Something about summer’s heat and longer days just enforces an increased level of relaxation. But that doesn’t mean you have to turn into a (hot) mess this time of year. Here are some tips to get ready for, and get through, an organized summer.
1. Store your cold weather clothes and bedding.
Wash or dry-clean anything that needs it now, so you aren’t caught at the start of next winter with a sad-looking coat or a comforter you have to stuff into the washing machine before you can make your bed. The more out-of-the-way you can put this stuff, the better. Having a winter quilt fall on your head every time you reach for clean sheets in the linen closet is annoying. Ask me how I know.
2. Be prepared for the sun.
Check your summer supplies from last year to make sure they’re not expired or used up, then stock up on necessities like sunscreen, aloe gel for burns, hydrocortisone cream for bug bites, and cheap rubber flip-flops.
3. Make packing easy.
If you go to the beach (or park, or pool) frequently, prepare a bag of must-haves so you can head out for common summer activities without scurrying around getting ready. Put a beach towel, a book, and whatever else you’ll want to have with you in a tote bag, and make sure to re-stock it after each outing.
4. Pre-plan food shopping.
I always want to make the most of summer’s seasonal produce, but sometimes get so busy with work or other obligations that I end up in the supermarket buying a few sad-looking apples that put the scare quotes in “fresh” produce. To take advantage of summer’s fresh fruits and vegetables, research CSA’s or local farm stands and markets before the season starts. Look up locations, prices, and hours so you can work buying fruits and vegetables into your schedule.
5. Prep for day trips.
Assuming any major vacations (and structured activities for kids home from school) have been planned already, there’s still a lot of room for summer travel opportunities if you plan them properly. Set aside a weekend to research local sights and attractions. After browsing, make a list of locations you’d like to visit and then note hours, prices, and any additional information, like special events you can’t miss or want to avoid. Then come up with a loose plan for when you’re going where. If any reservations are required, make them soon. If not, even better: especially in the summer, you can travel without an exact plan or destination as long as you do a little bit of research first.
6. Make summer resolutions.
I know, they’re usually reserved for the New Year. But summer can be such a high-pressure time, with so much to do (and, if you live in a climate with four distinct seasons, such a limited opportunity to do it) that it’s worth planning to make sure you don’t miss out on your personal highlights, whatever they may be. Instead of the usual daunting January list of “I will work out every day” and “I will pay all my bills on time,” make your summer resolutions enjoyable. Resolve to travel out of state at least once, to eat more smoothies, to buy fresh flowers for your living room. And keep your list short. Having a daily routine is helpful. This way you can use your routine to get all of your mundane tasks out of the way so you can spend sometime enjoying the season.
7. Keep cool.
Place water bottles in the fridge or freezer, make popsicles in molds, fill up your ice trays, and get in the habit of making a pot of iced coffee or tea or lemonade to keep in the fridge. As long as summer storms don’t knock the power out, you’ll have a refreshing treat whenever you want one.
8. Complete a weather-dependent project.
I’m not a huge craft person; I just don’t like having excess stuff in my living space. But I did once spray-paint a large metal file cabinet a pretty shade of blue. Because I did this on a porch in summer, it was painless, but in winter the task would have been miserable. (Now if only I could lift the thing.) If you have any painting projects or otherwise home plans that will go better in warm and sunny weather, summer is the time to do them. Then you can enjoy the results all year.