What This Professional Organizer Does Before Bed
After an exhausting day of meetings, kid pickups, dinner prep, and homework drama, bedtime can appear like an oasis —time to finally relax. You may think you have your nighttime routine down to a science — here’s when the kids’ lunches get made and here’s when the last emails are sent. But have you really maximized that precious time before your head hits the pillow?
“When you prepare for the next day before bedtime, it makes tomorrow easier,” says professional organizer Wendy Zanders. “I’ve noticed my family sleeps better knowing everything is ready for the morning.”
Zanders, a professional home organizer and the owner of Functional Organizing with Wendy, LLC, shared her tips for making the most of her time, to hopefully help others breathe a bit easier before bed.
Prep for Kids
Zanders helps working moms and dads manage hectic schedules, declutter their houses, and create systems to help them stay organized. Zanders also has two kids, ages 4 and 10.
In addition to picking out their clothes and packing lunches, Zanders recommends parents do the following with their kids before bedtime:
- Make sure their homework is placed in the correct folders for school, and the folders are inside their backpacks.
- Take away their phones or tablets, so they’re not tempted to use them at night and will get better sleep without digital distractions.
- Put the kids’ backpacks by the front door, so they don’t forget them.
- Check the calendar and make a note of any sports practices, dance recitals, or other after-school activities. Put this information on sticky notes and attach them to the kids’ school lunch, so they’ll remember.
Prep for Parents
Zanders also plans her own workday the previous evening. She recommends picking one to three urgent work tasks, the ones deemed most important to accomplish. This helps parents get a head start on their to-do lists and makes the following morning less hectic.
For instance, Zanders may write an important email to a client or file paperwork before bed. She advises against picking more than three tasks because the goal is to prepare for the next day, not stay up all night working.
Zanders recommends that busy parents or grandparents do the following before their own bedtime:
- Set your coffee maker for the next morning
- Charge all of your devices
- Check your to-do list for tomorrow and update it
- Print off any important paperwork and put it in your bag
- Pack your bag or purse for the next day and put it by the door
- Pick out your outfit, shoes and accessories for work, so you don’t waste time looking for matching earrings in the morning
Wrap-Up Quick Chores
For many busy parents and grandparents, nighttime is the only chance they get to catch up on chores around the house. However, Zanders cautions against trying to squeeze in too much before bedtime. If you try to clean the whole house, you’ll feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Instead, she recommends picking a few easy chores that won’t take all night to finish and will leave you with plenty of time to get enough sleep.
Zanders’ favorite quick chores before bedtime leave her with a sense of satisfaction and make cleaning the entire house easier on the weekend because there’s less left to do. They include:
- Picking up toys around the house and putting them in the right bins
- Putting away clean laundry
- Clearing off one counter in the kitchen and wiping it down
- Sorting through the mail and recycling anything you don’t need
Although she likes to prep before bed and cross things off her list, Zanders takes time to relax. After finishing her chores and making sure the kids are ready for tomorrow, she turns to quiet meditation and prayer right before bedtime. Knowing she’s prepared for the next day helps her get restful sleep.
The sleep experts at Sleep Number recommend starting your bedtime wind-down routine at least 20 minutes before bedtime to help your body start to unwind and prepare for better quality sleep.
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