Decluttering | HomeMaking 101

Ep 002: Nightly Reset/Evening Routine

episode 002 nightly reset/evening routine image for podcast

In this episode, I’m talking about our nightly reset/evening routine and how you can implement one in your home – so that you can start your mornings on the right foot in your home!

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In this episode, Shannon discusses: 

  • How Nightly Resets/Evening Routines can help the next morning
  • Her own family’s evening routine
  • Ideas for starting small with your nightly reset

Mentioned in this episode:


In today’s episode, I’m going to talk to you about the nightly reset or evening routine that you need to have in place so that you start out your days in a great place in your home.

Welcome to the Lovely Home Podcast, the show for homemaking mamas just like you. I’m your host, Shannon Acheson. If you’re looking for ways to confidently create a clutter-free, cozy and beautiful home, you are in the right place. To learn more about what we’re talking about here today, visit homemadelovely.com for all our blog posts and podcast episodes. Plus, you can get your hands on some awesome freebies there too.


Hello, lovelies. So, today I wanted to talk to you about a nightly reset or an evening routine, and this is something that we’ve sort of always done at our house, at least since we’ve had kids. I really don’t remember if we did this before we had kids, but since we’ve had kids, this is something that we have always done at our house, without even thinking about it, it was just part of our day, and I honestly didn’t realize until a few years ago now when one of my friends asked me, she was like, “Do you put the dishes in the dishwasher every night? Do you wipe down your counters every night before you go to bed? Do you fluff the pillows? Do you do that every night?” And I was like, “Well yeah, of course, doesn’t everybody?” She’s like, “No.”

And so I had no idea that this wasn’t necessarily what everybody did, and maybe it was something that could help people, because since then she said, “Oh my goodness, it makes so much difference when I do those things in our morning.” This is exactly what the nightly reset or evening routine is all about, it’s making your morning better. So for me, especially, I am not a morning person, anybody else out there not a morning person? And so, I don’t like to start with a mess. I don’t like a mess in the kitchen when I go down to get my coffee, I don’t like a mess in the living room with the pillows all askew and stuff like that, it just makes me feel like I’m starting behind already in the day. So by doing this nightly reset or evening routine that we’ve just gotten into the rhythm of doing, it makes the house just feel fresher and start out better in the next morning.

So when the kids were little, our nightly routine really looked different than it does now, it looked a lot different than it does now. Back then, when I really remember focusing on this and making it… when it required more effort, let’s put it that way. We had little, little kids, a newborn, a two-year-old and a four-year-old, and Dean commuted back and forth to work. And so he would come home, we would have dinner, and then after that, the sort of reset and tidy up looked a lot more like one of us sort of wrangling the kids and entertaining them, or reading to them, or playing with them, while the other one of us did sort of the pickup and the tidy up of the dining room and the kitchen, and that sort of reset, cleanup, get ready for the next day, and then we’d move on to bedtime routine and all that stuff.

Now though, our kids are much older, they’re about 16, 18, and 20 while I’m recording this, and so they definitely help with these things and sort of how everything goes. And so, I’m going to tell you what we do as sort of our evening routine, and then I will tell you some great ideas that you can implement, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by life or little kids, or just the general mess of your home and little ways that you can start implementing this nightly routine so that it’s not crazy and big and overwhelming for you.

So, first of all, here is what we do. After dinner, the biggest difference for me, there are two areas that I find really makes a huge difference for me, and that’s the kitchen and the living room. Now, I’ve always felt this way, but at our house now, those two areas are very open to one another and you can very clearly see from one to the next. And so those two areas make the biggest difference to me, that if they start out neat and tidy, I’m going to be much happier in the morning.

