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By Tikva Morrow / The Muse
March 22, 2016

As tough as it is to get out of bed each morning, the real challenge is actually in getting out of the door on schedule. Somehow, it always feels like you have more time than you actually do, and before you know it, you’re gulping down your coffee and flying out the door—three (or 10 or 25) minutes behind schedule.

It feels almost unavoidable. Emphasis on almost. Because if you simplify your routine by preparing what you’ll need in advance, you’ll avoid that rush. I know, I know, easier said than done. That’s why instead of just saying it, I’m giving you seven practical, realistic organizational tips that should help get you there.

1. Get Your Closet in Order
An organized closet’s the key to getting dressed and out of your bedroom on time each morning. There’s nothing worse than running late because you can’t find that one comfortable shirt or your favorite pair of loafers. You can instantly make your life easier on yourself by getting keeping your closet in order (and keeping it that way). While you know what system would work best for you, it’s hard to go wrong by ensuring you have baskets handy for grabbing things (socks, belts, scarves) and designated racks for specific items.

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2. Keep Snacks and Lunches Organized in Your Fridge
Like brushing your teeth and washing your face, force yourself to prepare all snacks and lunches the night before. Yes, you’re tired, but it really won’t take more than five minutes. And, for added ease, reorganize your fridge top to bottom according to your daily needs. Yes, it sounds over-the-top, but it’ll ensure that you never find yourself running late because you’re digging around for that one yogurt.

3. Write Everything Down on a Large Memo Board
Keep track of your schedule (and anyone else who lives with you), by jotting important notes on a jumbo memo board in your kitchen or entryway so that you can see what’s going on each day with just a quick glance. Do you need to remember to bring gym clothes? Put it there! Do you keep forgetting your lunch? Write it down. This small gesture might feel silly, but it’ll save you time from having to dash back to the house after you left to get something.

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4. Create a Coffee Station
Streamline your morning cup of caffeine by creating a coffee station and keeping everything you need in one easily-accessible corner. No more opening and closing cabinets with your eyes half-closed, hoping you chose sugar instead of salt.

5. Use a Coat Rack
Keeping your outerwear in a closet will definitely give you the cleanest look, but when you’re getting ready to head out the door, the last thing you want to do is rummage around for that one missing glove. Instead, keep seasonal outerwear and all necessary accessories (such as a helmet or an umbrella) on a rack so you can find exactly what you need in seconds.

6. Make a Spot for Shoes by the Door
Keeping a pair of shoes together can be more challenging than you would expect and searching for one can really eat into your time—so avoid it at all costs by keeping the ones your wear often in a specially designated bin right by the front door.

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7. Have One Place for Your Keys
Don’t even get me started on lost keys! There’s nothing worse than having your commute delayed by the notorious hunt. Make a rule with yourself right now that you’ll keep keys in your bag or on a specified key rack—and then never break that rule. No really, out of all of these, hold yourself to this one.

By making your mornings a little bit easier on yourself, you can start putting all your energy into making the rest of the day spectacular. Or at the very least, you can put energy into making sure you’re on schedule.

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