Crank up the ice cream maker, hang up the hammock and raise the outdoor umbrella. Summer's in full swing this month
With Independence Day kicking off the month here in the States, kids in the throes of school break and the days (and evenings) luxuriously long, July is a month to celebrate summer in all its glory. So make a summer bucket list, swing in a hammock, invite some friends over and stay cool — these to-dos are as much about fun as they are about smart home maintenance and safety.
Put summer fun on the schedule. Do you want to finally pull out that hand-crank ice cream maker, take a trip to the coast or visit a carnival? Make your own summer fun list, but go one step further: Schedule your top activities on the calendar to ensure you won’t miss out.
Set up a games room. Whether you scoot out the dining table to transform the formal dining room into a billiards or pingpong room or put a card table piled high with games in the family room, making visible space for fun is a sure way to encourage more of it.
Hang out in a hammock. There’s just something about a hammock — even looking at one is relaxing! String one up on the porch, deck, lawn or even in the living room and savor an afternoon catnap.
Clean fans and filters. Clean or replace filters in your home’s window AC units or HVAC system. Climb a ladder (carefully!) and wipe dust off ceiling fan blades.
Check safety devices. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house and replace batteries as needed. Check expiration dates on fire extinguishers and replace as needed.
Tackle a major remodeling project. If you have an outdoor shower (or want an excuse to rig one up), summer is a great time to take on a major bathroom renovation. In pleasant weather, an outdoor shower (as long as it’s private) can be used for everyday bathing, making the upheaval that goes along with a bathroom remodeling project a bit more bearable. Likewise, when the weather is agreeable you can easily shift your cooking outdoors while a kitchen remodel is underway.
Wash out the washer and dryer. Sand from towels and swimsuits can build up in the washing machine and dryer in the summer, making your clothes come out less than clean. To keep your appliances running smoothly, wipe sand and grit from inside the drum and rubber seal, then run the washer while empty with a cup of white vinegar or a specialty washer-cleaning product. To keep sand at bay in the future, dry suits and towels outdoors and shake out sand before washing.
Give old-school line drying a try. Even if you don’t do it all the time, hanging your whites to dry on a clothesline can help shave a few bucks off your energy bill. Plus, the sun’s natural bleaching power means you can skip the harsh chemicals in the wash.
Provide ample water on hot days. Small children and furry friends are especially susceptible to overheating, so be sure to keep fresh water within reach outdoors.
That goes for you too during that marathon lawn-mowing session. A water fountain that provides fresh, filtered water makes it super easy, but a dispenser filled with ice water on the deck works too.
Share your backyard harvest. Expecting a glut of tomatoes or zucchini in your garden this season? Don’t let excess veggies go to waste: Host a garden swap with neighbors, or donate to a food pantry, where the produce can be put to good use. Check Ample Harvest to search for a local pantry that accepts such donations.
Add shade to the yard. Make spending time in your backyard more enjoyable by providing ample shade cover where you need it most.
Shade sails are good for covering a patio or deck, and free-standing umbrellas can be positioned and repositioned as needed.
Tell us: What’s on your to-do list for July?