Tag Archive for: summer organizing

Summer Decluttering Checklist

Summer Decluttering checklist


Summer is the time to let go of all that extra clutter that has built up during the school year. The kids are available to be extra helping hands while you bag up and donate items that you no longer need or use in your home. Declutter these items to be ready for summer fun!


Your decluttering plan

Start your Summer decluttering by setting goals and deadlines for your work. Establish which areas you will work on, when you will work, and when you want to be finished with decluttering. Having specific assignments with dates helps you stay on track and keep you accountable for editing and letting go. Start small with small spaces to declutter and small amounts of time like 30 minutes. You will keep moving forward without being overwhelmed. A simple system for sorting is to use clear garbage bags to move stuff to your car. Having a drop-off routine keeps your decluttering moving forward.


What to declutter

If the item is “good”, it can be donated. Items can be swapped online through neighborhood online groups. Define how many you want of certain items. Find a “home” to store the items for easy access and keep that category together in one spot.


  • Swim toys, suits, and goggles
  • Kids outgrown clothes
  • Books for younger kids
  • Outgrown toys


  • Food from the pantry
  • Old magazines and school books
  • Patio, lawn, and garden equipment
  • Plants
  • Nightstands
  • Technology and extra cords


  • Personal care and makeup, including sunscreen and bug spray
  • Hair accessories
  • Sunglasses
  • Summer hats and baseball caps
  • Swimwear and cover-ups
  • Travel gear and travel toiletries


Decluttering the hard stuff

Paper is the hardest stuff to declutter. Do your paper work when you are high energy!

  • Backpacks and school work that come home at the end of the school year.
    • Review your kids’ schoolwork and art projects together.
    • Together keep the best work and create a photo art book or add this to an archival bin for the year.
  • Mail and incoming papers
    • Recycle or shred advertisements
    • Set aside payments and action items


Getting started is the hardest part of decluttering. Put on an energizing playlist, grab bags for donation and get going.


To help you avoid the pitfalls of organizing, check out my ideas and those of my colleagues here.


COVID-19 (Summer) Organizing Makes Me Happy


covid-19 summer organizing

Congratulations to those of you who have been decluttering and organizing during COVID-19! Time spent decluttering has helped you feel productive, organized and calm. For those of you who have not, this transition to Summer is a great time to get started and get organized.


Every Summer, regardless of pandemic or not, we have decluttering and organizing to do. This has to do with routines of our organized lives. These routines include editing what has come in throughout the year and transitioning to the Summer season. Our lives, homes and offices require setting aside time for ongoing editing. Each seasonal transition is a good time to do this work. Most importantly, by getting back to our traditional routines, we are recreating some level of “normal” for ourselves and our homes. Here are seven traditional and one new area for us to work on for Summer Organizing.


Wardrobe Seasonal Swap

In Houston we had a longer Spring than usual. Summer heat is here! Many of us have a Summer and Winter closet. It’s time to do our seasonal switch with whites and lighter clothes. It’s a great time to edit what we did not wear, what we do not love and what has gone out of style. If your Summer items have gotten grey, underarms are stained or if you have lost your love for items, you can declutter these. Donation locations are open again so drop off a bag of these items asap.


Pantry Prep

The pandemic may have caused some chaos in your pantry. As we enter the “New Normal” phase, we are assessing what is in our pantry and how to use it up. If you have found way too many cans of green beans, donate to local food banks. Reassess what your Summer meals will be. There are lots of veggie co-ops to bring in fresh produce boxes this Summer. Re-establish your snack zone for Summer consumption. A pantry prep can help you save money and help you lose extra weight put on during our extended time at home.


Kids School Work

It has been an extremely different school year! Even so, this week papers will be coming home from school. Take an hour with your kiddo and go over school papers with them. It’s a time to reflect on the successes of the year. Determine what is precious and let go of the rest. Do the same with school papers that are from your “corona” school. Keep your precious papers organized in a bin in your kiddo’s closet.


Books, Magazines and Recipe Organizing

This Spring we have been reading more, clipping more recipes and holding our magazines to take on a trip to read. Divide up your recipes to those you have prepared, those to prepare and those that need to be tossed. Share your books with friends and place your books to read by a comfy chair. Working steadily on reading and recipes keeps you and your items up to date and uncluttered.


