GET SUMMER ORGANIZED

Sweet summer time is here! The days are longer. Pool parties, summer camps and barbecues replace routines, homework and the grind. Counting down that beach or mountain vacation has started. Fishing, boating and bike riding is mandatory. The smells of sunscreen and mosquito repellant are in the air. And your snowball cravings are imminent. We all have some nostalgia for the summer days of our youth, but summer time does create a little (or a lot) of anxiety for many people. Between ever shifting schedules, busy social calendars, sleep overs, camps, vacations and the days when the kids are home in between, what do you do after the final school bell rings and reality hits?

The key is preparation. A little extra planning and preparing can lay the groundwork for a more stress free summer – so keep calm, put on that sunscreen and read on!

CREATE A PLAN

Start a family calendar for the summer months now (this is super helpful for the school year as well). You and your family can visualize everyone’s activities, summer camps, play dates, vacations, travel and all of the in between. Once school is out, hang the calendar where everyone can see it so you can all stay on the same page.

TIP: There are many ways to create an organized family calendar but one of my favorite ways is to use a simple dry erase calendar board (I love the Ubrands line at Target). Assign each family member a color - making it super easy to figure out whom is doing what on the assigned day. Use your favorite color to block off your vacations. Also, if your kids are old enough, enlist them in the project and have them put their activities in the calendar. Getting them involved with the family calendar will help make them feel like they are part of the process and teach them organization skills.

PURGE YOUR REFRIGERATOR AND PANTRY

Your kids will be home a lot more during the summer months. And you usually have more friends, family, neighborhood kids, etc. over as well – that means more hungry and thirsty loved ones! Prepare yourself before the onslaught by doing a quick purge of your pantry and refrigerator. This will help you get rid of all the expired items and create more space. It also will help you inventory your supplies and see what you may need. Load up on snacking supplies, plenty of drinks to prevent dehydration, healthy stuff for the whole family, BBQ items, fish fry and crab boil supplies, etc.

TIP: Stock that freezer! Make life easier during the hot summer months by stocking up on staples and food preps. Kids (and adults) love popsicles, ice cream, yogurt - anything cold when it gets hot. And stock up on things like pre made appetizers and desserts for last minute dinner parties.

SUPPLY CHECKS

Summer means lots of sun and bugs, so start stocking up now on sunscreen and bug repellant and check your first-aid kit to see what needs to be replenished. Remember to check your sunscreen expirations - most expire within 1-2 years. Grab extras to make “to go” packs that can be popped into bags on the way out of the house in the morning.

TIP: Use this time to go through you and your kids' summer clothing – sandals, sun protective clothing, bathing suits and hats. Make sure that they still fit so you know what you need to buy for when the temperature starts to soar.

RESTOCK THE RESERVES

The home supply closet is often depleted after the long school year. Stock up on paper, markers, chalk, craft items and anything else that your children love to use when they are at home (and boredom or rain strikes).

TIP: If your children are heading to camp, buy name labels that can easily be applied to anything and everything that they will take with them.

THE GEAR

Bikes, pool gear, golf carts, scooters and other outdoor items will be in high demand now that summer is here. So pull them out now and make sure they are in good shape. If your summer gear spent the winter and spring outside or in the garage, it probably needs a good rinse and deep clean. Remember to check that helmets and other safety gear still fit.

TIP: This is also a good time to put winter toys and gear away in an attic, shed or other storage space, so that warm weather items are easily accessible. Also, purge your beach towels - they tend to get pretty tattered quickly with kiddos or if you have a pool.

I sure hope these summer organizing tips help you and wish you all a great start to the summer! It seems to get shorter each year so enjoy every minute!

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