As I write this column, I have just biked home from a lunch eaten al fresco. The windows are open and my new fountain is trickling outside. The weather forecast says sunny for the next 10 days. I do believe summer is finally on its way!
This warm weather took a long time coming, and we may feel as though we skipped spring and morphed straight to summer. Nevertheless, it is time to prepare for the season ahead. Let’s discuss some good places to start:
First of all, tuck away all cold weather items. Snow boots, heavy coats and scarfs can be stored for now. Minimize the contents of the mudroom, as all you will need now are light sweaters, sun hats, flip flops and sunscreen. Pull down your collection of beach towels and keep them readily available. Locate your favorite low-backed chairs, as the concerts are already beginning.
When it comes to your clothes closet, I suggest taking a few hours to try on all your warm weather clothing and determine what can be let go. If you didn’t wear it last year, it doesn’t fit, it’s outdated or has simply seen better days, consign, donate, recycle or toss. This will open up space so that you can easily get to the items you really like to wear. Arrange summer clothes in the front, and tuck winter clothes in the back (or in another closet, if that is an option). I have one storage box under the bed into which I rotate out-of-season accessories.
Lighten and freshen up your home by removing heavy blankets, pillows, drapes and rugs. This is a good time to clean and put them away until next fall. It is also a great time to live with less, or at least swap like items for something more summer-like. To me, summer means clean, crisp colors, lighter weight materials and ease of living. Think nautical or bright hues, clear glass objects, grasses and clear surfaces, for example.
Put some energy into creating an outdoor living space, as well. Whether you have a cafe table and chairs on your small balcony, a fully furnished eating and living area adjacent to your outdoor kitchen or something in-between, chances are the outdoors will be calling to you. Now is the time to arrange and clean off all available pieces, and add what you can to make it as comfortable as possible. We found a gently used umbrella for our patio table at a local consignment shop, and I was given a hammock for Mother’s Day … a couple of new items and it feels like a brand-new year has begun.
The yard can probably benefit from some extra attention, so pull those weeds before the ground is rock hard. Add texture, color and energy to your outdoor spaces with plants and flowers, either in the ground or in pots. Gather citronella candles, bug wipes or spray and wasp or bee traps, as needed.
I keep a large basket of lightweight throws near the back door, to lengthen enjoyment of those long summer nights. Other options include hanging sun shades, installing a fan, stringing white lights, investing in an outdoor heater, cleaning off the barbecue, and collecting plasticware and some lawn toys for kids of all ages.
Enjoy this time in-between, and be prepared for the hot summer days ahead!