Summer Linen Switch

Fluff up your pillows and take off your heavy comforter because Summer is here. It’s time to switch your dark colors with whites. Assess your linen closet and let go of ripped, thread bare or stained linens. Think about how many sheet sets are needed and donate to pet shelters. (By the way, did you know that pet adoptions are at an all time high?)


Summer Routines

Routines have been rough this Spring. It’s time to initiate Summer routines to create a level of calm and sense of organization. Maybe your have not had a family meeting in a while. It’s important to host a family meeting to determine everyone’s bedtime. During your family meeting, recreate your family responsibility chart for partnering around the house on meals, laundry and cleaning. At your next meeting, discuss tech time and learning time. With the “New Normal” of COVID-19, we have the possibility to gain traction on family communication and routines.


Summer Self Care

Self care in the Summer may mean more time to sit in the sun (with sunscreen) and read magazines. Find dedicated time to regroup and refresh. Take up a new hobby or sport you have been thinking of for a while.


COVID-19 Safety

Masks and hand sanitizer are available everywhere right now. HEB, Walgreens and many other stores have these at the front of the shop. Be sure you have your stock organized and placed for easy access. Organize these items in your car, purse and bags to be readily accessible.


This year Summer Organizing may feel a bit different. Pace yourself with your organizing. We are in a marathon, not a sprint, during the pandemic. Give yourself a reward for each step you take like flowers on your kitchen counter or a bubble bath. As always, I am here to support you and cheer you on! And sometimes just sharing on social media what you have accomplished is the best reward.



How to Maximize Summer Organizing

Maximize summer organizing


Summer is often when our organizing intentions get momentum. There are fewer school responsibilities and daylight lasts longer.  Those organizing projects have been on our list for a while.  Here’s ways to tackle these projects, even before you start your organizing work.


List first

First you want to have a specific list of what you are planning to organize this summer. Capture your list as a dump first with brainstorming. All those ideas need a spot to prioritize. Your list will be the base of your project management.  The best project management assesses how much time, what resources are available, the budget and the team.  Now you are ready to determine what you will tackle.  It may not all get done this summer however you know what’s possible. If you are not sure what you want to organize, here’s ideas.



Start your list before the end of May.  Your summer may be much busier than you originally had intended. With your list prepared, as well as your vacation schedule, you can realistically get moving on these projects.



There are several ways to accomplish your summer organizing goals.


Do you like to plan specific units to accomplish your goals?

  • You review your prioritized projects and allocate manageable units of time, the budget, or team members you have to work with to your organizing.
  • The value in this method is to know your plan and work steadily to accomplish your goal.

All day project

Do you have a large block of time and know this organizing is a priority for the fall?

  • Allocate a large amount of time to accomplish decluttering and setting up systems. Allocate resources for editing and removing items in order to proceed smoothly.
  • The value in this method is that before school resumes or the fall comes, your organizing will make a major impact on your life.

Team approach

Who can be your helper in organizing?  Create your team before you start on any project. The teams can work together or in a sequence.

  • Your team might be members of your support community or a paid professional.
  • A team can work in segments, either in sequence or simultaneously.


If you need Plan B, C or D

If your summer is business than you originally thought, or your budget is less than required, or you have no team to help you, there’s options!

  • Be sure you have trash and recycling out of the way.  That’s often clogging up your system.
  • Prioritize the one most important organizing task and accomplish that. A single success builds you up!
  • Host a one hour organizing party where your team either does the 27 fling boogie (edits 27 things, places in a bag, and places in a car.
  • Keep it real with a 15 minute Reset (where for 4 time slots your team moves items back to the spaces where they are stored.)
  • If your team doesn’t exist, pick up a new team with high school or college age kids who want to earn money this summer.

No matter your list or strategy, you will be thrilled you allocated energy and time to organizing this summer!

Making the Most of Summer with Summer Organizing

summer organizing


All the signs point to summer time is here!  Our weather is warmer. Pool season has started.  Days are longer.  There are lots of ways to celebrate the arrival of fun in the sun.  Summer organizing helps you make the most of summer fun.



