Oh summer. How we love your longer days, warmer weather, and laid-back attitude. What we don’t love is sand in the mess. Sand in the trunks of our car, pool toys scattered across the yard, and shoes littered everywhere you turn. So how do we find balance between care-free and the mess that comes with it?
Here are some tricks I discovered over the years that help keep the mess (somewhat) contained:
- Put a dishpan at the base of the pool ladder. This is a trick I learned from my mother. I thought it was obnoxious all the years I was growing up. Then I had kids of my own and a variety of pools, from kiddie to inflatable, and I realized she was a genius. The dishpan gets filled with clean water each day and the kids rinse their feet off on their way into the pool. This cuts down on the dirt, leaves, grass, etc. that transfers from their feet into the pool. This in turn saves you from having to continually clean the pool, or from having to empty and refill the pool as often, if it’s smaller. Cheap, easy, and fast to implement.
- Corral all the toys in a tub. The are two things you want to look for. That it’s large enough to fit all the toys and that it has handles. This way you can move it into your garage or shed if you desire, and your kids can help with the clean up. Think sandbox toys, pool toys, water guns, etc.
- Contain the stuff in your car. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time in our cars. This is especially true if you are a parent. More-so if your children are not old enough to drive themselves places. Having a trunk organizer allows you to keep summertime essentials in your car and ready to go at all times. Think sunscreen, bug spray, ziplock bags, a first aid kit, etc. I also suggest a small dust pan and brush set to help keep the sand situation under control (it’s also handy if you have a dog). What I like about this organizer is the strap/hook combination. It allows you to put the organizer either on a seat with it strapped in place around to the back of the seat, or in the truck and strapped to side hook holders. The handles allow you to remove it and take it into the house, or if you load it up with supplies you could carry it to the beach/park/etc.
- Hang up wet clothes. If you don’t have the space for an umbrella clothesline, or two trees close enough to run a traditional clothesline, consider a portable umbrella clothesline. It allows you the flexibility to hang wet clothes, such as towels and bathing suits (or your laundry if you want), and then to fold it up and take it inside when you are done. By having the clothesline available during activities when water is involved, it will keep wet clothes off the floor and out of clothes hampers where they can mildew and get smelly. Win-win.
- Get a trash barrel for your yard. You could even keep it in your garage or shed if you like, but teach everyone in the family that outdoor messes get emptied into that barrel. This cuts down on the trips in and out of your house, the number of sticky, smelly things that get emptied into the kitchen trash, and helps keep litter out of your yard.
- As for keeping shoes from being sprawled across your entry way: try a boot tray, a shoe rack, or even a half-bushel basket. No matter what you choose, kick them off at the doorway and go barefoot. After all, it is summer.
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