Summer officially begins June 20 this year, but why wait until then to get into the summer spirit? Get a jump-start by prepping your home and garden for warm weather, setting up the perfect drip-dry spot for beach towels, reorganizing the kitchen (hello, smoothie bar), and more. These 18 to-dos cover all the bases, so you can enjoy the season to the fullest.
1. Keep an eye on irrigation systems. A faulty sprinkler or irrigation hose that goes unnoticed can quickly cause big problems for your lawn and garden. Make a habit of checking each component once a week, especially in summer.
2. Install screen doors. If you use them, now is the time to take down the storm doors and put up screen doors to let the summer breezes pour in. Be sure to inspect screens carefully, patching holes as needed — even a tiny hole can be enough to let in a mosquito.
3. Empty standing water regularly. Speaking of mosquitoes, the best way to keep populations down is by regularly checking your property for standing water and emptying it. Even a saucer of water can become a mosquito nursery, so leave no pot unturned!
4. Reorganize your kitchen. The change in seasons is a good time to rethink how you have things arranged in the kitchen. If there are small appliances you use more in the warmer months (a blender for smoothies, perhaps, or an ice cream maker), move them to a more accessible spot, and you will be more likely to use them. Stations devoted to a certain purpose can also do wonders. If you have children on summer vacation, create a self-help station stocked with healthy snacks. Or create an iced-coffee bar or smoothie-making station for yourself with all needed supplies within reach.
5. Update first-aid kits and emergency supplies. Be prepared for everything from minor snafus to natural disasters with well-stocked first-aid kits in the house and car, plus emergency supplies for your family and pets. Not sure what to include? The American Red Cross has a helpful checklist.
6. Make space for summer crafts. A dedicated space for arts and crafts can provide screen-free entertainment and a creative outlet — and it’s not just for kids! Even if you must work all summer, having a space to devote to a hobby can re-energize and inspire you.
7. Organize and put away school papers. If you do have kids, at the end of the school year, it can be tempting to jump right into summer. But taking the time to sort through each child’s school things will help prevent clutter from piling up, and you can start the summer fresh. Sort through the papers, artwork and projects from the year, and choose the best representative pieces (and those that most pull at your heartstrings) to save in a portfolio or document box, then recycle the rest. If you want to preserve more than you can keep, consider scanning the artwork into your computer and creating a photo book with the pictures.
8. Set up a spot to dry beach towels and bathing suits. Soggy, sandy beach towels getting dragged through the house is a mess waiting to happen — but you can easily prevent this with a bit of planning. Choose a dedicated spot, either just outside the door (a covered porch works well) or in the mudroom, as shown here, and hang a row of sturdy hooks for wet towels and bathing suits. Once dry, sand can be easily shaken off outdoors, so it doesn’t end up in your washing machine!
9. Lighten up decor. Roll up heavy rugs, put crisp percale or cooling linen sheets on the beds, and bring in accents in lighter hues for the warmer months ahead. Breezy white curtains look delightfully cool in summer, but if the weather gets quite hot where you live, you may want to leave heavy window coverings in place. Closing the shades during the heat of the day can actually help keep your house cooler.
10. Keep cooling systems running smoothly. Take the time before hot weather sets in to dust ceiling fans, install window air-conditioning units, and schedule maintenance for a whole-house cooling system.
11. Refresh your bathroom. Shower curtain liner looking a little dingy? Bath towels seen better days? Give your bathroom a mini spa makeover, and swap out your tired old bath linens for fresh, fluffy new towels and a new curtain liner. Use a woven basket to corral rolled towels. And contain toiletries on a tray or in zippered containers.
12. Schedule major outdoor projects. Whether you are dreaming of a new patio or need to replace a deck, don’t delay booking a pro for your projects. Their schedules tend to fill up quickly in the summer.
13. Clean gutters and downspouts. If you did not get your gutters cleaned in spring, be sure to get this essential task checked off your list as soon as possible. Leaf- and debris-clogged gutters can lead to leaks and siding damage with summer storms.
14. Plant bee-friendly flowers. Help give pollinators a place to thrive by adding bee-friendly native plants to your garden now for fall blooms. Which flower species you choose will depend on your region; ask for assistance at a local nursery specializing in native plants if you are unsure.
15. Give your garage or shed a clean-out. Since you’ll likely be spending more time in your outdoor spaces during the summer, it’s a good idea to take some time at the start of the season to clear out space in your storage area. Take old paint cans to a hazardous waste drop-off point, sell or give away items you no longer want, and organize what’s left into zones of use: garden tools and supplies, outdoor adventures and sports gear, and household tools.
16. Catch up on projects and maintenance. No one is perfect, and chances are there are a few home-maintenance projects you’ve been meaning tackle. Why not make June the month to get caught up?
17. Get seasonal gear ready. What with camping and beach trips, summertime activities come with a lot of gear. Get it cleaned up and ready now, so you’re not surprised by a leaky tent or blown-out beach umbrella when it’s too late to replace them. And if you plan to waterproof anything (tents or outdoor tablecloths, for example), now is the time.
18. Make your summer must-do list. Beach days, lemonade on the porch, pick-your-own fruit farms — with so much to look forward to in summer, don’t let it zip by in the blink of an eye! Be sure you are making the most of your season by creating a list of your personal must-dos and posting it where you can see it. A big chalkboard or family bulletin board would be ideal.