I Cut 20 Minutes Off My Family's Morning Routine With This Simple Trick

Photographer: Evan Kheraj Restrictions: Editorial and internal use only. No advertising or print allowed.
POPSUGAR Photography | Evan Kheraj
POPSUGAR Photography | Evan Kheraj

Kids screaming, orange juice flying, parents panicking — it's a miracle that my family even manages to leave the house in the morning. Nobody in my family calls themselves a morning person and we're all sleep-deprived in one way or the other, so when we wake up, it's a collective, grumpy mess. When the alarms go off, all we want to do is hit snooze and keep on sleeping, but we are forced to get out of bed and head off to work or school. But as I've become more experienced with navigating chaotic mornings, I've developed a strategic organization system to make sure that my family is never late again. And it works!

Before creating our organization system, we used to run over each other trying to collect everything we needed for the day from all over the house. And sometimes, we just couldn't find certain super-important items — like our keys — so we'd either end up embarrassingly late, or be forced to stay home from school or work if we couldn't find them (true story). But after developing and perfecting our morning routine, we never missed another morning responsibility and we're still able to have a calm, collected breakfast as a family. Sounds nice, right?

So by now, I assume you're wondering: What is this miracle organization system? It's really simple: Boxes! I have four boxes that I set up around the house: one for keys, one for purses, one for backpacks, and one for clothes. My family likes to use boxes since we always have a few lying around, but you can use any container you have on hand to hold your items. The key box is situated on the breakfast table, the purse and backpack boxes are next to the front door, and the clothes box is placed next to the foot of the bed. If someone in my family needs to bring something else to school or work (say a project, or spare clothes for gym class), they add another box for that item, and put it in a logical location so it's easy to quickly grab before leaving the house.

The night before, every member of our family is responsible for putting their items in the boxes before they go to sleep; it only takes around five to 10 minutes to organize everything. If we tried to do it in the morning, when we are groggy and tired, it would take us at least 30 minutes to get the whole family ready to depart the house. But by taking a few extra minutes before bedtime, when we're not under the pressure of the clock, we shave off about 20 minutes of our morning routine. Plus, the system helps stop stress in the morning. Our family has saved ourselves tons of time — and probably worry-induced wrinkles.