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Yesterday I posted about my morning routine. Part of having a really great morning, is having a solid evening routine. It’s just a lifesaver and makes getting out of bed so much easier.

I get up super early, and I run a lot, so by the time 9pm rolls I am usually in bed (hopefully catching up on some reading, but often with the lights out).

Before marathon training, I had always lived by the 15 minute rule – spending 15 minutes in the evening folding blankets, rinsing drinking glasses, setting my alarm, etc. Now that I am running so much (5 mornings a week at the gym, 2 outdoor evening runs a week), getting everything I need ready the night before is imperative. 15 minutes truly doesn’t cut it; sometimes it can be a solid 45 minutes to an hour to get everything together.

However, running around at 5am and stressing about whether I remembered to pack underwear for after my run – not fun.

So here is my updated (2011) Evening Routine for you to enjoy!

Evening time

¨  Clean out car so that the car is neat for the next morning I bring so much stuff with me in the morning, this helps make sure I have everything for the next morning.

¨  Organize and sort the mail.

¨  Fold clothes from this morning’s laundry.

¨  Make dinner, lunches and to-go breakfasts as needed. I like to use a Crockpot for dinner, and often I will throw all the ingredients in the night before, cover and leave in the fridge. All you have to do in the morning is turn it on!

¨  Pack for the next day! Gym gear, work clothes, lunch bag, shoes, keys etc.

¨   Trash day tomorrow? Dry cleaning? Post office? Get everything you need in the car or by the back door.

¨  Wash any dishes; fold blankets so that you have a clean house in the a.m.

¨  Set your alarm

Remember, it’s not every day that you have to fold laundry or put the trash out (and these chores can be designated to someone else). If you cut down to the bare minimum, just making your lunches and packing for the next morning would be super beneficial. After a week, this becomes so routine you don’t even realize you’re doing it! You just notice how less stressful mornings are now!

It’s a very basic list – most people probably already do some type of version with this. When I was younger, my mom used to make my siblings and I put our clothes for the next day on our door knobs so when we woke up we weren’t running around looking for our socks. She also set the table for breakfast and made our lunches the night before. Mom had the right idea!

What helpful hints do you use for making your evenings run smoothly?