Prepping for Weekday Mornings

I am not a morning person.  I love the idea of waking up early, before the rest of the house is awake, sitting quietly with a hot cup of coffee and enjoying the morning, then kicking into high gear, knocking out a bunch of things for the day.  On days when that has happened, I feel like I’ve done a whole day’s worth of work by noon.  But, in actuality, I’m the person who pushes snooze on her alarm clock (probably twice) most mornings.  My son is often my alarm as he jumps out of bed as soon as his eyes open around 6:30 a.m.  We have to leave the house by 7:35 a.m. to get him to school comfortably by 8:00, so every minute counts.  I walk around in a daze in the morning until I’ve had breakfast and started drinking my coffee.
Our mornings are made smoother by a few routines I’ve incorporated into our lives.
1)  I lay out my son’s clothes for the week on Sunday night. I check the weather on my iPhone app and try to plan accordingly (long or short sleeves, shorts or pants, etc.)  He wears a uniform, so it’s not too difficult to pick out the outfits- I just have to make sure they are clean (along with his nap blanket).  Which also means I typically do our laundry for the week on Sunday, finishing right before bed on Sunday night.

When I was working full-time, I also picked out my outfits for the week.

2)  My son puts his own clothes on in the morning. This is part of his morning “chore chart” and it saves me the hassle and time of doing it myself.  He just turned 4 and is capable of getting himself dressed.  He sometimes needs assistance putting the shoes on the correct feet or if he gets his socks twisted.  I do give him a timer warning, “In 5 minutes, you have to get dressed” and then set the timer. This helps a bunch in our house.  Also, he watches cartoons in the morning, so when it’s time to get dressed, the cartoons are turned off so he can focus.

If he doesn’t start getting dressed after the timer goes off, he gets the “1, 2, 3” and time-out on the stairs for one minute.  On average, I’d say he goes to time out once a week in the morning, but it’s pretty painless (for me:).  (If you’re interested, I read and followed the book 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–-12 and it has worked very well with my son.)

3)  I prep my son’s school food on the weekend. He doesn’t eat the school lunch, so I prepare his snack and lunch for the week. Fruit is washed, cut up and portioned out into small plastic containers and kept in the fridge.  Dry snacks like goldfish and pretzels are also portioned out and kept in a small kitchen drawer.

I like my son to help where he can and try to think of the ways he can be involved when it comes to family chores. He enjoyed pulling the grapes off the stem and putting them into a container by himself.
4)  I pack my son’s snack and lunch and bags before bed.  

Having everything prepped ahead of time makes assembling the snack and lunch pretty easy.  We have a peanut-free class, so he gets some combination of milk and fruit with yogurt for the morning snack; and juice, cheese, granola bar/goldfish/pretzels for lunch.
I shove the packed bags into the fridge and, in the morning, just have to put the ice-pack in each and load them into his backpack.
5)  The backpack lives in the mudroom.

I always know where to find it before heading out the door.  Any papers that need to be filled out go into his folder the night before school.
I know that mornings can be really stressful trying to get yourself and everybody else out of the house on time.  I may not always feel like doing the prep work, but I always regret it in the morning if I don’t. 

Do you have any secrets for making mornings less crazy?For more posts like this check out: Our Summer Schedule and Useful Calendars & Living An Organized Life – “the master list”.  


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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. I wish I was the kind of person to get up way early and take my time but it never happens, we always seem to be in a rush even when I wake up early! And love the fact you lay the week's outfits out, I am gonna try it out and see how it works for us, thanks for the idea!

  2. Such great tips! I saw that chore chart on Pinterest and I'm going to print it out. My daughter is four too and we're having a hard time with her cleaning up her toys. I'm going to see if she has a chore chart and gets stickers if it will make her more apt to complete the few "chores" she has. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm a morning person and once I'm even half way awake, I'm awake. My son is on the autism spectrum so the mornings are pretty early. I'd love to get up even earlier but sometimes my sleep in more important than waking before 5 am. BUT, the prep is so essential. When I don't do it the whole week is off and I'm spending time on these little time sucks instead of helping Sebastian with what he needs. Which doesn't work for any of us! I love the your idea of prepping all the snack ahead of time. I need to do more of this!

  4. Your routine pretty much mirrors everything I do as well. I work full-time and have to have things ready to roll in the morning. The only piece of your routine that has become a challenge for me is picking out a week's worth of outfits for the boys. They are 8, and almost 6, and change their minds frequently about which football or basketball team they want to wear in the am. I am also like you in that I pack their lunches everyday, as well as my own, the night before. They could get the school lunch if we wanted, but I feel better knowing what they're having every day. I can make sure they are getting whole foods, healthy snacks, and very little sugars and "bad" fats. The same goes for my lunch too!

  5. I love the idea of to be a morning person but usually when alarm clock rang I close it and say "other 5 minnutes", for the moment I don't have kids but I love all your work, you're been very organized GReat job!!!

  6. I am NOT a morning person. I don't even know what I do to survive the mornings. Usually I just stumble around in a daze and somehow get my act together before noon. Mostly it's just on survival mode.

  7. These are wonderful tips and will help any family to save time in the mornings. I think everyone could use an extra ten minutes in the morning. Thanks for a great post.

  8. Laying out the clothes and food prep is key! I also have to do lunch and snack, but my son's school is nut and seed free, so that makes things rather complicated!

  9. Hi Megan 🙂
    This is SO me as well! I want to be that morning person, but sadly I am a night owl through and through. No changing it. I continue to try though..
    I do very similar routines, outfits picked out each night and laid out, lunches for everyone packed the night before, and I always make sure the house is picked up, especially the kitchen and the dishes are done each night. It’s so much more refreshing to wake up to a clean space, even if you seem too tired the night before. Just get it done and out of the way, it helps to set a happy tone for the next morning!!

  10. Great tips! We couldn't survive the morning rush without prepping the night ahead. Our kids do most of the preparations themselves, we call it "school readiness", and they have a check list to help them in the family command center. I also make sure the kitchen is clean and ready to be used in the morning, the coffee maker is loaded, etc. Routines such as this one are a habit, and any habit can be formed. I like how you involve your son in the preparations:)

  11. Great post, thank you for the tips! My son will be starting school full-time next year and I will need to be organized like you 🙂 Where did you get the adorable James stickers? Also, any recommendations for lunch bags/food storage. Everything I bought for preschool seems to leak!

    1. The stickers are from Oliver's Labels- online. My favorite plastic storage are the small round ones pictured with the blue lids. They don't leak, are sturdy, and seem to be the perfect size. I "think" they are by Glad. The lids "screw" on instead of pushing down, so that helps keep them sealed.

  12. Mondays! It's always interesting to see how others get ready for the week. I don't think I will ever be as organized as to know what I will wear every day of the wee. But, a good deep cleaning would get me off to a good start!

  13. I have slowly learned that each of these are so important! Sometimes, I don't prep food no Sundays and end up rushing in the morning and forgetting something. I still haven't learned that it's easier to pick out outfits ahead of time, but I will soon, I'm sure! 🙂 Great post!

  14. My son is going to preschool here in about a month and a half, and these ideas are BRILLIANT. I found this @; what a great list! I just know that I'll be using this as a resource to cut through the madness that is a nonverbal threenager at 6 in the morning! I particularly like the drawer full of prepared snacks – now that is an idea that I can use year round! Thanks for this awesome resource! I am totally new to have a child in school, so I really hope this helps!

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