You’ll cast the year’s smallest noontime shadow when the summer solstice arrives at 11:54 EDT on Friday, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make big plans. Use the sun’s extended presence to get recalibrate yourself toward life goals, Vogue suggests. “Energetically, it’s a great time for a check-in,” says healer Emily Mikaelah. “Take the time to ask yourself, ‘What progress has been made on my dreams?’ and ‘Have I been doing my part to make them come into fruition?’ The fruit is ripening soon, and we want to pick it off the branch when it’s at its peak.”
Friday, June 21 marks this year’s summer #solstice — the longest day of 2019. Every location north of the equator worldwide will have at least 12 hours of daylight, and a few U.S. cities — in Alaska, naturally — will see no sunset whatsoever. Celebrate the sun by making sun tea, planting a garden or making a solstice feast of fresh (yellow) summer ingredients such as lemons and summer squash, WikiHow suggests. As the sun finally sets, light a candle or bonfire and keep it lit until the sun rises again, as the ancient pagans once did to honor of the gifts of dark and light.
School’s out (for the summer)! And if you have kids, that means you’ll be looking for something to keep them busy for six or eight hours on most weekdays. Summer camp, a family vacation and other diversions are great options, but they can’t fill every one of those hours fast enough. This summer, get your kids involved in a good #decluttering.
You can already hear the collective groan you might hear as you suggest such a chore. But if you organize and incentivize the task, you might find that it gets done faster and more completely — and then everyone can really enjoy the summer fun.
Set a goal; the Making Lemonade blog suggests a summertime target of reducing stuff by one-third. Kids tend to accumulate lots of toys, clothing and other junk that they outgrow quickly, leading to overstuffed closets and drawers, so extra stuff should be easy to weed out. Put each of them in in charge of choosing what to keep.
Find a rainy day or quiet weekend to have everyone pitch in and declutter their personal spaces, or simply set a deadline. As an incentive, put a garage or yard sale on the calendar; anything that the kids are able to declutter and sell will mean extra money in their pockets — money they can spend on whatever they wish.
Toys can present an especially challenging decluttering task, says Simply Well Balanced. Sort them into categories — building toys, stuffed animals, craft supplies, etc. — and ask your child to keep only a limited number of favorites. Those few items will go back to the closets and shelves, and the rest will be bagged and boxed for sale or #donation. Anything broken or unusable can go directly into the trash.
After you hold your sale and distribute the proceeds, you can box up the leftover clothing, toys and other household items and schedule a ClothingDonations.org pickup. A driver will stop by on the appointed day, load up your stuff and leave a donation receipt for tax purposes. That lightly used merchandise will then be resold to fund veterans’ programs.
This, in itself, can be a lesson in personal responsibility for younger children, decluttering coach Gari Julius Weilbacher told WHYY. “It’s wonderful to teach kids from a young age about making meaningful donations. Involving kids in packing up the books, toys and clothes that they are no longer using can engage them in the process.”
Water is generally the answer to keeping cool in the summertime — the more, the better, whether you’re drinking it or soaking in it. When it’s hot out, there’s nothing like a splash in in the pool, lake or ocean to really cool off, the Barefoot Nomad says. If all else fails, you can pick up a cheap kiddie pool to soak your feet, or take a run through the sprinkler. Evaporation helps you keep cool, too, so find a spray bottle to mist yourself with when the temps become unbearable. Add botanicals such as lavender or cucumber slices and keep it cold in the fridge — instead of sweaty, you’ll feel like you’ve gone to the spa!
Air conditioning is a boon when summer’s hot, humid weather becomes unbearable and you need to escape the sun for the most scorching parts of the day. But if you don’t have central air or a window unit (and the local movie theater or coffee shop is closed for the night), you can try making a homemade air conditioner using a fan and a Styrofoam cooler full of ice. LifeHacker also suggests turning window fans toward the outdoors to draw the heat out of your home at night and putting your sheets in the freezer before bed. Also, avoid cooking anything on the stove or in the oven; it’s cookout season anyway!