Summer is coming! Here in New England, there are less than two months of school left. Spring is flying by — especially since winter weather is only a couple weeks behind us! ;)
Right now, many people are in the awkward spot between seasons. Winter boots might still be out, closets have long sleeves and short sleeves side by side, and the bikes may be battling with the snowblower for garage real estate. But between baseball games, end-of-school parties, and dance recitals, summer will be here before you know it. Do some prep work now, and your summer will have more time for FUN.
Here are my 8 favorite ways to get organized for summer:
1. Put away sweaters and make room for shorts.
Pack away clothes you won’t need for the next few months — but go through them first! If it won’t fit your growing child next year, donate, pass it on (or store in a bin, labeled by size, for younger siblings). If you don’t wear something, donate it. It will take a few more minutes now, but it will be worth it in the fall! Assess the summer clothes you have, and make a list of what you need. No swimsuits that fit? Buy a new one now, so you’re ready for that very first pool party or beach trip.
2. Get sunscreen and bug spray ready.
Leftovers from last year? Check the expiration date, and toss anything that’s expired or looks or smells strange. Replenish your supplies, if needed. You can often pay for sunscreen from your healthcare savings account. This is also a good time to stock up on other things you may need more of in the summer — in our house, that means Band-Aids and first aid cream. And if you need new sunscreen, The Environmental Working Group’s 11th annual sunscreen guide has recommendations.
3. Give summer fun supplies a kid-friendly home.
’Tis the season for bubbles, sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, and jump ropes! Replenish supplies if you’ve run low, and store them in a place that’s easy for kids to access. A bucket or handled bin is great for these items; easy to carry and easy to put away. Little tip: an inexpensive plastic drink dispenser makes a great refillable bubble station.
4. Tackle the camp supply list.
Don’t wait for the weekend before camp starts to realize you don’t have enough towels, water bottles are missing, or soccer cleats are too small (already?!?!). If you’ll need something, add it to your regular shopping list instead of making a special last-minute trip. Our camp needs always include paper lunch bags and more towels. (I love the quick-drying bath towels at Target — they’re smaller than a beach towel (space saving!), come in a ton of colors, and go on sale for $4–5 so when we inevitably misplace a couple over the summer, nobody gets too upset about it.)
5. Make a summer bucket list.
What do you want to do this summer? Camping? Movie marathon? Picnic in the park? Ice cream for dinner? Big or small, indoors or out, this is the most fun to do list you’ll make all year! And since summer always seems to fly by, you won’t have September remorse for all the fun things you forgot to do. This is a great activity for kids — hand them paper and markers and see what they come up with.
6. Make a summer fun bag, and keep it packed and ready to go.
Last minute invitation to a friend’s pool? Driving by a beach or pond that looks amazing? Impromptu summer fun is easy when supplies are at hand. Stock a big bag with towels, swimsuits, sunscreen, bug spray, flip flops, hats, sunglasses, etc. and keep it near the door or in the car. You’ll always be prepared for fun! (One caveat: sunscreen can lose effectiveness if stored in a hot car for long periods of time, so don't leave the same bottle in there all summer!)
7. Make quick seasonal swaps in your car and garage.
Take the snow brush out of your car and add a picnic blanket, folding chairs, and that beach bag from tip #6. Stash the snow gear, and make bikes and summer toys easy to get to. A few minutes now will pay off all summer long.
8. Head off boredom by being prepared.
Summer may fly by, but long days can lead to moments of boredom for kids. Head off whining by having ideas at the ready: hide a few toys from the playroom and reintroduce them over the summer. Have a bicycle “car wash” or bake cookies for your neighbors. Gather a few craft supplies for a rainy day. Pinterest has many lists of ideas. At our house we have a boredom jar filled with strips of paper that each list an activity. Bored? Whatever you draw, you do.
A little work and planning now, and you’re ready for FUN this summer!