Get Organized For The Start of Summer

posted by Andrea | 05/22/2015
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The start of summer is officially less than one month away — yay!

Although this is often a very full and busy time of year for many of us (especially teachers and those with children finishing up the school year), it’s also a great time to put a little effort into getting organized BEFORE summer starts.

I know Dave is looking forward to a break from school, and I’m sure you can all imagine how excited I am to have him home ALLLLLLLLL summer long (especially when the new babe arrives!)  However, before we officially swap our backpacks for beach bags, there are a few simple things I try to do before the lazy days of summer arrive — otherwise, my summer days tend to feel more rushed and busy than “lazy”!

1. Clear paper clutter.

Schools are really good at sending children home with lots and lots of paper… so before you close up shop for the summer, take a little time to sit down with your children and go through all their paperwork from the past school year.

Toss anything you/they don’t need, use, or want; and encourage them to weed out some (or most) of their school art projects and crafts. They only need to keep the ones they love — and if they insist that they love all of them (which they probably will) explain that there is not room to keep everything. Believe me, this is a good lesson to teach them, even at an early age!

Take a picture of the actual artwork or project and put that in your photo album instead of keeping all the actual art. You could even photograph your kids WITH their artwork if you wanted.

This is also a great time to weed through your filing cabinets and purge, shred, and recycle any papers you no longer need. Tax season is over, you should have your returns back by now, so anything you didn’t need for your taxes could potentially be purged!!

2. Stock up on summertime activities.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but now is the time to stock up on some fun activities to keep you and your kids or grandkids busy during those long summer days.

Look for deals on board games, DVD’s, craft supplies, water balloons, sprinklers, sidewalk chalk, bubbles etc. Search the internet for creative activities to do as a family. Scour garage sales for dress-up clothes, scavenger hunt items, and “prizes” for whatever reward system you might implement.

Now is also the time to finalize the plans for any family vacations or day-trips you would like to take. Once summer is here, it’s too late to try to get those plans in place, so start planning your travel now to avoid higher prices on last-minute plans.

3. Look over your calendar.

Speaking of travel plans… lazy summer days have a way of suddenly becoming jam-packed with all sorts of sporting events, vacations, trips, play dates, BBQ’s, pool parties, weddings, summer camp, and much more.

Take a few moments to glance over your calendars for June, July, and August — do you need to make any last-minute plans? Do you need to request time off from work? Do you need purchase gifts or prepare anything in advance?

Once the kids are home from school, you might not have as much time… so do it now!

4. Swap out seasonal clothing.

If you haven’t taken the time to weed through your closet over the past few months, now is an excellent time of year to do that. I’ve always found that a change in season makes me more likely to purge items from the opposite season to make more room for the current season. If you realize you haven’t worn something all winter long, it’s probably safe to toss it into the donate bag (at least in my own experience).

Spring is a great time to go through kid’s clothing as well — especially since kids grow so stinkin’ fast that there’s a good chance last summer’s clothing won’t fit. Take an afternoon to go through their clothing and figure out what you can pass down to the next child, what you should donate, and what you’ll need to buy for the upcoming season (remember to write down what you need).

I’ve been pretty lucky with Nora this time around — all her pants from last summer work as capris for this summer and many of her skirts and shorts still fit. Her shirts, on the other hand, are all way too small :)

5. Get your house in shape.

The best time for deep cleaning and organizing is probably NOT once the kids are home full-time tramping dirt inside every single day.

If there are any major (or even minor) cleaning and organizing projects you want to tackle… do them now! Unless of course, your husband is a teacher and you’re waiting for him to be done for the summer so you can start renovating yet another bathroom :)

Even though my kids aren’t in school yet, I often like to do some extra cleaning projects in the spring — just because I like things to feel more “fresh” and clean once the weather warms up. I’ll often wash my windows this time of year, as well as washing pillows and comforters when I remove extra blankets from our beds thanks to the warmer weather.

It always feels good to get some of these season projects crossed off my list — and if my kids were in school, I would most definitely try to get as many of those cleaning and organizing projects done ASAP!!

I realize these activities probably don’t sound super fun or exciting right now — especially for those of us who have just braved months of frigid weather and want to ditch our to-do lists to finally head outside and enjoy the warmer weather.

However, by taking just a little bit of time each week for the next 4 weeks, we’ll have a bunch of tasks completely done BEFORE summer starts… which means we’ll be able to enjoy those precious summer months EVEN more.