Start off the season organized!

  • Switch out your seasonal clothes.  It’s time to release those winter items that were not worn in the last few years.   Move your summer items into your primary closet and organize them in a way that work for you, whether its by color, sleeve length or set.  Use a bin for flip flops and organize your shoes so you can see them best.
  • Replace your winter linens with summer light weight cottons.  Swapping to lighter weight linens gives you the opportunity to clean your bed covers.  Eliminate extra decorative bed pillows and freshen up the look of your bedroom.
  • Give your pantry the once over.  During winter we cook differently.  Think of fresh new menus and ways you can start a new plan for eating.  Mark your calendar for your grocery runs that will include fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Set up outside areas.  Scrub down the patio or have it power washed.  Freshen up outdoor seating cushions and furniture.  Add in patio lighting, candles or lanterns.   Create a pool toy play bin to corral balls and floats.  Be ready for outside fun with storage designed for outside toys.
  • Get your activity bags ready to go.  Create travel or activity bags for you and your kids.  Your bag can include chargers, reading material, sunscreen, bug spray and other goodies while you watch your kids at swim team.  Your kids’ bags include whatever they need for an activity. Have one bag per activity so everything is ready to walk out the door.
  • Pick a single flower from your garden or pick up a small fragrant herb from the store.  Bringing in the smell of the outdoors is a great pick me up in the summer.


Work Life Balance

Start off summer with a plan.

  • Host a family meeting focusing on vacations, camps and time at home. Write your family’s plans on your family calendar so everyone is in the know.  Add in preparation times, when you will be packing and unpacking.  Make a list of what you need to purchase to be prepared for your outings.
  • Discuss what family time routines will be maintained or added this summer.  A little structure goes a long way during the summer.  What will be added responsibilities? What time will bedtime be?  What are ways to keep up with reading and math? Having these conversations now set the stage for summer success.  Once decided,  create a chart or online reminder system to keep your family on target.
  • Scout out additional resources for summer supervision.  Are there neighborhood teens, additional baby sitters or ways to add time with grand parents that can help you in a pinch?  You will be ready for extended meetings or other delays just in case.
  • Check out new collaboration tools that you can use to work at home.  Dropbox offers you access to your files at work from any device.  With Skype you can have a face to face conversation using your device.  LastPass keeps all your passwords accessible and organized from anywhere.  Join.me allows for screen sharing.  Evernote keeps you organized with your lists.  Just one of these tools could be a bonus for your productivity this summer.
  • Take time for real vacation and create real rejuvenation time.  According to The Energy Project,  59% of of workers are physically depleted, emotionally drained, mentally distracted, and lacking in meaning because they need time away from work.  If you are away, post an auto-response giving a heads up.  If you check email while away, keep it to a minimum.  Create space for what you love to do this summer.  Read some of the magazines or books poolside that you have collected all year.  Enjoy time for a pedicure,  exercise or cooking.  Summer is our time to play!


Best of all these summer organizing projects can be chunked down to one hour time slots.  You can enjoy the day and not be bogged down all day with organizing.  Make this your best summer ever with your summer organizing.


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Summer Organizing: On the go with or without kids (Part 2)

family organizing

Summer is around the corner! The fun of summer is our let it go attitude and our free spirit spontaneity. A little organization goes a long way to help summer fun.

1. Each child needs a specific bag for each activity they are involved in. The bag needs to be the right size to hold what is needed for that activity, but not so big they start putting a lot of extra stuff in it. There needs to be a specific place in the house where these are kept. (destination station)
2. Often-used items need duplicates. (like keep a small pair of scissors in the van)
3. Prepare a ziplock bag for each child with an emergency outfit in it. (Even older children get muddy socks or spill juice or something.) Keep in the vehicle.
4. Stock your vehicle with ziplock bag kits such as: stuff for fixing hair; sunscreen and lip balms; first aid; snacks; teeth-brushing stuff.
5. Prepare a little tub for the trunk with picnic-type supplies such as paper towels, napkins, spoons, small paper plates. So many times, we could then hit a grocery store for some healthier snacks, and saved by not doing fast food.
6. Sunglasses: For our family, it only worked to get inexpensive ones and keep duplicates. The best thing I did for myself (since I wear glasses) was to get the transition lenses so I don’t need sunglasses.

