Easy Summer Organizing Projects

There is something to the idea of the lazy, hazy days of summer. It’s a time for vacations, going to the beach, having barbeques, enjoying nature and the warm weather….

But that doesn’t mean you can’t also do a little organizing!

These projects will save you time, reduce stress and help maximize your space. All in just an hour or so. When you’re done, grab a glass of lemonade or a beer, head outside, and enjoy the season and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve made your corner of the world a little more orderly.

Get organized for grilling

If your favorite part of summer is cooking over an open fire, create a grab-and-go grill kit to make summer meals super easy. Fill a galvanized metal bucket or any sturdy container that has a handle with all the tools you need to be grill master – long handled spatula, tongs, fork, gloves or oven mitt, thermometer, grill basket, skewers, etc. Don’t forget a grill brush to make clean up easier.

Contain condiments in a small bin which you can bring outside when it’s time to eat.

If summer salads – or ordering in – are more your taste, organize the implements, ingredients and information you need to make meal prep easy.

Simplify packing for summer trips

Don’t let the stress of packing get your vacation off to a bad start. Using a list to help you pack makes it easy to get ready to hit the road. Create a master packing list in a word processing document that includes the essentials that you need to bring along for any trip – tops, pants, shoes, toothbrush, cell phone charger, etc.

A week or so before your departure, edit the document to include the specific items you’ll need for a particular trip, based on how long you’ll be away and what you’ll be doing.

Creating a list when you have time to think about what you need to pack will reduce stress and ensure that you don’t forget things. There’s a brain-based reason for this: when emotions run high, our ability to think clearly actually decreases.

Want a copy of my master packing list to use as a starting point? Just email me.

Make packing even easier with this next project.

Create a travel toiletry kit

If you scramble before each trip to remember to pack all the daily essentials that you’ll need when you’re away, this will save you lots of time and immeasurable stress.

Go into the bathroom and gather all the products and implements that you absolutely need when leave home, from toothbrush to deodorant to your favorite cleanser. You’re going to recreate your medicine cabinet for travel.

Make a list of all the items you’ll need to get duplicates of (toothbrush); to purchase in travel size (deodorant); or get travel size bottles to fill with your faves. Invest in an extra nail clipper, tweezers, and similar items, and add a few Band Aids, zip lock bags and other things that make travel easier.

One of my favorite new finds is this travel toothbrush holder that also acts as a stand– it’s amazing how happy this $2 item makes me when I’m away.

If there are expensive items you don’t want to duplicate (make-up, contact lenses), make a checklist of them and keep the list in your travel kit so that you remember to toss those items into your bag before you go.

Once you know what you need to bring along, shop for a great travel case that will hold all your essentials.

Organize kids’ school work and art

With the end of the school year, the deluge of new items comes to a merciful halt. Gather everything that each child has brought home. In less than an hour per kid you can sort through the body of work and select the true keepers. I recommend involving older children in the process so you can start teaching them that your space isn’t infinite and that you can’t keep everything.

Take a photo of anything that’s too big or fragile to store (or that contains materials that might be tempting to critters, such as macaroni).

Under-the-bed storage boxes make great temporary storage bins for this stuff. In another year, you’ll probably find that you can let go of more of it. Once you know what the true keepers are, you can invest in archival storage boxes.

Get real about your reading pile

If you’re like most of my clients (and me, to be honest), you’ve got stacks of magazines, newspapers and books that you hope to read “some day”.

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. Take a realistic look at your stacks and bookshelves and see what you’ve amassed. What books do you really want to read in the next couple of months?

I’m determined to finally crack open The Power Broker, a 1,100+ page behemoth that’s been taking up 2 inches of shelf space for too many years.

For magazines, glance through the table of contents and rip out the articles that really interest you. Put them in your suitcase or beach bag and you’ll have a chance of reading them. Old newspapers are, well, old news. Give yourself the gift of a (fairly recent) expiration date and toss papers that are more than a couple of weeks – or days – old.

If you discover that you don’t actually want to read much of what you’ve accumulated, let it go. You can easily re-buy any book or take it out of the library if you are struck by the urge to read it. As for the articles, remember what my wise friend Paula says about them: “There won’t be a test.”

Clear your closets

When it’s 90 degrees and humid, this is the best time to sort through your winter clothes! You’ll be less likely to hold onto that big, bulky, itchy sweater that you haven’t worn in years, and you’ll be more likely to appreciate the extra space in the front hall closet that you’ll gain by giving away the old coats which you’ve been keeping “just in case”.

Get a large trash bag and see how quickly you can fill it with items you can’t imagine wearing right now. Drop it off at a thrift shop and treat yourself to an ice cream or iced coffee afterwards.

Get ready for the beach

Be prepared for spontaneous summer fun. Grab one of the large tote bags from your collection (most of my clients have at least 7 – and often many more.) Fill it with a beach towel, bathing suit, flip flops, a bottle of sunscreen, a book or something to read (see above), maybe backgammon or Boggle, and a hat. Leave it in the hall closet or in your car. You’ll be all ready when perfect beach weather hits.

Have a great summer!

Do you have ideas or questions about summer organizing? Please share them at www.facebook.com/gothamorganizers

If you’re in the New York area and would like help to easily tackle your organizing projects, please get in touch!

Would love to hear about what summer organization projects you’re working on! Drop me a line HERE and let me know.

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