Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on the blog on 1/19/17. Going through the archives recently, I realized I need to bring these simple shortcuts back into my weekly routine! I updated the links and made a few edits to make it more relevant to my life in 2021.
I shared some helpful habits for non-morning people back in 2015, and my quest to conquer the start of the day is still a work-in-progress. Truth be told: I’m a bit of a mess in the morning. I want to squeeze in as much sleep as I can manage (every minute counts!) before I absolutely have to throw myself out of bed. So I’m always looking for shortcuts to shave precious time off my morning routine.
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Here are 6 of my favorite simple life hacks for easier mornings:
Make a Designated Drop Spot
There’s nothing more maddening than a frazzled keys/phone search when you’re already running behind in the morning. We have a small console table in the foyer. As soon as I walk in the door, I drop my keys and sunglasses on it. And before I go to bed, I add anything that needs to leave the house with me in the morning: my tote bag, to-do lists, scrawled reminder notes, library books to return, etc.
Plan Your Outfits For the Week
If you struggle with figuring out what to wear in the morning, try to pull a week’s worth of outfits together on Sunday evening. Iron them, and hang them in a designated place in your closet so they’re ready to go. Or if you have the space, get a small clothing rack for the job. (I have this one from Amazon in my home office and it’s great quality for around $100.) Planning ahead gives you one less thing to stress about in the morning. And it helps keep your closet tidy and organized without those panicked “I have nothing to wear!” tornadoes ripping through it.
Use Bags Within Your Bag
I love zip-top pouches. I have a collection that includes all kinds of shapes, sizes and textiles. But lately, Truffle clarity pouches with leather trim are my #1. I use them to organize all my “essentials” in my bag, and can switch them from handbag to handbag in a snap if I decide to make a quick change in the morning. I also love my Bandolier iPhone crossbody case with a zip-around pouch that holds my phone, card case, car key fob, and lipstick so I can ditch the rest of my handbag if I want to travel light and hands-free.
Pack a Lunch the Night Before
I’m trying to get in the habit of bringing a healthy lunch and snacks to work so I don’t dip into our stash of leftover Halloween candy to make it through the day. I find I’m most successful with prepping a lunch if I do it the night before: packing up dinner leftovers; making a big salad with mixed fruit, nuts and goat cheese; or rolling up lean lunch meat with cheese and fresh sliced fruit. These stackable glass containers with snap-on lids are great for the job because they’re durable, reusable, and easy to clean. This lunch bag is my favorite; it keeps things cold and looks like a chic accessory.
Be Your Own Barista
We love our local coffee shops, but most weekday mornings I DIY my coffee. We bought a Nespresso Vertuo Next machine to make our favorite espresso drinks at home. It’s been a great investment that C and I both use every day. We love the Scuro double espresso pods for hot and iced lattes with milk, and Chobani Sweet Cream creamer is a delicious addition.
Want something even easier? When you discover cold brew coffee concentrate, your life will never be the same. I pour some Chameleon cold brew concentrate into an insulated thermal tumbler over lots of ice, then fill it up with water and/or milk and go. (A caveat: take the time to measure it out; it’s concentrated and has a lot of caffeine, so it’s easy to overdo it and end up with the jitters through lunch.) Corkcicle tumblers come in a fun range of colors, and keep ice frozen for more than 9 hours. I have several in rotation and never leave home without one.
Have Cookies For Breakfast
I found this recipe for healthy breakfast cookies last year, and they’re a hit with my husband and the flower shop team. I like to make a big batch on the weekend to have on hand for easy grab-and-go breakfasts throughout the week, and customize them with different nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate. They’re packed with protein and whole grain oats for sustained energy, and pair perfectly with DIY iced coffee.
What are your favorite morning shortcuts?
(Seriously, please share them; I need all the help I can get.)