Linda B, mom of 4

As a schoolteacher, I enjoy having summers off! Even with increased flexibility in my schedule, it helps to plan for these summer months. Here’s how I do it:

I sit down with family members and compare summer calendars. Everyone has with flight/travel information, birthday plans and more!

I try to keep summer items in the back of the car so I’m ready for any swimming pool or beach days (sunscreen, towels, bathing suit, extra flip flops)!

I use summer as a time to reorganize at home. I always tackle my desk and shred old papers. I also go through all the clothes and shoes in my closet and donate to Goodwill.

I don’t over plan the summer. I like to leave some open days to fill in as the summer goes on!

Laura S.


Technology helps me keep it together “on the go”. We always hear that we are tethered to our devices, but actually devices help me NOT be tethered to my desk! Apps like “evernote” and “drop box” help me keep what I need at my fingertips. I use the calendar, alerts and alarms to let me tune into work as needed rather than 9-5. It even helps me get moving by tracking my steps and fitness. Adapting my phone to support a lifestyle that is always on the go has helped RELAX and UNTETHER from work more. I can go have fun knowing I can check in if needed remotely.

Leslie M.

Summer Organizing: Summer on the go with kids (Part 1)

summer organizing

One of the most powerful parts of social networking is connecting to bloggers through Blog Elevated. Here are some amazing ideas about summer on the go!


One of the most powerful parts of social media are the connections we make!  I asked my social media peeps what helps them get started on their spring organizing and cleaning. – See more at: https://professional-organizer.com/WordPress/2014/03/#sthash.e0BVspGw.dpuf

When you’re on the go with kids, don’t forget about all the opportunities they’re taking to learn. They’ll learn with or without you, so see what you can do to guide that learning.  Pick a shape in the world – ask your children, “How many sides does it have? How many angles?” If you have older kids, ask, “How big are each of the angles? Can you approximate in degrees? If you drew lines connecting one corner to all the others, how many triangles would you make?” And then see what kinds of questions they come up with!

Bon Crowder, M.S.

Math Mom & Education Advocate 

Twitter @mathfour

Pinterest Mathfour




If there is one thing I’ve learned with three kids, it’s to be flexible and ready for best-laid-plans to change. More than once we have taken a special trip only to have the boys say their favorite part was the cheap hotel or the breakfast at McDonalds. I’m not saying don’t make plans, but hold them loosely. Realize that all your planning efforts might be trumped by a cool playground or something you would not have expected. And if you are really planning with kids in mind, then let your kids play with the hose outside for an hour even if it was only meant to rinse their hands after a special outdoor activity you set up. I am continually surprised by the things that amuse and impress my kids and long ago abandoned that personal attachment of feeling disappointed when my ideas or plans don’t hold the same allure as something else. Be ready to sit back and watch what brings your children joy, even if it’s NOT your carefully made plans. 

Kirsten Oliphant

I have a blog and I’m not afraid to use it.



Have FOOD TO GO! Summers are a great time in the Woo household, but also extremely busy. We pack in as many outdoor activities in the short 3 months as possible. My “go to” is a bag of healthy snacks (re-stocked as needed) that I keep in the car. I fill it with Granola bars, dried and fresh fruit, water, nuts, turkey jerkey and healthy things to keep our energy up on the go. It allows us to be more spontaneous. . .quick trips to the beach to swim or fish. . .without skipping a beat!

Nicole T. Woodard, Author & Home/Food Blogger







With two teenage-ish boys in the house, I am constantly on the go running them to a friends house or maybe even the mall for a day filled of fun and game. It’s fun for me as a mom, but it can be crazy sometimes. Even though many of these trips are last minute, I try my hardest to plan ahead. By planning ahead, I can make sure that everyone is where they need to be, when they need to be there without overscheduling anything in the process. 

 Kristi Reddell, Blog Owner at MomsConfession.com

Twitter: @momsconfession

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/momsconfession

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KristiReddell/posts


Love these ladies thoughts! Thanks so much for sharing!