So after dinner, we clear the table, or if we’ve eaten at the island, which we do sometimes, we will clear the dishes that we’ve used. Each person will clear their own, their utensils, their napkin, their plates, all of that gets cleared to the kitchen. Now if the dishwasher’s ready for those dishes, they will load them in themselves, they’ll rinse them and load them in themselves. If it’s not quite ready, they’ll put them in the sink and Dean is in charge of and has taken over a lot of the dishwasher loading duties, because he’s very good at packing it and filling it fully, and because we have so many meals a day at home, we need to run it often. And if he didn’t pack it so full, to still clean it of course, but if he didn’t use his magical packing the dishwasher abilities, we would have to run it even more.

So, the dishwasher gets loaded and then the kids help with things like putting the condiments away, taking their own vitamins, things like that. That all happens after dinner as well. When they were younger, I used to have to obviously get their vitamins out for them, I’d instruct them how to put and where to put the condiments away. Now, a lot of the time I’ll actually turn around for a second from clearing my own spot or something, and they’re just automatically putting the condiments away. So, mamas of little ones or mamas of ones that haven’t learned this yet, they will get there, I’m telling you. Every once in a while, we still have to remind them, but seriously, the best is when they just do it themselves. It’s amazing.

We will also pack up, this is now mostly Dean and me, after the kids have taken their vitamins and put away condiments, and cleared their own spots, they leave the kitchen, and Dean and I will pack up the leftovers and rinse any other pots and pans or serving dishes that we’ve used that night, and finished loading the dishwasher and turn it on. Then we will wipe the counters, that’s usually me, while Dean is finishing the dishwasher loading, and then after everything’s done, we rinse the sink.

So, I find having a clean sink, I know this is a superfly lady thing, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go look it up. Anyways. But having a clean sink does really make a big difference in how the kitchen looks and feels, but it’s just practical because if you need to clean something or whatever, it’s gross to put it in a disgusting sink.

So anyway, that is the immediately after dinner cleanup that we do, and now that our kids are bigger, there’s a bigger gap between this and the rest of the things that we do in our evening routine than there used to be when they were little. So when they were little, we’d do this kitchen cleanup, and then we would move on to… Because by this time, after Dean’s commuted and after dinner, it was getting later, it was probably seven and it was time to get the kids ready for bed. So we do bath and stories and bedtime and all that and put them to bed, and then we’d finish the rest of this. Now we’re sort of hanging out with them lately, a lot at home, because while we’re recording this, it’s still the end of 2020, beginning of 2021, and COV!D and all that, and all that goes with that. So we’re at home a lot.

So we’re spending the evening with them. And then later in the evening, before we go to bed, so now this is at about 10 o’clock, we will collect any or ask the kids to collect any snack dishes they’ve used and put them in the sink or put them in the dishwasher, if it’s been unloaded, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. We’ll return all the remotes, the TV remotes, and stuff like that to their home. For us right now, that’s a crock on the coffee table. It moves around a little bit, but they always have a home, so we return all the remotes to there, so they’re not scattered about being messy. And then I will go around after everyone’s gotten up off the couch, while the kids have gone to get ready for bed or do whatever they’re doing and Dean has taken the dog out, I will fluff up the pillows and put them back where they belong on the couch. I’ll put any throw blankets away that we’ve used while we’re watching TV or whatever.

And I’ll give the kids instructions, or reminders more than instructions, reminders if they’ve forgotten to collect any of their things from the main spaces. So if they’ve got a laptop or a book, or an extra phone charger, if that’s lying around, I’ll give them those instructions to put away too. And so those are the things that we do that I find for me, set up the next morning. Now, if that sounds like too much, if you are in a place where you are overwhelmed and you don’t know where to start with this nightly reset routine, I have some suggestions for you.

You can start in a very, very small way. You do not have to start with all of these big things, you can start with smaller things or one thing out of all of these things. So here are some examples, if the entryway is something that you have to walk past every night before you go to bed, for example, when we lived at our little townhouse, when the kids were really small, the way that the townhouse was set up is that you had to actually walk through the front entryway to go up the stairs to get up to the bedrooms and stuff. And so if the entryway was messy or their boots or shoes were around, that would make me crazy back then. Now, we don’t really have to do that, so I sometimes kind of ignore the entryway, sadly, but if that’s something that bothers you, you can tidy up the entryway.

