ahead. You might also want to set a timer
that goes off 15 minutes before it’s time to leave.

8. Resist turning on the TV or checking e-mail in the morning. It’s a distraction that eats up valuable time.


9. Keep a checklist near the door. Look at it as you leave so nothing is forgotten on the way out (keys, wallet, sunglasses, etc.). You may want to keep one for the kids as well, either by the door or in their backpacks. Go the extra mile and
laminate lists so they last (or regularly print new ones from a document on your computer).


10 Control your keys. One of the most common reasons people are late is that they can’t find their keys. Keep a hook
or a basket near the door and always deposit your keys there. That way, you’ll never have to frantically search for them.


These simple adjustments to your daily routine will make a big difference and help you feel more in control of your
time and your day. Try them out and let me know how it goes. And if you want more tips to get organized, visit, and sign up for my free newsletter. As a bonus, you’ll also get a copy of my eBook, 7 Habits that Rob
You of Time, Energy and Inner Peace (and How to Dissolve Them).   

Hellen Buttigieg is a Certified Professional Organizer, life coach, TV

personality, author and speaker. Her Oakville-based company, We Organize U, helps busy professionals clear their
clutter and create a more relaxed home, a more productive workspace, and a more manageable, meaningful life. Contact her at or 905-829-2219.

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