Photo: IKEA


Is your life making you late?

Photo: IKEA

How to leave the house – and get to work – on time

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By Lucy Dunn on

Every so often, we all have an everything-goes-wrong morning, one where you end up having to text work with the little white lie we know so well: “Sorry I’m late, the trains are on the blink”. The trains are fine, of course – it’s just that your life *isn’t*: you run out of shower gel and have to rifle through cupboards mid-shower (naked, wet and shivering) to look for something, anything, you could wash yourself with. (Fairy Liquid? Never say never…) You realise you’ve forgotten to fill in your passport application and if you don’t catch the first post, you won’t be going on holiday next week. And your only clean skirt has a rip in the back, but the penny only drops 10 minutes after steaming past your neighbour, who shoots you a quizzical look. By then, you're halfway to work.

“Hi <insert name of boss>. So sorry, I’m afraid going to be late. I was in a rush this morning and didn’t notice that my skirt has a rip in it and I showed my pants to at least 50 people on the bus this morning. Thought I’d better nip home and change.”

Oh, yes, we’ve all had one of those mornings. Some of us more often than others.

One evening after one of those mornings, I came home to find my home trashed. The trasher was not a burglar, of course, nor a teen left to their own devices home alone. It was me. There was make-up strewn across the bed, crumbled eyeshadow smudging my nice The White Company sheets. In the bathroom, my “best” shampoo had been knocked over and had spilled its greasy contents all over the floor. The wardrobe was empty, all its once-carefully-ironed contents now in a crumpled heap on the floor. I had vague memories of a mother-of-all family row. Because when you have one of those mornings, there’s always a mother-of-all family row.

It was the moment I decided enough was enough – from now on, I was going to “nail mornings”. I was going to try and do this with more streamlined storage and a well-honed routine. And maybe then I would have more time to remember to buy shower gel next time.

Here’s what I did:

1 I thought about work – as soon as I came in from work

We’ve all read the advice that suggests you prepare for the next day the night before, but personally I’ve always had a problem with the “night” bit. The minute News At Ten wraps up, the only energy I have left is to crawl into bed, and packing my bag and laying out my outfit for the next day is the absolute last thing I want to do. The answer is to do all your next-day-organising shizzle *before* you flop. In fact, do it before you even sit down for the evening (because the minute that sofa beckons, you won’t want to do anything). I invested in one of these wooden valets for this, which I use to hang my (fully-restocked-for-the-next-day) bag on, too.


2 I bought an Alexa

Alexa is my morning (and evening) friend. She will tell me a bedtime story if I ask her (not the world’s best narrator, but she has a good go). She’s also my morning alarm and I can find out the weather and temperature of where I am going to be tomorrow, which is good for planning next-day outfits. Thanks to Alexa, I have moved my mobile phone into the next room and this helps with prompt-er bedtimes (therefore better mornings), as there’s no temptation for late-night in-bed scrolling.


3 I streamlined my coffee

The one thing that I hate is waiting for a kettle to boil in the mornings, so top of my priorities was to find a coffee machine with a timer. This clever machine not only has this, but it will pour your much-needed caffeine hit straight into a travel mug for you to grab and go. Take it from me, this perks up a commute no end.


4 I used cutlery and utensil trays for make-up…

When putting on my make-up in the morning, I spend too much time rifling through my washbag, trying to find certain products (hence my habit of tipping it all out on the bed when I’m in a hurry). So I bought cutlery and utensil trays to store everything in. I can stow them away in a drawer or under my bed when I don’t need them, plus compartmentalising products this way means that I can see and grab everything I need quickly. Also eyeshadow and lipstick doesn’t get bashed around as much as it would do in a bag, either.


…a peg bag for underwear

Using separate peg bags for pants and bras avoids precious minutes spent underwear drawer detangling.




…..and hooks for shoes
Certain members of my family get “shoe rage” and I am sick of the daily root through the cupboard under the stairs to find matching pairs. I love this idea which you could do with any large hooks you fancy.



5.I gave everyone schedules and “morning storage stations”

This may sound a little bit Martha Stewart, but I decided Martha would never walk out of the house showing her pants, so I decided to give everyone the following: individual bathroom and breakfast time slots, their own hooks, individual hall storage and their own bathroom shelves – which are actually spice shelves which I turned into bathroom-product holders. All this organisation cuts down on the “Where’s my…?” in the mornings. That alone is worth any expense.




6 Finally, I made sure I was first up in the morning

If you have kids or not, getting up 10 minutes earlier than anyone else to have some uninterrupted get-ready time is the absolute best thing (schedule this with your partner if your kids are wee). In my mind, it starts the day off better and is one step closer to what is the dream: to have an everything-goes-right morning every morning, one that hopefully doesn't involve little white train lies, Fairy Liquid, and pants.



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