It’s the last week of Clean Mama’s Simple Shortcuts. Every week for the last six weeks, I’ve been sharing my favorite simple shortcuts and gathering yours on Instagram. I have a free printable coming next week that has all of the tips from this series included. I’ve been feeling like I really need simple and easy right now – you too? Make sure you’re following along on Instagram too!

Today, we’re going to be talking about our favorite Simple Shortcuts for Evening Routines!  I’m going to list some of mine below, add yours to the comments here or head over to Instagram to add yours in the Stories question box.

My favorite Simple Shortcuts for an Evening Routine? These are the things that I do in the evening to end the day on a relaxing note. I’m sharing an example of my current evening routine on a perfect day when everything aligns. It’s important to note that for as much as I love and advocate for structure and routine, I understand that I can never get too secure in my routines because they need a little flexibility and grace to change with life and schedules. My evening routine has flexed and changed quite a bit in the last year – here’s where it’s landed for now. Now that summer is starting, it’ll morph again – that’s life! If you are wanting to change up your evening routine or lack thereof, add one thing at a time, don’t try to adjust things too quickly or make lots of changes.

Depending on your schedule, your evening routine might start when you get home from work, when you start to get dinner on the table, once the kitchen is clean for the night, or when it’s time for bed. I’m going to encourage you to start thinking about your evening routine as the time you start getting dinner ready. This is a time you can count on and it will make it easier for you to draw a line from start to finish.

For my family, the evening routine starts around 5pm when the kids are mostly done with homework and playing outside or somewhere in the house. Sometimes we’re finishing up a sports practice around this time or heading out to one but most nights 5pm starts the clock for getting dinner on the table around 6pm.

My evening routine wraps up with a kitchen reset, including my favorite Nightly Sink Scrub, then once the kitchen is clean, we turn down the lights – I love that cozy look and feel from under counter lights in the kitchen. Ideally we have a candle burning or diffuser running in the evening to give the first floor a little ambience. Kids finish up homework, take showers, we play a game, maybe watch a show, read books and head to bed. The kids are usually all in bed around 8 and my husband and I head upstairs around 9:30pm.

Start the evening before.The key to success in the morning is setting yourself up for success the evening before. I recommend a clean kitchen at night as one of the things that makes getting up earlier a little easier. Why? You won’t have to wake up to a mess from the day before – you’ve already reset your kitchen. This is a huge component in keeping up with this habit because you aren’t waking up to work – who wants to do that?

Turn off the screens.Turning off phones and computers and televisions a little earlier is the best way to get yourself ready for bed. Stop sleeping with your phone – the emfs (electro and magnetic fields) mess with your natural body rhythms. We keep our phones and devices downstairs in a charging station. I find that putting them away early in the evening (optimally/in a perfect world, before dinner and away for the night) is really helpful. Get a cute, old-fashioned alarm clock and use that instead of your phone.

Go to bed when you’re tired. Stop fighting through the tiredness and just go to bed. If you are used to staying up late, try going to bed earlier and see how you feel. See if it makes a difference in your day. Everyone needs to sleep but everyone’s perfect amount of sleep is different. Make your goal 6-8 hours and experiment to find what amount makes you feel most rested and alert during the day.

Ideas for tweaking your evening routine:

  • If you want to get more sleep, try powering down the devices and tv before you go to bed. Add reading to your wind down, even if it’s just 10 minutes, this will help build a new habit.
  • Take a bath, make a cup of tea, find something that feels restorative and fills you back up before bed and for the next day. Find those pockets of time that you can use for yourself.
  • I’ve been working on reading in the evenings before bed. Even if I read a page or two before turning off the light and closing my eyes, I love having this being the last thing in my day. Little goals and little steps are gateways to habits!
  • Start with making changes to one night a week and see how that feels. Add as you are able to – you don’t have to take a bath every night or make a cup of tea every night, but maybe that feels good on Monday nights. Start there.

Your turn!  What are your best Simple Shortcuts for your Evening Routine? Share in the question box on Instagram Tuesday of this week or in the comments here on the blog. I’ll be back tomorrow with my evening routine must haves!

My latest book, Clean Mama’s Guide to a Peaceful Home, goes into detail about setting up systems and rituals in your home and would be a great addition to your homekeeping journey.