Aw, sweet summertime.
Summer is my favorite season for so many reasons — the longer days, the chance to spend so much time outdoors and the opportunities to enjoy lots of pool and beach time just send me to my happy place! By the end of the school year, we are always a little relieved to put the backpacks and lunchboxes away for a few months, too!
Whether or not you have kids at home or not, there is something sort of wonderful about the slower pace of the summer season.
Some days, it is certainly simply because it is too hot and humid to do anything but relax but the warm weather is a great time to reset your schedule, get some much needed Vitamin D energy and find ways to simplify your daily routine!
My first order of advice this month is to take time to enjoy the summer season.
If you are a teacher or someone who is not commuting to work on a regular basis, you probably already have some ideas on how you plan to accomplish this.
For the rest of you, my advice is to take at least three days — in a row — to simply enjoy everything that summer has to offer.
Weekends are usually so busy with cookouts and barbecues while just taking a little mini staycation can provide tremendous restorative value!
Sleep in, drink iced tea on your front porch, make ice cream sundaes and let the kids play in the backyard until after bedtime.
You will be amazed at how refreshing it is to just stay home and enjoy all those things that you never really appreciated as a kid.
Several years ago, my husband and I discovered that as much as we love our annual family vacations, usually to the beach or Disney World, we loved our family “staycations” just as much, if not more!
During your mini break, you can even take some time to enjoy some of the hidden gems that your own local community has to offer.
I don’t know about you, but I forget about these sometimes, especially in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Call your local tourism board and ask them for some out of the way places that you can spend a morning visiting!
Summer Spruce Up: I have always thought that Spring Cleaning is a novel idea but a bit of a misnomer considering how, each and every year, my family is far too busy with youth sports and school activities to really give any attention to our house until the mercury on the thermometer heats up.
Summertime is an ideal time to give your house that long overdue cleaning and spruce up what you didn’t have time for during the Spring!
Longer daylight hours mean I can work in my backyard and garage much later and still have time to enjoy my children.
Use this season as an opportunity to organize closets and storage areas — and get everything boxed up for a fun back to school yard or rummage sale to help fund any expenses you are facing in the fall.
For us, that is usually new shoes and back to school clothes for my kids — and what better time to make room for the new than getting rid of the old? If you are so inclined, take my summer spruce up challenge!
The challenge is a simple one — clean one closet in your house each week — you can do the closet all at once or a little at a time, depending on your style!
For me, I rip everything out of the closet and hunker down until it is purged, organized and looking like a brand new space!
Summer is 10 weeks long, so if you do one closet a week, you can purge your house of so much unnecessary stuff by the time the big yellow buses get back into gear in September!
If yard sales aren’t your thing, consider donating to your favorite local charity — lots of them are happy to take your no longer needed clothes and household items!
E-mail your results (with photos) throughout the summer — I would love to share your spruce up stories in a future article!
Simplicity Meets Structure: This will be my second summer that I get to stay home with my kids and for me, that means striking a balance between a lazy summer of video games and providing some structure to their days that keeps us all sane!
This year, our family will stick with a structure — albeit a more laid-back one — that includes our family calendar and opportunities to schedule some fun summertime activities for all of us!
If you are trying to find a way to do this in your home without a mutiny from the tiny or teenage humans who share your home, I suggest the following:
• Go online and find a printable calendar for the summer months ahead.
• Print off enough copies for each family member, plus one master copy.
• Have each of your family members fill in some things that they want to do — whether it is a family camping trip, pizza nights, trip to the amusement park or swimming.
After you get everyone’s input – and see what things you have on your calendar that you are already committed to, such as job obligations, family events, sports or pre-planned trips — you can come up with a fun summer schedule and structure that will keep everyone excited to have a little structure.
Whether you are 5 years old or 55, we all feel a little better when we have some purpose to each of our days!
Having a summer structure in place — complete with a master schedule to match — will help everyone have something to look forward to each week and hopefully prevent any post summer regrets of “Oh, I wish we had found time to do A or B.”
Plan for it now and you won’t have to worry about finding time since you already budgeted your day or weekend for it!
Cheers to a summer full of sweet simplicity and even sweeter summer memories!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)