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  • Lisa Berry

How to Become a Morning Person

Are your weekday mornings totally wearing you out? Do you dread your barrage of duties that have to be checked off the list before you can get out the door with kids in tow or office files under your arm? I’m getting a little short of breath just thinking about it.

Honestly, I used to be one of those enviable (and annoyingly perky) morning people before having kids. Although my three little darlings energize me and bring me unspeakable joy, this phase of my life has seen the introduction of more stagnant and seemingly purposeless clutter into my life than I could have imagined. Some of it has to do with the fact that there are now a lot more people living under my roof, but the majority is the result of my own failure over recent years to prune and purge as I’ve gone along. The final picture? A clogged closet, bathroom, pantry, garage, and so much more. Overall, an unenjoyable and inefficient living space.

Why do I bring this all up? Because I want my “morning joy” back!!! When I think about it, my early-day energy seems to reappear when we travel. When I wake up to a clean hotel room, a tiny selection of clothes, a simple and pared-down selection of toiletries, and limited breakfast options, I have more time and energy to joyfully greet the morning. Maybe even sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee and soak up the sunrise. And then, days later, it’s back to sluggish reality…


Maybe I can bring home my hotel morning experience with me! Below, I’ve developed a list of ideas for cultivating joy and clearing space in our weekday morning routine. It’s a work in progress for me, but as I’ve started to “Zero Waste” my closet and bathroom, I’m already feeling a little extra spring in my morning step!

1. Decide on everything the night before. From your newly pared-down closet (because we know this in itself is a huge time-saver!), select your outfit for the next day. Load up your gym bag. Lay out the kids’ clothes (or, even better, have them learn to do it themselves!) Pre-pack backpacks. Decide what’s for breakfast and get things set out if possible.

2. If you have school-age kids, teach them to be independent. Do it in baby steps if you have to—even the little things count in terms of saving your own time and effort (and helping them to grow as people!) Have the kids be responsible for their own backpacks and clothing for the next day, let them participate in laying out breakfast items for the morning, and involve them in prepping breakfast wherever possible (before long, maybe you’ll have them making you breakfast in bed!)

3. Keep your toiletries and morning routine to a minimum. When my husband and I first got married, I couldn’t get ready in under an hour-and-a-half. Now, I’ve got my routine (shower included) down to 45 minutes, and 30 minutes when no shower is involved. Talk about liberating! Watch my recent Zero Waste Bathroom video for inspiration when it comes to paring down your toiletries. Here are a few time and money-saving tips:

- Pick a line of skincare and makeup that you love, and stop accumulating add-ons and new miracle creams. (If you need suggestions, check out my fave skincare and makeup line, Ever Skincare.) Personally, the right skincare can also enhance my joy—I love Ever for all of its deliciously-clean botanically-based ingredients. It’s hard to have a bad morning when you feel like you’ve just stepped out of the spa!

- “Zero Waste” your shower with clenditioner (a combined and super-effective shampoo and conditioner), a bar of raw soap (instead of multiple shower gel bottles), and a stainless steel double-edged, long-lasting razor (better for your budget and the environment than disposable razors.)

- Invest in reusable organic cotton pads. You won’t believe the money savings over time, and will love the soft texture against your skin.

- Go to bed with wet hair. This has shaved off a huge amount of time for me in the morning! Some days I wake up, and my freshly-washed hair has the perfect bed-head look. Other days, things didn’t dry quite as planned, but it only takes 3 minutes with the curling iron to add some randomly-placed waves and a quick scrunch for a great hairstyle. If I happen to shower and wash my hair in the morning, then I tie it back into a braid that ends up drying into a headful of beautiful waves for the next day.

4. Become a kitchen minimalist (whole blog series to come!) Attack the clutter in your pantry, fridge and kitchen cabinets with the same vigor required to create a minimalist closet. The less you have, the easier it is to know and locate your options, the more creative you’re likely to get, the more fun you’ll ultimately have, and the less overall waste you’ll be creating. Just like your closet, wouldn’t it feel great to reach every morning into a clean and organized refrigerator, versus one where you’re pulling out all of the jars in front in a frustrating hunt for those hidden strawberries? That’s the stuff that saps morning energy!

5. Maintain a Zero Waste car. Assuming you’ve managed to implement these Zero Waste Morning ideas and you’ve made it out the door in a state of calm, do you really want to kill your peace with stepping into a trash-mobile? I know, because this used to be me. Too many days of car clutter turned into months of accumulated random school papers, envelopes, candy wrappers, empty water bottles, you name it. I was driving a trashcan on wheels. Now that I look back, I can’t begin to fathom why I didn’t just bite the bullet and clean out the car. Eventually, I had no choice when it came time to sell the Suburban (it was a large trashcan!!!) and trade it in for a new car. I never looked back after that. It is practically comical how staunch I now am about maintaining a meticulous vehicle. When we get in the car to go to school, nobody is tripping over trash or surrounded by clutter. All is clean and organized—a perfect start to the day and a perfect finish to the morning!

I know a lot of this may seem incredibly obvious and not that novel, but let me ask you, are you actually doing these things? Which of these suggestions could use a little revisit? Writing this list has served as a great reminder for me to recommit to the things I know would infuse me with greater joy and vitality. Sometimes, one small improvement, e.g. cleaning out and maintaining a minimalist refrigerator, can make all the difference between being mean mommy and the energetic and happy morning person I used to know and love!


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