As the weather warms up and summer rolls around, it’s a good time to have a think about how you’re living in your home and what you can do to make life easier.
The start of summer is sometimes a blurry line in the UK, but as we start embracing the outdoors with picnics and barbeques, and kids splashing around in paddling pools, not to mention the promise of hot summer holidays, it’s time to reset your home a little and get organised!
Here are 6 tips to keep your home clutter-free and organised over the summer
1. Have a seasonal declutter
The beginning of summer is a time when many items that were packed away last autumn, slowly start to come out of storage. As you rummage around for summer clothes and outdoor toys, take stock and ask yourself if you still need or want everything?
Do you still use that tent with a hole in it? Are the kids too old for the slip-and-slide? Donate, recycle or throw away any items you no longer use to help create more storage for the items you do.
It can be a little overwhelming to think of doing a full declutter, but don’t do too much at once. It can be as simple as giving yourself an extra 10 minutes when you’re getting out the picnic things to have a quick check over everything and make sure it’s all in good shape. If there’s anything that’s looking past it’s best, or that you don’t think you’ll use again, take it out then and there and deal with it straight away. Don’t be tempted to put things back in the cupboard on the promise of dealing with it later!
2. Review your bathroom cupboards
Suncreams and bug spray from last summer probably need replacing. Have a quick look in your cupboards and check for the expiration date symbols. Some products will have a date on them, but others will have a picture of a pot with an open lid, followed by some numbers (12M, 6M etc). These tell you how long after opening you can keep the product for and for it to still be effective.
It’s particularly important for sun creams to be in-date to get maximum protection from them, so if you have an array of half used bottles at the back of the cupboard, it’s probably time to buy new.
Take the opportunity to have a quick look through your make-up too. If your skin tans in the summer, you may be using different skin products to those you use in the winter.
Like sun creams, make-up tends to have a fairly short shelf-life (look for the open jar symbol again), so you may want to get rid of any open make-up that you know you won’t be using again for a good few months. If it’s nearly expired, clear it out and treat yourself to a few new summery products that you’ll get more use out of.
3. Swap out seasonal clothes
Although a British summer requires a few light rain coats and jumpers, having your entire winter wardrobe on display through summer becomes a total pain! Part of the fun of summer is a wardrobe refresh, but having to fight to get things in or out of the wardrobe is zero fun.
Invest in a few extra large vacuum storage bags that you can fill with any thick jumpers or coats you definitely won’t be using over summer. Once they’ve been sealed and suctioned, store them under the bed or in the attic. In autumn you can swap your winter clothes back and re-fill the bag with summer-wear, maximising the storage in your wardrobe.
4. Make larger outdoor items easily accessible
During summer outdoor sports kits and paddling pools need to be instantly accessible at the mere hint of a sunny day. Instead of storing them at the back of the cupboard or shed, rearrange the space so they can be stored at the front to be easily grabbable.
The same can be said for picnic items and barbecue equipment. Keep everything together and make them as accessible as possible.
If your shed is smaller, and tricky to rearrange, you could think about getting a garden storage box to store everything in over the summer. Tuck it to the side of your patio or garden, and you can just reach in and grab what you need when you need it.
Don’t forget though – if you’re packing away paddling pools or garden toys, make sure they’re really dry before you put them away to avoid mould.
5. Create holiday travel kits
The summer season often means at least one trip away, if not more. There’s no denying that organising a holiday, especially if there’s more than just you, can feel overwhelming, but creating travel kits well in advance iis a great way to feel more in control.
Start by making a list of everything you need and categorise e.g. toiletries, first aid, activities to keep the kids entertained. As you source the items, place them into boxes or bags that are clearly labelled. Once a kit is complete, it can be stored away in a cupboard, ready to be thrown in a suitcase when you start packing. If your suitcases are pretty accessible, these kits can even be stored in them directly, so they’re ready to go when you are!
Your suitcases are a great place to store anything travel related throughout the year, so don’t let the extra storage space go to waste! If you have a wash bag that’s prepped and ready to go with travel samples, or holiday only travel bags, put them all inside the suitcase and just sort through and take out what you don’t need when you’re packing.
6. Refresh the toys
If you have kids, the school holidays can sometimes feel like a lifetime. Especially if it’s raining and you have bored children in a confined space while you try to get a bit of work done!
Get ahead this year and pack activity bags to stave off any holiday boredom. Using large ziploc bags or plastic wallets, make up a few kits of toys or activities like puzzle books or games and store them out of the way. For little kids with short attention spans, this can easily be things they already own, but putting them out of sight for a bit can make them seem exciting again when they reappear!
Bigger kids might be more interested in a few new books or toys. If you’re buying new, just make sure you have a good declutter first and get rid of anything that they’ve grown out of so you’re not drowning in kids’ clutter by the end of the summer.
When the kids want something to do, let them pick out an activity bag and give yourself 20 minutes of peace!
As the seasons change, so does the way we use our homes. To keep things organised look out for those areas of your home that feel like they’re just not working at the moment, and have a bit of a switch around. By making a few small changes, you’ll spend less time trying to keep up with the tidying and have more time to enjoy the summer.
So forget spring cleaning…it’s time for a summer spruce-up!