Is there anything worse than waking up to a huge mess and then trying to scramble and clean it all up before work? I mean, there are a few things, but it’s a pretty terrible feeling in my opinion. I like to take care of my mess before I go to bed, so that I have nothing at all to worry about in the morning aside from getting up and out of the house on time. I sort of have a mental checklist that I go through before I can turn off the lights and head into bed, which saves me a ton of time and stress later on. Here are some things I always take care of in the kitchen to save my sanity.
1. Do the dishes - I like to make sure my sink is completely clear of any dishes, whether that means washing them by hand or loading the dishwasher. It’s also so much easier to do them right after you’re done eating so the yuckiness doesn’t start sticking to the plates and pans. Just roll up your sleeves and commit five minutes to cleaning the dishes before going to sleep, that’s all you need. Bonus points if you dry the clean ones and put them away.
2. Wipe down the counters - Another crucial step to ensuring any food remains don’t dry forever, I like to quickly spritz the counter or table and run over it with a paper towel or sponge. Random bits of leftover food all over the place can seriously build up over a few days if you don’t pick them up, not to mention they attract bugs. Any liquid stains on your counter or tables are also likely to stick around if you leave them, so just grab a wipe and clean it all off. If you’re super lazy, you can even get those pre-moistened wipes from the store.
3. Set up the coffee machine - Granted, this one’s specifically for coffee drinkers like me, but I literally start thinking about my morning cup the second I wake up. Seriously. It might be a problem...but nonetheless, I highly suggest pre-grinding your coffee the night before, or even just setting up the coffee maker. My mom taught me this one and she’s definitely on to something. It’s not even about saving time here so much as effort - pressing only a button or two in the morning is as close as I can get to having someone bring it to me in bed.
4. Prep any food you may need to take on the go the next day - This one is huge and can be unbelievably helpful, especially if you’re someone who tends to leave things at home and not realize until reaching your destination *raises hand.* If you prep your food ahead of time, even if that just means putting your snacks on the counter, in your lunch bag, or even in your purse, you won’t even have to think twice about remembering them when you’re running around like a crazy person trying to get out the door. I also pack my lunch everyday, so I like to get this done at night too, and instead, use my time in the mornings for trying to look presentable or savor my coffee over the morning news.
5. Take out the trash - This doesn’t exactly apply to every single day, but if there’s a night when you’re cooking dinner and you realize the trash or compost is getting full, just bite the bullet and take care of it instead of putting it off until the next day. You’ll be happy when you have one less thing to carry out of the house in the morning (in addition to your purse or briefcase, gym bag, and anything other random things).
Jordan Drankoski is the one woman star of the foodie blog Dancing for Donuts. She's a regular guest writer on ToBox serving up inspiration and recipes for the mind and soul. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating new recipes, hiking, trying new restaurants and visiting new places.