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5 ways to get out of the house faster in the morning (and still look good)

Categories: beyond 9 to 5


Morning is my favorite time of day; I get up early and make a cup of tea and have some quiet time before I wake my kids. And then I run around like a crazy person trying to get them both ready for school. Fortunately, I work at home, which means that I can throw on my running clothes to take the kids to school and worry about looking presentable later in the day. Go me.


On the days I have to be somewhere, though, the combination of waking the boys, making the lunches and getting myself dressed frequently leaves me in need of a nap by 10 am. So what’s the strategy for getting out of the house in the morning without losing your mind? Try this.

Plan ahead. Choose your outfit the night before; put all the pieces together. The last thing you want to discover in the morning rush is that you don’t have the right tights or bra or shoes. I have a valet hook on the closet door where I can hang everything; I lay my jewelery out on the dresser, right next to the closet. That way I don’t have to think at all.

Go with what works. Don’t try to reinvent your look on a busy morning. Instead, opt for a dress or separates combination that you know look and feel great. If you’re concerned about repeating an outfit, change up your accessories.

Layer up. Fall weather can be tricky — it’s cold at school drop off but warm by lunch time. Perfect layering weather! A basic tee plus a cardi plus a jacket carries you through your entire day. Layers can also carry you from day to evening, if you’re not heading directly home from work.

Check your bag. I keep my bag and keys in the exact same place, all the time, because it’s just embarrassing to be hunting for my things after I’ve yelled at the kids about keeping track of theirs. If I’m going to change bags, I do it the night before, when I can carefully unpack and repack all my essentials. As a rule, though, I carry a neutral hobo or tote that works with everything, because then it’s one less thing to worry about.

Stock your car. I keep a phone charger and a pair of sunglasses in my car all the time, because those are the things I find myself needing on the road. I have a friend who stores a stick of deodorant in her glovebox because … well, just because. It always pays to be prepared.

What are your strategies for getting out of the house looking good on a school day?

Photo via J. Crew

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9 comments so far...

  • Great advice, and I agree with all points.

    Honestly, if I didn’t pick out my clothes the night before, I’d never make it out the door in the morning. I also have to make sure my keys are with my purse before I go to bed. On the few occasions I’ve ever been late for work, it’s been because of the extra time I needed to look for my keys.

    Danielle  |  September 21st, 2012 at 6:35 am

  • Shower and dry hair at night, never in the morning. Saves at least 30 minutes, probably closer to 45.

    Elizabeth  |  September 21st, 2012 at 12:16 pm

  • I get dressed close to leaving…after breakfast, brushing teeth, etc. I hate having to change because I’m the slob who ends up with yogurt or toothpaste on my sweater. And I am that slob.

    My daughter loves to play with my phone, and at 8, she’s still really proud to help around the house. After breakfast, she loves to go to my phone and go to the weather app to tell people what to wear (”Shorts and a short t-shirt” or “It’s cold this morning but will be hot later, so we should wear sweatshirts.”). This is likely a phase, but it’s lasted about a year and is still going. It’s helped the whole family, too.

    Mari  |  September 22nd, 2012 at 6:01 pm

  • I always put any bags, including my purse, on the door knob that we always go out. Little thing, but makes a world of difference.

    Torry  |  September 23rd, 2012 at 12:44 pm

  • I would add doing any hair prep you can the night before. My hair is not the kind of hair that would look good with a cute pixie like yours. It’s very thick and very curly so it requires some prep that takes a long time if I wait to do it all in the morning. If I don’t do it the night before, I will inevitably end up with a ball of messy hair on top of my head the next day.

    Diana  |  September 24th, 2012 at 5:31 pm

  • I’m jealous of people who have the option of showering the night before. My curly hair has to be done in the morning because there is no brushing out bed head.

    My strategy is to make my kids walk to the bus stop without me. lol

    Miss Britt  |  September 25th, 2012 at 6:07 am

  • Great tips! I like the layering approach. I work from home now, but one of the strategies I used was to have everything that needed to go with us in the morning lined up by the door or on a table the night before. Everything scattered about just caused way too many complications and would result in “someone” being late. :)

    Crystal  |  September 28th, 2012 at 10:50 am

  • I keep healthy breakfast options that I can eat in the car or while getting dressed if necessary–such as Baker’s Breakfast Cookies (super healthy and keep me full until lunch), or a plastic container with wheat chex and raisins–that kind of thing.

    Patty  |  October 2nd, 2012 at 7:19 pm

  • Getting dressed and having a healthy breakfast is the key.

    Morgan Cooper  |  October 5th, 2012 at 10:42 pm