I’m finding it a little ironic that I’m sitting here writing about my morning routine on a day when everything has gone awry. There was some mishap with the alarm clock and we woke up an hour and a half late. So this morning, hubby’s breakfast consisted of a couple extra snacks thrown into his lunch bag and a cup of tea to go. It was a good reminder to me that before I go on any further with these posts, I need to clarify that this is by no means a perfect system. This is the ideal for me. This is the way it works when everything goes as it should. But there are plenty of days when we are late, plenty of days when life happens and things don’t work out the way I want. Also, I don’t expect that the things I do will work for everyone. I established this routine based on several years of trial and error. Most of the things that have worked their way into my morning routine have gotten there because of some recurring struggle. Today’s habit is no exception.

The dishes have been one of those struggles for me since we started homeschooling. They accumulate in the sink throughout the day and there just never seems to be a good time to deal with them. I finally get around to tackling them five minutes before dinner. Then inevitably, just as I start washing, I realize that I have a whole dishwasher full of clean dishes that have to be put away first. Ugh.

A few months ago, I finally found a way to defeat the dish monster. One morning I realized I had forgotten to set the coffee pot before going to bed. While I was standing around waiting for my coffee to brew, I decided to be proactive and unload the dishwasher. I finished putting away the dishes just a few minutes after the coffee was ready. It was so nice to have an empty dishwasher throughout the day that I decided to make it a habit. Now, instead of programming my coffee pot to be ready when I wake up, I put the water and coffee in it before I go to bed and then manually turn it on first thing after hubby leaves in the morning. Then I use the brewing time to get the dishwasher unloaded. I find myself racing the coffee pot each morning and most days I finish before the coffee is ready. Dishes rarely accumulate in the sink anymore. The kids know that they are always supposed to put their dishes in the dishwasher. This works for me because I combined something that I do at the same time every day (coffee) with something that I frequently forget (the dishes).

Of course, there is another habit that is necessary for this part of my routine to work. I have to run the dishwasher before I go to bed every night. On the days when it isn’t full enough I use that opportunity to clean out the fridge and reclaim some forgotten Tupperware. Or I might throw in the pet dishes, or bathroom cups, or canisters, glass shades from light fixtures, or whatever neglected thing that will fit in the space I have left.