"Sweet Summertime... and the livin' is easy..." so the song goes. Yes! It is sweet, sweet summertime and we are in a whole different mindset. We've got a brief respite from schedules and to do lists. We also have a whole different mindset when it comes to things such as decluttering. However, with that said, summer is the perfect time to declutter a few things you would not normally think of any other time of the year. Taking just a few minutes to really assess the following things can make for a much more enjoyable and safe summer.
Beach Towels examine all of your beach towels, one by one. Are the edges frayed? Are they faded? Do they just generally look in bad shape? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", then consider donating them to your local animal shelter.
Luggage and Cosmetic Cases - Preparing and packing for a trip is the perfect time to take a close look at your luggage. Are the edges frayed? Are there small holes from rolling or airline travel that could potentially become a bigger hole during your travel? Are the wheels broken? Are the zippers intact? Does the handle work? For cosmetic cases, also look at zippers to assess the functionality. Is the inside dirty or sticky from a previous trip? Do you have too many large cases? Too many small cases? Are they regulated for carry on travel?
Sunscreen and Bug Spray - Did you know that sunscreen has an expiration date??? It does!!! Now, is the time to check that! You certainly want to enjoy your time at the pool, beach, lake, or theme park not nursing a horrible sunburn. I won't even get started on the dangers of not protecting your skin from the sun, simply because this blog post isn't about that. But PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN!! Some bug sprays also have expiration dates, so be sure to check for them. Also, take a look at the ingredients, are they ones that fall in line with what you are and are not willing to use. If they are not, now is the time to research and purchase new. Protecting yourself from mosquitoes is another important thing to do this summer.
Beach Chairs and Beach Toys - For beach chairs, open them up. Sit in them. How do they feel? Are the arms in intact? Are the seat and back intact? Can you sit in and stand up from it easily? Now is the time to really think back to the last time you used the chair. If it wasn't comfortable then, it most likely won't be comfortable on your upcoming trip. Beach-time is a time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Purging now through beach toys, before you hit the white sands for a fun day, will possible save some tears later. Making sure the handles on sand buckets and shovels aren't broken will help aid you in building the most magnificent sand castle ever. Likewise, if you are an empty nester like me, you no longer need beach toys. We've not used our beach toys in over 10 years so it was time to toss them.
Coolers - If you are like my family, we have a cooler of every size, shape, and color. Coolers are one of those things that just seem to accumulate quickly in my house. One of the reasons coolers accumulate so quickly is because we tend to buy new ones every year. Maybe you're rushing out to a picnic and don't have time to find and clean the ones you already have, so you run into Target or Walmart and just grab another one. Or maybe it's because your old one doesn't keep things cold, or it leaks, or the lid won't shut, or the wheel is broken, etc. etc. etc. The problem isn't that we buy new ones, the problem is that we don't throw out the old ones that no longer function as they should. Instead, we put them back in storage or the garage and tell ourselves we will deal with it later. Notice I keep saying "WE" here? Yes! I'm guilty as charged.
Camping Supplies and Ballpark Chairs - My family is not a camping family, but I have friends that are. So many supplies are needed for a camping trip. As you start packing up for that trip, assess each thing you pack. Do you use it? Does it work? Does that tent leak? If there are supplies you bought for camping because they were the latest, greatest, coolest, yet never use, consider donating them. My family has spent a considerable part of our lives at one ballpark or another. Ballpark chairs, we've got 'em! Just this spring, my husband and I opened each and every one of them. If they were the least bit "iffy" to sit in, we tossed them. Purging the broken chairs BEFORE you get to the ballpark for an all day tournament can save you some embarrassment. I speak from experience! (Picture me folded up like a taco in a ballpark chair here)
Lake and Pool toys - take a good look at the noodles and floaties you use in the pool and lake. Are there gouges out of the pool noodles? Do the floaties hold air? Does that beach ball actually blow up? Most importantly, really look at those life jackets! Are they the right size for the person that wears them? Has your child outgrown them? Do the buckles work? Safety is the most important thing!!
If you notice with each of the listed items to declutter, the common theme is an ACTION. I tell clients all the time that if they are just not sure about something, take action. Roll that luggage through your house. Sit in that chair. Blow up that beach ball. Use that cooler. If anything is broken, you have too many or is in general unsafe... TOSS IT! Here's to a happy, cool and SAFE summer!