Now I highly recommend that this is already part of another sort of rhythm and routine with an anchor that you’ve got set up, which we will talk about more later too, is to pick up the kids’ toys. If they are really tiny, you can pick them up for them. Personally, as soon as our kids could play with the toys and move around like they could walk, I instructed them and showed them how to put things away. And we sort of had anchor points during the day, lunchtime, dinner time, bedtime, where we would do a tidy up, and they just knew that. Of course, they needed reminding, of course, I needed to be consistent, that’s just how it works, being a mom. And so picking up the toys is another good option, if that is something that will help you feel ahead the next day.

You can finish any laundry that you started. Say you washed a load of towels, just go and fold them and put them away, and you’ll feel so much better. If your coffee maker has a timer and you love to wake up to the smell of fresh coffee, and that is something that will help you start your next day just on the right foot, then fill and set up your coffee maker so that it comes on and it gets you up and happy in the morning.

If lunches need to be made, oh my goodness, make them the night before. We’ve always been a homeschooling family, so truthfully, Dean’s been the only one up until the last year or so, that has needed a packed lunch. And so there were seasons where I looked after that for him, depending on my available bandwidth and mental power, mental space from having little kids. And there are seasons where he would do it as well for himself. And then there’ve been seasons where he literally eats nothing but leftovers. And so lately, we’re sort of tag-teaming on that a little bit because he needs seed healthier, but it’s just packing the lunches for the next day if you’ve got kiddos who need lunches, or if you need a lunch, or if your spouse needs a lunch, just look after those the night before, and that will make the next morning. It just gives you so much less to do. I know you’re tired at night. I feel you on that. I really do, but try it and see, and you might find that it just helps you to feel so much better.

Another thing you can do as part of your nightly reset or to start your nightly reset is to put out your clothes for the next day. Now, this isn’t something I’ve done a lot, or at least not since I worked outside of the house, because I’m here anyway, but Dean does it all the time. He sets his clothes up the night before, so that when he gets up in the morning, he just grabs them and goes to the other room, and gets ready.

Another thing, now this is something that I really, really need to get better at because I am notorious for forgetting to thaw meat for dinner. I am awful at doing it, but here’s something that you could add to your nightly routine. And now that I’m talking to you about it, I think maybe I should add to our nightly routine, is taking out the meat for the next night’s dinner, or if you have meat at lunch, the same thing. Those things could be places to start for you if you’re not already doing a nightly reset. And so you could just start with one of them if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or two of them, but I very, very highly recommend this thing that we’ve always, always done, the nightly reset or evening routine, because it’s going to help your house start out and you start out on the right foot in the morning.

And it’s just so much nicer to come downstairs to a tidy and mostly clean kitchen, at least, and the pillows back in the right spot so that I’m not grumbling under my breath that someone used them and didn’t put them back when, realistically, nobody cares about it as much as I do. But anyways, the nightly reset and evening routine, I wanted to start here because it makes a huge, huge difference in how your home operates and functions, and your attitude and your mood in your home. And we all know that if mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy. So if you could find it in yourself to set aside a few minutes, even just start out with 10 or 15 minutes and wipe the counters, or 10 or 15 minutes, and just do a quick blitz and put some things away, throw some filing in the filing cabinet, or change your laundry. Just something that will give you a better start tomorrow. And then make note tomorrow, how you feel about that and how nice it was that you already did it.


Thank you so much for joining me today on the Lovely Home Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you, how you can implement all these things and more on your home to make it more clutter-free and beautiful, go to homemadelovely.com. There are free downloads, virtual classes, guides, and other resources there to help you create the home you’ve always wanted. I’m cheering you on, beautiful. Again, thank you so much for listening. This has been Shannon Acheson with the Lovely Home Podcast.

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