Well, it’s official. The 1st Day of Summer is here. America’s birthday party (July 4th) is right around the corner. So it’s time to celebrate all that our summer has to offer; using these helpful and handy tips:
Put It On the Calendar – As the days get longer, more and more options for fun activities present themselves. And it can be a bit overwhelming to try and fit it all into a busy schedule. So go ahead and get out the calendar and schedule the top activities to ensure that you won’t miss doing them. Then, as summer progresses, you can fill the days (and evenings) with other fun activities and simple home maintenance to-do items.
Set Up a “Game” Room – Even though much of the summer involves outdoor activities (swimming, biking/hiking, parks, etc.), Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate. So if the original plan was to ride bikes around the local nature trails, but it’s pouring down rain, what do you do? Go ahead and get prepared for those rainy days now by transforming the formal dining room into a fun place to spend the afternoon. You can move the dining table over to one side and pile a card table high with boxes of games and puzzles. That way, if the weather changes your plans, you don’t have to search for things to do inside.
Hang Up – No matter where you see one, you think about relaxing. I’m talking about a hammock. Whether it’s strung up between 2 trees in the shade, on the back porch or even in the living room, there’s just something about a hammock that quietly whispers…”It’s summer. Please take it easy.” Many local sporting goods stores offer travel versions of this napping essential for under $40. And since you won’t be sleeping in it all night, dozing off to the sound of chirping birds for a few hours is just what you need to stay energized for the neighbor’s BBQ later that evening.
Filthy Fans and Filters – So people need some type of excuse to crawl into the hammock for a quick nap. So here’s a quick and easy home maintenance chore that perfect to do during the heat of the day. Over the winter, it’s likely that you have been recirculating much of the same air throughout your HVAC system. And over time, much of the dust and pet dander has accumulated on filters and fan blades. So clean or replace the filters in your home’s HVAC system (including any window units that you may have). And while you’re at it, go ahead and wipe the dust from each blade of the ceiling fans in your home. Just be careful when climbing the ladder and be sure that the ceiling fan is off.
Safety First – Summer is the perfect time to test all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home. And if needed, go ahead and use this time to replace batteries as needed. This is also a great time to educate (again) everyone in the home, as to where the fire extinguishers are located—giving you an opportunity to also check the expiration dates of the equipment as well.
Washing the Washer – A tropical trip to the beach or an outing to the local playground, can both bring back some unwanted sand. And this tiny gritty nuisance may actually do damage to your washing machine. Sand from wet towels, swimsuits and socks can build up in the washing machine—causing the washing cycle to become less effective. So to keep the appliance working properly, be sure to wipe away any sand from inside the drum and the rubber seal after each use. You may also run the wash cycle occasionally using a cup of white vinegar or a product especially designed for this type of cleaning. Finally, we all know that it is recommended to clean lint from the dryer vent screen after each use/cycle. But did you know that using scented dryer sheets can actually form a waxy build-up that should also be cleaned with a little extra effort. Simply remove the screen and wash it using warm soapy water and an old toothbrush. NOTE: Many modern dryers also use moisture sensors rather than ordinary timed cycles, and residue from dryer sheets can coat the sensors and interfere with their ability to function properly. So wiping off the sensor itself with a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol can rectify this problem.
Provide Water – Our family pets and especially small children are both easily susceptible to overheating. So be sure that fresh water is readily available and within reach at all times. And if you find yourself participating in outdoor activities, remember that consistent hydration is needed. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, it is recommended that people drink at least 16-20 ounces of fluid prior to outdoor activity. And while you are outside, you should consume 6-12 ounces of fluid for every 1-15 minutes you are outside. Also be aware that some beverages are better than others at hydration. For example, water is great for low or moderate intensity activities; such as walking. But if you are doing more strenuous activities, you may want to consider some type of sports drink—that will not only replace fluids, but also chemicals like sodium and potassium. Finally, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, teas, and colas, are not recommended for optimal hydration. These fluids tend to pull water from the body and promote dehydration
Donate the Harvest – Backyard gardening is not only fun and educational for the family; it can also provide additional variety to the dinner table. But sometimes the harvest is greater than expected. So what do you do with the extra baskets of tomatoes, zucchini and okra? Once you’ve shared with neighbors, you may want to donate the excess fruits and vegetables to a local food pantry—where the produce can be put to good use. Simply check Ample Harvest to find a local pantry that accepts such donations.