In Search of a Clutter-Free Summer

Memorial Day — the unofficial start of summer— has come and gone. If you’re anything like us at The Organizing Blog, you probably used the long weekend to plant some flowers, take a bike ride, visit with friends and/or have a cookout. Fine pursuits!

But do you know what can make one’s enjoyment of those pursuits (and most others) even better? #Organization! A #clutter-free environment knows no season — and it can provide you with the #clarity you need to truly live in the moment.

Think about it: A cluttered space demands attention. Maybe you waste a lot of time looking for things among the stacks of papers, piles of laundry and dusty gewgaws. Or maybe wrangling all that #stuff leaves you with little down time.

Summer is a great time to get those things under control. With good weather and a few hours each week, you can conquer that #clutter — and enjoy all of the seasons to come.

Start with the #garage. Has that #space attracted a lot of stuff that doesn’t have a home elsewhere ? Go through it and ask yourself why you hide #junk there and if you’ll ever really need those things again. Weed out what you don’t have a use for and set it aside.

Along the way, fine-tune your storage of the things that do have a purpose — even if that purpose is occasional, such as holiday decorations. Sort “like” items into labeled bins and boxes that you can find and access easily without a lot of hunting. Shelve or stack them thoughtfully, and you’ll be creating new space!

Next, do the same for the basement. Organizing your below-ground space likely will have the added benefit of helping you keep cool while you work. Set aside the things for which you don’t have a purpose or can’t find a place, and put them in boxes and bags.

See that growing pile of #junk? Slap some price tags on those things and have a quick #garage or #yard #sale. Or click though to ClothingDonations.org to arrange a #free #donation #pickup. You’ll be #helping the nation’s #veterans and be ready to enjoy the rest of the summer #clutter-free!

Clear Your Closets for Colder Weather

With the temperatures falling and the days getting shorter, you’ve probably started getting out a few cold-weather garments that you haven’t seen for several months. It’s a great time to #clean out your #closet and decide what you will and won’t be wearing this fall and winter.

Start by taking everything out of the closet, Cleaning Is Caring suggests. Wipe the walls, doors and baseboards, and dust the ceiling, shelves and light fixtures. Empty and clean any bins, too; finally, vacuum or mop the floor.

Now the #decluttering and #organizing can begin! Separate all of your #clothing into piles designated #keep, #donate or #trash. Be honest with yourself — if you haven’t been that size for years or the garment is just too shabby to wear again, get rid of it. It’s only taking up space.

You’ll have to say goodbye to summer, The Spruce says, washing or dry cleaning the warm-weather wear you decide to keep before storing it in a location other than your main closet. Vacuum-seal bags and plastic storage bins are ideal for this.

Now that you’ve thinned the herd, you can put the things you do plan to wear back in your closet in a more #organized fashion. Houzz suggests folding most casual knits and putting them on shelves, while hanging dresses, pants, button-down shirts and outerwear. Smaller items such as socks and jewelry can go in drawers, bins and organizers.

If you notice an item or two that you would like to add to your #fall #wardrobe, feel free to buy it! But take that heap of also-rans that didn’t make it back into your closet or storage, bag it up and contact ClothingDonations.org for a #free #donation #pickup.

You’ll be able to find the things you want to wear faster when you need them, reducing #stress, and keep your #closet consistently more #clean and #organized. Bonus? #Donating to ClothingDonations.org helps #veterans. So you’ll look good and feel good, too!

School May Be in Session, But Summer Isn’t Over

This week, schools throughout the country are welcoming students back for another year. A few kids may not be ready to let the carefree, lazy days of the seasonal break go, of course, and may complain loudly that “summer’s over.”

#Summer is far from over, though, especially for anyone who isn’t in school. The start of school may be a harbinger of cooler climes to come, but there’s still a month to go before the vernal equinox — and plenty of warm weather left to enjoy.

Now’s the time to kick that summer fun into high gear! Have you gotten in any of your favorite outdoor activities, such as camping, fishing, boating, kayaking or swimming? Have you taken the opportunity to picnic in a park or cook out?

Maybe you’re more indoorsy — or a temporary heat “dome” is encouraging you to stay inside. Beat the heat at an indoor matinee. Or take on a household project such as #decluttering your wardrobe or #redecorating a room, Apartment Therapy suggests.

There’s still time to schedule an end-of-summer trip, too. September and October are beautiful months to visit many northern climates and see the leaves change color, and it’s still hot enough in the south and the tropics to swim and sunbathe.

If you opt to #organize and #declutter, there’s still time to schedule and stage a #garage sale. Set aside your castoff clothing and household goods and tag them. Pick a weekend and post signage directing shoppers to your door; you’ll have extra pocket money in no time.

If that sounds like too much work for your precious summer days, you can always schedule a free #donation #pickup at ClothingDonations.org to effortlessly relieve yourself of that #extra #stuff while supporting valuable #veterans programs.

Whatever you choose, there’s a lot of summer left to do it. Even the Labor Day holiday isn’t the limit — and if you have kids, they’ll be at school, leaving you much of the day to concentrate on personal and professional needs. Start planning what’s left of summer now!

Enjoying the Bounty of a Summer Garden

For many people, there’s nothing like growing your own food. It’s healthy, cost-effective, #sustainable and above all, delicious! And if you followed some of The Organizing Blog’s previous #gardening tips, you’re probably drowning in fresh summer produce right now.

What to do with all of those garden-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, melons, peaches and other delicacies is the question. If you’re anything like us, you planted with abandon eight to 10 weeks ago, and now must do whatever you can to make the most of that fresh produce.

One way is to share some of that bounty with friends, family and neighbors who don’t have the same amount or variety of produce. Whether they have the space or the ambition to grow their own fresh food or not, nobody is going to turn their nose up at a ripe heirloom tomato.

Another way to take advantage of summer’s bounty is to try a new recipe (or several). Base your meal plan on whatever produce you have in abundance, and you may wind up discovering a dish that you can revisit again even in the off-season.

Speaking of the off-season, there are plenty of ways to keep and store some of that produce for cloudier and colder days. Too many tomatoes? Make and freeze some marinara for a lasagna. Got lots of corn? Cut it off the cob and freeze the kernels in bagged portions for anytime use.

Many summer fruits and vegetables can be processed, portioned and frozen quickly for later use including peaches, plums, watermelon and peppers. Got bumper crop of basil? Make pesto ice cubes and pull one out any time you need to flavor a pasta or meat dish.

Freezing summer produce can make it last up to six months, but if you really want to put things up like the pioneers, try your hand at home canning. It’s simpler than it sounds, and you can make tons of sauces, pickles and jams that you can tap into for months — or give as gifts.

Even if you didn’t grow your own fruits and vegetables this year, don’t let summer’s bounty go to waste. Visit a local farmers market to get some of the freshest, healthiest foods you’ll taste all year. (And get enough to share!)

Keep Your Cookout Sustainable

Make a casual #cookout more #sustainable by using accessories such as compostable paper plates and bamboo cutlery and reusable linen or cotton napkins, Martha Stewart suggests. Another idea to make the event more #ecofriendly is to serve low-impact foodstuffs such as chicken, fish and vegetables rather than beef, says Move for Hunger, and use a gas grill to reduce carbon emissions. Save leftovers to avoid food waste, make recycling easy for guests by labeling waste bins and compost food scraps to enrich your soil at a later date. #CasualCookout