My Evening Home Habits
Last summer, I wrote a blog post all about my consistent home habits. Basically, these are the things we do on a daily basis to keep our home running smoothly. I was blown away by the popularity of that blog post and I thought it would be fun to dive a bit deeper, this time focusing specifically on my evening home habits.
Name What Matters
I mentioned this in my first blog post about home habits, but I think the best thing to do is to “name what matters.” What matters to me is that I feel calm and relaxed before going to bed at night, while also setting my mornings up to be less chaotic. For me, that means everything needs to be picked up and in its place and ready to go for the next day.
This might not matter to you and your family, and that’s okay! Figure out what matters to you and then you can implement the right routine to get to that place. I’m certainly not sharing anything groundbreaking in this blog post (laundry and washing dishes, anyone?), but it’s the consistency that makes a profound impact on our daily lives.
Our Evening Home Habits
Here’s a look at the things that both my family and I do every single evening in the Finn household. These evening home habits keep our house in working order, while also allowing us to fully relax and unwind at the end of a long day. I also must emphasize that this is a joint effort between me and Finn, and the kids a bit too!
Also, these are all real-life/non-staged pics of our home from last week, mess and all!
Draw The Shades & Turn On The Lamps
The kids are home from school at around 4:30 pm and at this time, Finn usually starts dinner while I do some house prep. As the kids play in the living room, I draw the front window shades closed (You can see directly into our house if they’re up at night!), dim our overhead lighting, and turn on the lamps around our house.
Sometimes we’ll play music on the overhead speakers while Finn cooks and I tidy up. This sets the mood for a fun evening together as a family. The kids can relax after a long day at school and things feel cozier when the harsh overhead lighting is dimmed and we’re safe at home.
Put Away Random Items
The bar area in our home is the dumping ground for lots of random stuff. We don’t have a designated mudroom or closet at the back of our home, so coats, backpacks, school art, and winter gear piles up in this area. I make it a point to go through this stuff when the kids come home from school, so it doesn’t turn into a ginormous heap of crap.
Dirty school clothes go up to the laundry room; winter gear is placed into baskets inside these cabinets; coats are hung in the front closet, and other items make their way to their designated spots. We’re big on the motto “Everything needs a place to call home” and we do our best to get this area clear by the end of the night.
One thing that has really helped us during the morning rush is creating a basket with extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, and hair products for the kids in a cabinet in the kitchen. Before we came up with this idea, we were constantly running up and down the stairs, trying to grab all the things, while hurrying the kids out the door. Now, this little basket is out in the morning and ready to go.
Prep The Bedrooms
While Finn cooks dinner and the kids play, I do a sweep of the upstairs of our home. I draw the shades closed in all of the bedrooms, turn on bedside lamps, and turn the kids’ sound machines up. If it’s a bath night, I get everything out and lay out pajamas and toiletries in their bedrooms.
Clean The Kitchen & Run The Dishwasher
Post dinner, I usually enjoy being the one to clean up the kitchen. We will take turns, but I like the feeling of getting everything looking good again and Finn enjoys this time to play with the kids. You guys have seen my horrid dishwasher-loading skills on Instagram and it’s true, I usually just throw all of the random small stuff in the dishwasher and hand wash any large pots and pans. Somehow, everything still gets clean!
I like to clean the countertops using my favorite countertop spray and I’ll usually wipe down the area underneath the table with a wet rag. The kids are still pretty messy eaters, so it’s usually scary under there!
Prep My Coffee
With the kitchen clean, I prep my coffee for the next morning. When I forget to do this, I’m so sad in the morning when I have to take the extra few minutes to make my cup of joe. I always thank “past Casey” when I can just hit the button and it starts!
For Christmas, my mom got me this coffee pot and coffee grinder. I used to have a fancy Nespresso, but I was craving a regular cup of coffee for my morning routine. I’ve been trying out lots of different coffee brands and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it! I typically grind my coffee on Sundays for the week ahead and then store it in this container to keep it fresh. For Valentine’s Day, Finn gifted me this amazing mug that keeps your coffee hot for 1.5 hours. It’s a splurge, but ahhhmazing!
Vacuum The First Floor
This task isn’t a nightly one, but I’m including it anyway. Our floors get freakin’ filthy, so I’ll often take our Dyson vacuum and give the kitchen a good vacuum. We did buy a robot vacuum, but if I’m being honest, it’s not my favorite. Occasionally, we will have it run while we put the kids to bed, but I often come down to it stuck in the corner or underneath our large hutch. I think I should have splurged on a nicer one that can handle plush rugs and has better navigation technology. It’s fine, but it’s not a cleaning staple in our house!
Let me know if you have a robot vacuum that you love! I may look into a new one and move this one to the basement.
We often set a timer before bedtime to ease that transition, and once it goes off it’s clean-up time! We play “The Clean Up Song” and we all work together to get our living room clear of toys. Ellis does his best to help (He isn’t quite there yet.), but Rory can really pull her weight if she sets her mind to it! She is just like her mama and likes everything in its place! I think it’s important to get kids involved in household tasks, so we try to make this a regular part of our evening home habits.
Throw In One Load Of Laundry
With the kids in bed, we always throw in a load of laundry at the end of the day. We do a lot of laundry in this house! Our nightly load of laundry keeps it from getting out of hand and ensures that our kids have what they need the next day. Oftentimes, we throw the load in around 7 pm, and then at 8 pm (before I crawl into bed), I add it to the dryer. It’s then waiting for us to fold as part of our morning home habit!
Review The White Board
Finally, with a quiet house, we will review our family whiteboard and erase everything from that day. On Sunday evenings, we chat about our week as a whole, but this is our time to review the following day in more detail and make sure we have whatever we need for the next day’s dinner.
By about 8 pm, I’m off to our bedroom to hop into bed, read, and turn off the lights around 9 pm.
It’s Not Always Smooth Sailing…
I’m not going to say we are perfect and master these evening home habits each and every night. We’re humans, raising tiny humans and every day, and it can look a bit different with sick kids, late nights working, and more. But, I will say, when I follow these evening home habits, I notice that things run more smoothly around here and the mornings are less stressful and chaotic. So, it’s something that we strive for each and every night.
Now, tell me your evening home habits in the comments below. I’d love to hear!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.