12 Ways to Have a Hassle-Free Morning Routine

Get out the door quickly with these helpful hints for an efficient morning routine

Joanna Linberg
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Boost Your Keys’ Visibility

Even if you’ve committed to stashing your keys in the same place at night, it’s easy to lose track of them between the back door and the car door (or is that just us?). Clip on an oversize, colorful keychain and no matter where they are, they’ll be easy to see, easy to find in the bottom of the purse, and easy to remember to pull out of your pocket at the end of the day.

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Hang up an Old-Fashioned Clock

How often is our morning routine derailed by a “quick” glance at one’s smartphone for the time? Avoid both the device hunt and the distracting text and news alerts waiting therein by hanging a clock—yes, that quaint machine with large numbers on the front—in a prominent place. A flick of the eyes is all it takes to stay on track for an on-time departure.

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Fast-Track a Homemade Breakfast

Pancakes on a weekday are totally possible if you use this clever method of baking them in a sheet pan rather than flipping them one by one. Want to shortcut this even more? Use your favorite mix for the batter…we won’t tell.

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Serve Smoothies in To-Go Cups

Didn’t finish that Layered Fruit Smoothie this morning? Start serving it in these vintage-looking glasses with pop-on plastic lids that make it easy to take leftovers on the road. Also great for homemade yogurt and granola cups or juice.

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Skip the Coffee Drive-Through

It’s time to cheat on your barista with an espresso machine that doesn’t take an engineering degree to operate. Pre-program two of the buttons to dole out your preferred amount of espresso, then spend a meditative minute frothing milk and you can skip the drive-through (and hipster latte prices) altogether.

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Simplify Lunches

With a bento-style lunch box, packing the midday meal is as easy as plug and play. Assign each compartment a category of food (sandwich, protein, cheese, fruit, etc.) and pretty soon this task becomes automatic. This model is for kids, but there’s no rule against copping it for yourself.

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Put Shoes out in the Open

Open shelving isn’t just for kitchens. A mudroom without cabinet doors makes it simple for kids (and grown-ups) to spot the day’s kicks—and removes a literal barrier to putting them away at the end of the day.

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Keep Cleaning Supplies Close

Do as restaurants do: Keep a broom and dustpan close at hand so when coffee grounds tumble and cereal spills, it’s handled fast. Spend a little extra on supplies with good looks and hang them out in the open with zero guilt.

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Organize a Drop Zone

Papers, invitations, and folders will get left at the back door—it’s practically a universal law. Hang this gorgeous wire organizer to catch them, as well as library books that need to be returned, mail that needs to be sent, and anything else you want in-hand as you walk out the door.

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Give Kids a Visual Checklist

You’ve got your routine down, but how about your kids? Give them a helping hand with this set of routine cards. Choose from 39 possible steps, like “make bed,” “pack bag,” and “comb hair”—each charmingly illustrated—to customize a morning punch list for your child.

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Give Kids Their Own Hook

Keep backpacks and jackets at the starting line with a row of hooks by the door. Each child gets his or her own (monogrammed, natch) so you can see at a glance if anyone’s goods are missing. Don’t forget the dog! Hanging up a leash keeps it tangle-free.

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Check Yourself

Save yourself from embarrassment with a mirror that lets you take a last look and provides a natural resting place for sunglasses and a phone. The matte iron frame is like the LBD of your mudroom—it goes with anything.