While there are plenty of people who wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to face the day, there are many of us for whom mornings are a serious struggle. If you are constantly forgetting important items at home, having to stop for pricey coffee or order out for lunch because you didn’t have time to prepare anything before you left the house, there is a better way—and you don’t have to wake up at 4 a.m. to do it.
Make your kitchen your command zone in the morning—the place where your schedule and to-do list live, and where everything you need for the day is in one designated space, waiting to be picked up. While you’re at it, make your kitchen easy to navigate (and clean up), so that you can enjoy breakfast, prepare lunch, and maybe even have time to read the paper—with minimal effort. Put in the work on the front-end to set up your kitchen in a way that works with your lifestyle, and day-to-day maintenance will be smooth sailing. Read on for tips to help you organize your kitchen to make your morning routine much simpler and stress-free.
Start with a Plan
Fail to plan, plan to fail? Yes, we’ve all heard it, but sometimes procrastination feels so good! That good feeling is short lived, though, when you find yourself staring aimlessly into your refrigerator trying to piece together a healthy breakfast and lunch for the day with five minutes left to get out the door. On Sunday afternoon before the work week starts, or prior to your regular trip to the grocery store, make a meal plan for the week—even if it’s just for breakfast and lunch. This will help you save money at the store, since you’ll only need to buy the ingredients to make the meals you have planned. Be careful not to get overly ambitious too soon. Just because you’re planning doesn’t mean you’re ready to prepare eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce tomorrow. Keep it simple—eggs, toast, fruit, yogurt are a perfect starting point. You want to avoid a lot of time-consuming prep, as well as meals that will require a lot of clean-up. Same goes with lunch prep; prepare what you can the night before (chop vegetables, etc.), but stick to simple, healthy meals that will satisfy your hunger and stave off late afternoon trips to the fast-food drive through. Make sure to have your meal plan front-and-center in your kitchen so that you stay committed to the plan.
Simplify Your Kitchen Routine with Monochromatic Dishware
Sticking to one simple color for your dishware may seem boring, but when you start to think about the headaches it can prevent, you may just see that monochromatic dishware as elegant. If you have children who are also getting ready alongside you in the morning, there will be no debates about a favorite cup or plate. If you’re hosting friends and family for a meal, you never have to worry about being just shy of a match set. Perhaps the best part of monochromatic dishes though is that they aren’t seasonal. They have no print that makes them more suited for the holidays, which means you also don’t have to store (and clean) multiple sets of dishes. Also, if you opt for white dishes, as long as they have no metal borders/banding, they should be able to go into the dishwasher and microwave without any problems, and convenience is key for making your mornings run more smoothly.
Make the Most of Your Existing Kitchen Storage
Now that you’ve reduced your storage needs by downsizing to a simple set of monochromatic dishware, your storage situation should vastly improve. But what if you are lacking a pantry with any sort of space for dry goods, or you like to shop at a wholesale club to buy things in bulk? In that case, you’re going to need to maximize your existing storage. A great way to do that is with pull out cabinet organizers. You could have these custom built to really take advantage of every nook and cranny, but the standard organizers that you find at your home improvement store will work great as well. Shop around and you’ll find organizers that slide, roll, and pull out, as well as heavy duty stainless steel ones that can hold up to 20lbs of weight. This is a great way to utilize spaces that are tough to work in, too, like under the kitchen sink.
If you still struggle to find space in your kitchen, don’t forget about your wall space. Hang a basket to make your spices readily accessible, or put up a magnetic strip for your knives to free some drawer space, in order to help speed up your morning routine.
Use Baskets to Corral Loose Items and Free Up Valuable Counter Space
Finally, one way to stay organized in the morning and avoid any hiccups is to minimize clutter in your kitchen. For instance, it may be a good idea to keep healthy fruits and vegetable in sight so that you remember to eat them, but why not put them in a basket so that you don’t have to worry about them rolling around? Packing items that would normally sit on your countertop into clear containers (so they are easy to see) also frees up valuable counter space so that preparing breakfast or lunch before you go to work is a breeze.
We hope these suggestions help you get a handle on your morning routine. Just adopting these simple suggestions can save you valuable time in the morning, helping you face the day well nourished, organized, and with a relaxed mindset.
Danielle Hegedus is an Atlanta based writer. She is a regular contributor to Modernize, as well as a variety of lifestyle and home design websites. Danielle recently finished her first cookbook, in collaboration with Chef, Kamal Grant for Atlanta’s beloved, Sublime Doughnuts.