Summer Sundries: Keep Your Cool By Staying Organized

It seems that no matter your occupation, the livin’ really is easier in the summer. Longer days and a less-hectic pace are something to be taken advantage of and enjoyed. Besides the humidity and gnats, the only downside to summer is that when you are out of your routine, things can quickly get out of place and scattered about.

The simple trade of loafers-for-flip-flops brings on a whole new brand of clutter with the sudden appearance of bed-sheet-sized beach towels, pool noodles, and an arsenal of water guns. It seems you can’t ever find a clean water bottle when you need one or remember where you last saw the sunscreen. Don’t fight it, work with it. Set up a time-saving summer system to make those spur-of-the-moment invitations to the pool, the dog park or a cookout a breeze.

It seems that no matter your occupation, the livin’ really is easier in the summer. Longer days and a less-hectic pace are something to be taken advantage of and enjoyed. Besides the humidity and gnats, the only downside to summer is that when you are out of your routine, things can quickly get out of place and scattered about.

The simple trade of loafers-for-flip-flops brings on a whole new brand of clutter with the sudden appearance of bed-sheet-sized beach towels, pool noodles, and an arsenal of water guns. It seems you can’t ever find a clean water bottle when you need one or remember where you last saw the sunscreen. Don’t fight it, work with it. Set up a time-saving summer system to make those spur-of-the-moment invitations to the pool, the dog park or a cookout a breeze.

Summer Storage Systems
Instead of retraining your family, just make their habits more workable. For instance, I used to be the family Sherpa, toting a gigantic bag while the others pranced ahead through the pool gate. I was grouchy, sweaty and exhausted by the time I got there. Then one day after being publicly dressed-down by my five-year-old for forgetting the goggles, I decided these children could start schlepping their own stuff. I assigned each one of them a drawstring backpack (courtesy of various sporting events we’ve attended or participated in) and a peg on the laundry room wall. These string bags are lightweight, dry instantly, and are just the right size for a rolled-up beach towel, a bottle of sunscreen, and whatever else they want to play with at the pool. Once we got in a regular habit of storing this gear in the bags and returning the bags to the pegs, we were in the water in no time.

I’ve since expanded the system to include gear-specific bags for our other activities that require special shoes and equipment. Try it! Why scramble from closet to dresser to hat rack to glove compartment when a runner could simply keep a basket by the back door to hold shoes, socks, visor, earbuds, and hydration belt? A gardener might designate a tote to contain gloves, bug spray, kneeling pad and tools—everything she needs when she tends her plants. You could keep the dog’s leash in a plastic grocery sack (to later use for cleaning up after Fido) hung on a hook near the house key. Keeping everything you need for your regular activities assembled and stored together puts an end to tearing the house apart in a mad search, and gets you out the door faster so you can enjoy what’s important to you. Now that’s time well spent!

Here are more tips to help you get a grip on summer:

  • A basket in the bathroom becomes the reliable go-to spot for bug spray and sunscreen.
  • A bin or basket on the counter corrals water bottles and their awkward array of spouts and lids.
  • A deep tote bag for the grilling tools, salt, pepper, and basting brush helps get your equipment to the grill when you’re carrying a heavy platter laden with beef and chicken.
  • A picnic basket serves up a stack of plastic cups, summery cocktail napkins and a corkscrew for an impromptu driveway happy hour. Go ahead and add a box of special crackers or interesting chips so that all you have to do is open the fridge and grab the drinks on your way to meet friends.
  • A plastic hamper by the outdoor water spigot drip-dries water guns and sandbox toys.
  • A tray in the pantry readies a bag of marshmallows, sleeve of graham crackers, and a few chocolate bars for roasting s’mores around the backyard fire pit.
  • A tub designated for wet clothes and towels keeps mildewed laundry surprises at bay.
  • A waterproof bag holds your e-reader, a pair of tinted reading glasses, and a crushable sun hat.
  • And that gigantic pool bag you once toted now festively holds a supply of clean, rolled beach towels.

Optimize long summer days by making your steps count twice. When you’re grilling chicken, double the amount you’re grilling; it doesn’t take any longer, and you’ll have tonight and tomorrow’s dinners taken care of in one flip of the spatula. Buy doubles of your personal-care items and keep one set tucked away in your luggage for spontaneous summer getaways; or, buy bulk and divvy them up into smaller containers for home, travel and guests. Get the twin-pack of sunscreen and keep one at home and one in the car. Finally, tackle your fitness and your to-do list by walking the dog to the post office instead of taking the car to buy a book of stamps. When Mother Nature gives you the gift of time, you want to maximize it and get the most out of every day. And for goodness’ sake, don’t forget the goggles!

 

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