Summer is here! With my three kids home from school I may or may not be losing my mind (read: I’m losing my mind). Summer Organization Tips are here to help.
For me, the only thing to help clear my head is:
3. A nice looking home
Buy this amazing Swan Float here – such a great price and it’s my kids favorite!
The outdoor area of our home is getting the most use right now (as it should be). My backyard has kids in and out of a pool all day. I enjoy a clean, organized and pretty “work space” to get the kids and our guests ready for fun. You should try it; it will help (as does a glass of wine, but we’ll talk at happy hour by the pool about that.)
Summer Organization Tips
Organization – Getting Ready for Sun
Set up a “staging area” as close to your outdoor area as possible. The closer the proximity the better. Why? Because no one likes a scavenger hunt for towels, their sons favorite mask and the last bottle of sunscreen when the kids are whining to go outside. Set up your staging area where you need it, with what you need.
Place a card table by the outdoors and have a “prep-station.” I use these drawers to label things like goggles, sunglasses, sunscreen and more. Doing this not only helps kids learn to help themselves (independence is great in my book), but also know where to put it back so it doesn’t get lost for next time. It’s also (I hope) teaching my little one’s site words. And when guests come over you can show them how to make themselves at home and grab what they forgot to bring in an organized workspace.
Also, right now I’m working on teaching my kids how to apply sunscreen themselves. I’ve placed a mirror on the table so that they can watch as I put it on, and then I let them look at themselves as they practice. It’s a good way to incorporate teaching so that getting ready for the sun will continually get easier. Placing the mirror by the sunscreen helps consolidate the getting ready process.
On the card table I’ve used a gorgeous indoor/outdoor fabric tablecloth. For years I bought cheap vinyl ones and threw them away at the end of the summer, but I never found a style I loved. This year I get to a few yards of Sunbrella fabric and had tablecloths made to size.
My reason for this is style, functionality and investment. It’s important to me that my home look nice. Also, I’ve used Sunbrella fabrics for years and their fabric is top quality. It lasts. I know this tablecloth will be used for years. It can stay outside year round and will only need to be cleaned with bleach (trust me on this – keep reading.)
It’s stylish, classic and will hold up and I won’t have to worry about it. I invest in things like this. This isn’t vinyl, it’s a gorgeous fabric tablecloth that can handle full sun, full rain and still look gorgeous.
Summer Organization Tips – “The Stuff”
So…yea. My kids have a lot of pool toys. They are spoiled. And I have a favorite pool float. The key to pool toys is making sure they dry properly. If they dry properly, they will last the entire summer and likely longer.
I’ve tried trunks and they just grow mildew. I prefer containers like this because they let the kids see the toys (if you don’t see it, you won’t use it), the kids can get the toys and put them back easily, and it’s vertical so all the drying happens correctly no matter where they toss it. This one is also on wheels so it’s nice to roll by pool and then tuck away.
Summer Organization Tips – Cleaning
Now that I’ve brought up the “M” word, let’s talk about it. Mildew. Gross. Slimy, green, nasty fun-ending mildew.
There is a solution for this though – and it’s literally “a solution.” Get a spray bottle and mix 1-part bleach to 2-parts Dawn detergent (or similar) and water. Mark it clearly on the bottle so no one mistakes it for something else.
When mildew shows up (without a welcome) on your outdoor furniture, rugs, pillows, pool toys here’s what you do:
Spray the solution on the mildew. You may want to use gloves (up to you. I’m a risk taker so I don’t). Leave the gross pillow or whatever it is in the sun for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with water.
If stain persists, douse it even more with solution, use a light brush or washcloth, more sun and rinse.
I have fabric covered furniture that has not come inside once in five years and looks positively fantastic (yes, it’s covered in Sunbrella which is why I know I love that brand).
This solution and process works. It’s what outdoor furniture companies recommend and I’ve done it for years. Do not be afraid of bleach on indoor/outdoor fabric. Here’s a good example of before and after cleaning of my own cushions.
Summer Organization Tips – Prettiness!
Looking Good = Feeling Good
Now that we are organized and clean in the outdoor area, let’s make it look like an outdoor living space.
Just because we are outside doesn’t mean it can’t look like a home. With fabrics that last outdoors year round, you can buy a beautiful rug, gorgeous throw pillows and even a blanket that is mold and mildew resistant. It all cleans with the solution, and will help make your home look gorgeous.
Read more about decorating outdoors here. I interviewed HGTV’s Vern Yip and he shared his favorite tips on how to bring the inside look and design outside.
Easy right? Set up a staging area, use easy summer organization tips, clean everything with one spray bottle and you’re set for a summer of fun! Now about that happy hour…
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