10 tips for organizing your summer stuff

Summer is right around the corner. That means it’s time for the slew of warm-weather toys, tools, and sundries that have been stashed away for winter to come out of hiding and re-enter the regular rotation of “stuff” in your home. Before the season is in full swing, try setting up a few organizational stations to keep these additional items in check. Here are ten easy ideas for keeping everything from flip-flops to swimwear and BBQ tools contained and at the ready.

Set Up a Bucket for Flip Flops

Flip-flops are the designated shoes of summer in our households. The only problem, they end up in big piles by the front door, the back door, or in the kitchen. Find a large bin or tin bucket, label it with the words “Flip-Flops” with paint or a sticker and place it by the door most used by family members. Then whenever anyone comes inside, they know exactly where to put them. Or marvelous Hollie has created a free sticker printable (pictured above) to use on a colorful bucket so you can create your own in minutes.

Organize Some Ready Made Activity Bags

A lot of summer is spent on the run – to the pool, to the beach, to piano lessons, to your vacation destination. Knowing that, you can prepare yourself in advance. Pack a few small zippered activity bags (or plastic sandwich bags) and store them in your coat closet or in a basket or bureau near the main entrance. One activity bag could have bug repellant and sunscreen, another goggles and swim caps. You could have one for piano books or art supplies and still another for small travel games. Once you’ve got them assembled, use these cute free printables from BHG to label them.

Put Some Grill Wranglers in Place

In our homes the center of the kitchen shifts outside, to the grill, during the summer months. If you’re not careful, scrub brushes, grill baskets, and grill spatulas linger around outside in a jumble and other items get shoved in kitchen drawers that are often too small to contain them. Get ahead of the mess. At a minimum, set up a tall tin bucket to hold grill tools or hang some hooks that you use to keep grill tools organized. In addition, if you have the space, use a metal sorter to organize larger items like pizza stones and cutting boards. {image via: Martha Stewart}

Make a Bin to Contain Sunscreen/Bug Spray

Sunscreen and bug spray are hot commodities during the summer. But if you don’t have an organizational plan for them, you will likely end up buying many more containers than you really need. Keep a bottle of each in a bag near the front door and another pair in the trunk of your car. We’re fans of the old-fashioned liquid as it stretches farther than the sprays, especially the aerosol sprays. Yes, it’s messier going on, but is it really that much harder to use than the sprays? We think not.

Set One Big Bag for Swimwear and fresh towels

There’s nothing like a big, canvas bag when it comes to swimsuits and pool gear. Keep a large one in your coat closet. Put all dry bathing suits in the bag so you don’t have to go searching for them when you need them. In addition, keep two or three towels in there as well. That way, you can just grab it and go when you’re ready to go for a dip. {image & bag via: Etsy}

(Pre) Organize Your Car Trunk

Since it’s summer and outside is the place to be…set up your car in advance to maximize the fun you have outdoors. Keep one or two folding chairs along with a canvas bin in the back. Inside the canvas bin keep a bottle of sunscreen and bug spray, a mesh bag with some small sand toys, and a towel. {image & more trunk organizing tips via: Brassy Apple}

Create a Bin For Outside Toys

Toys that get played with outside often are caked with sand and dirt and maybe even have a bug or two hiding in them. That’s hardly the profile of a toy that you want to come inside your house. Keep them outside where they belong. Set up an outside toy station in your garage or on your porch and encourage your children to put their toys away in that each evening when they are done playing with them. Sarah uses a giant $0.50 blue plastic tote bag from Ikea to contain her children’s toys and Alicia uses a mesh bag for her daughter’s outdoor items. These systems have saved both of them lots of cleaning time.

Set Up a Healthy Snack Station in the Fridge

If you have children, you know that during the summer months, they’re home more and therefore more likely to raid the fridge when feeling peckish. Help them make healthier choices by having a snack box organized on a shelf that’s eye-level for them. Keep cut fruits and veggies, cheese sticks, yogurt, and maybe a small sandwich or two. Then let them know that whenever they are hungry, they can always grab something from the snack bin in the fridge. Who knows, this could be a summer organizational solution that you just keep using right through the fall, winter, and spring too. {image via: ohdeeoh}

Hang Some Double Duty Outdoor Lighting

There’s nothing more delightful than lounging outside in your yard during summer evenings…except for the mosquitoes. Before the hot weather gets here, invest in some hanging candle holders designed to be used outdoors along with some citronella tealight candles. Encircle the area you are most likely to be sitting in with the candle holders – then each night bring out the candles and light them to keep the mosquitoes away. You can also use citronella sticks too. {image & tutorial via Chez Beeper Bebe}

Set Up a Potting Table

If you have a garden or even a series of potted plants, you should have at least a small potting table to organize you gardening tools and to serve as a staging area for your plants. It doesn’t have to be big to be effective. Just make sure it has either a small drawer or a lattice back to contain your tools and gloves and ideally has two shelves in addition to a main countertop for holding and organizing plant pots. {image & table plans via: Sunset Magazine}

What’s your biggest summer clutter headache? Do you have any good tricks for containing it? Please share! We’d love to hear.