Personally, I’m planning to do LOTS of relaxing with a new baby sleeping on my chest this summer, so my goal is to get as much done as possible before summer starts!

How are you preparing for summer?

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15 comments

  1. Melissa

    05/10/2012

    I live in Phoenix so for me summer means a lot of time indoors, at least during daylight hours. So preparing for summer here is more like prepping for winter elsewhere. I have about 2-3 weeks left to do any organizing projects in the garage, wash the windows outside, etc before it’s too hot and unpleasant to do so. One of the things we do to prepare for summer is to get our A/C system checked in spring before the summer busy season starts. Another thing I like to do is get any baking done in spring and stock the freezer so that I don’t have to turn the oven on during those hot summer days if I can help it!

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    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks for sharing these ideas/tips, Melissa. I am in coastal South Carolina – so, not nearly as warm/intense as Phoenix – and our days are spent out of the heat & humidity until things cool off in the evening (when the mosquitoes come out!). I love the idea of baking now to avoid the heat being exacerbated by an oven during the middle of the summer- no need to add extra work for an A/C unit that is already working hard to combat a heat index of 115.

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  2. Paula

    05/10/2012

    When the kids come home with all their papers I do sit down with them and go through them. We make piles. 1) Toss; 2) Keep; 3) Take picture and then toss. My kids each have a file on the computer of ‘Artwork’ labeled by grade so they can always see their creations and especially if they are oversize this works well.

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  3. Lisa

    05/10/2012

    Thanks for giving me my next “to do list” :) The reminders are all great! I would add “putting meals in the freezer” and “making a list of quick and easy meals to refer to”…although I love to cook, it’s sure nice to not have to fuss with supper after a long hard day at the beach or pool :)

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  4. Bonnie

    05/10/2012

    Thank you for your helpful ideas!

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  5. Ivy Miller

    05/10/2012

    I like to get together some “school type” workbooks for the kids so they don’t forget everything over the summer. Plus it gives them something to do when I hear “we are board there’s nothing to do!!”
    Now that all three of mine are going to be going to school next year I am also going to spread out the school supply shopping. I can’t believe how much stuff they need.

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  6. Ann

    05/10/2012

    Here are my summer suggestions for kids:
    Don’t do all of your cleaning before they are out of school! On the first day of summer vacation (which was often a half day) we invited friends over or met other moms/kids at the park for a picnic and an afternoon of fun. The next morning, I paired kids up into 2’s and gave them cupboard assignments. 1 of them had to empty the cupboard. Together they would match all lids, etc of margarine containers and “Tupperware” and stack them neatly. The other child would then wash out the cupboard. I would put everything back in.
    Another terrific “kid” job is to put socks on their hands and have them crawl around on their hands and knees dusting the baseboards, chair rungs, etc.

    My mom had a list in the garage of “100 things to do”. It included bike rides, roller skating (that dates me!), reading, puzzles, games, writing a story, drawing pictures, playing instruments, swimming, building and completing an obstacle course, etc. #100 was ask Mom for work to do. If we ever said we were bored or that there was nothing to do, my mom would say, “Check the list.” If we had the nerve to say we had, she would say, “Oh, but you didn’t ask me for work to do. Now you can…..” We didn’t admit to being bored often!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Wow Ann — that’s great. I’ll have to remember this one for a few years down the road :)

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  7. Stel

    05/11/2012

    Ann…now THAT is an idea that I must remember!

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  8. Jen T

    05/22/2015

    Artkive is the best app ever for kids’ artwork!

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  9. Rebecca Mast

    05/22/2015

    Andrea, could you post a link for that neat looking swimming pool?

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    Andrea Reply:

    The pool was from Criaglist and they don’t make it anymore — so I honestly don’t have a link. Sorry :)

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    Rebecca Reply:

    Thanks so much for responding!

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    Debby Reply:

    Rebecca my girls had that pool from Little Tikes. hunt for it on Craigslist. Like all Little Tikes those things last and last so maybe someone will be selling it when their kids outgrow it. My oldest daughter got that for her 1st birthday and she’s 19 now so see they are still out there. Good luck hunting

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  10. Erin

    05/22/2015

    I just did this today! I tidy up the front porch, which is big and a GREAT place for me to throw all the crap I can’t figure out what to do with, apparently. I put away the Christmas deco I had out there and all all the tools and supplies from the tile job we did in NOVEMBER. I checked out all the kids toys and made a pile of balls that need more air and threw away all the empty bubble container. I suppose I was cleaning up from last summer preparing for this summer.

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