5 Fun Organizing Activities for Summer


summer organizing

Its just a little too hot to get too excited about organizing. But what about those fun organizing projects you have been putting off?  Here are 5 fun summer organizing projects that will make you swell with pride that they are now off your list.

  • Remember that enormous stack of magazines you have not had time to read all year? Grab a handful and hang out by the pool or beach. Be sure to eliminate them as soon as you have read through them.  Once is enough for browsing!   Drop them off at a local emergency care room for those waiting. 
  • Love your family photos but not sure how well these digital treasures are organized?  Set up categories on  your computer to start with, then begin gathering them from all the iphones, ipads, digital cameras, and facebook. You will be so thrilled to have them in one spot. Now you are ready to make a picture book too!
  • Are recipes all over in your home, papers, or office? Now is the time to gather them together.  Sit with a tall glass of tea and be realistic what you will make. Does the recipe require too many ingredients, too much time, or no one but you will eat it? Time to toss the extra recipes and keep just what you want.  Set up categories, sort and decide if a notebook or recipe box will be better to keep these.
  • Get ahead for fall by creating your family command center. This fall you will be the most organized ever by setting up a calendar, corkboard, chalkboard and wall pockets to keep your family activities organized.  Browse on http://pinterest.com/EllenDelap/family-command-centers-communication-and-organizat/ to gather ideas. Then head to your favorite HomeGoods, Target, WalMart or other shop to pick up and install all the pieces.
  • Organize a ME day. This is a day just for you to regroup, relax, and rejuvenate.  Your family has lots going on and you will need time to “put on your own oxygen mask first.”  Set aside time throughout the summer for this important and precious time.

What fun organizing activities do you have planned this summer?

Summer Organizing for Families


summer organizing

Summer time is fun time!  It’s the time we think about letting go of all the routines and the responsibilities and building lots of memories.  However, summer fun is best when there is a little organization and preparation.  With lots of fun scheduled for your family, you’ll want to get organized!

Family calendar

Family fun begins by knowing all the dates and commitments you  and your family have this summer.  Start by adding all the upcoming dates on a master month at a glance calendar.  Host a family meeting so everyone can add their dates, including holidays, camps, vacations, vacation bible school, birthdays, Father’s Day and more.  Be sure each family member has their one most important summer activity on the calendar.  Once you see the dates, now its time to set dates to prepare and pack.  It’s tempting to have back to back fun, but it can also create a lot of disorganization if your camp stuff is not gathered together or you feel frazzled when setting off on a trip.  Make a list and set a time to pack, gather together what is needed, and finalize plans.  It takes just a few minutes but is well worth your time.   With each summer activity you will  have less stress and  more fun!


Family routines

Summer is a time to set simple routines in place.  You and your kids can collaborate on technology limits, summer bedtimes and family chores.   It can be a time to start new partnerships for responsibilities such as cooking, clean up, laundry and grocery shopping.  Examples of easy routines include:

  • Lights out for everyone by 10:30 pm.
  • Each person does one load of laundry twice a week, including putting their laundry away.
  • Sunday night is family dinner night.
  • One hour of technology a day for everyone.
  • No one is left in the kitchen alone to clean up.

Be specific so everyone is on board with the routine.  Establish deadlines so everyone knows when chores should be complete.  Work together as a team on family responsibilities means chores get done quicker!

Family Organizing

Team work is a top priority for family organizing.  Think about what needs to be done as a group and schedule a day and time for you to work together.  Small projects broken down into baby steps is an easy way organize.  Some of these projects include

  • Pantry organizing (toss what is expired, group like the grocery store or by breakfast, snacks, dinner)
  • Kids clothes organizing (donate what is too small, place one category of clothes in one drawer, then label the drawer.)
  • Toy organizing (one shelf or basket per toy, then label the basket)

A parent and one child can work on these together for an hour and feel a sense of accomplishment.  If one hour is too long, set a timer for 20 minutes, three times, and you have accomplished your goal.  Set up a reward at the end of your work time to congratulate your team on their successes!

What’s on your list for family fun this summer?