It’s late May. Although temperatures in my part of the world are still on the cooler side, summer is definitely on the way. I just spent springtime doing a vigorous 30-day declutter. Now I’m starting to get excited for sunbathing, grilling, and beer gardens this summer. First though, I have some things to tackle around home to get organised for summer.
Whether you live in a rental flat or own your own condo or home, take advantage of the milder weather to get things shipshape! This way you can really enjoy some downtime when the hot weather kicks in. After all, you don’t want to be stressed out over chores, maintenance appointments, and clutter when everyone else is hitting the beach, countryside, and pool.
I tend to bucket my summer household chores into task areas. You can tick these off of a to-do list per each completed area. Or, you can bounce around the list and do things when you have time to fit them in. Regardless of whether you live alone or have a family, it makes sense to tackle a few things indoors and outdoors to get your place organised for the summer, including some basic appliance and clothing checks, cleaning outdoor equipment, and plant care. Let’s get cracking while the temperatures are still mild!
Schedule Maintenance Work
If you are a tenant, lucky you! You can skip this section as your landlord will be taking care of any summertime or annual maintenance.
Most of the condo and home owners amongst you though are going to want to get on the horn pronto if you haven’t yet locked in dates with your service contractors for garden, rooftop, pool and yard maintenance, chimney sweeping, HVAV servicing, window washing and the like. Summer is a busy season for all of these professionals, so the sooner you book, the better. It’s a good idea to set a reminder to yourself in your diary to contact them every year early on. That way you’ll be sure to get your service appointments by the summer.
Contractor Cheat Sheet
- Fireplace: call the chimney sweeper. A regular chimney sweep is legally required in some places, so check with your local municipality on what exactly you need to do, and by when.
- HVAV: have furnace, AC and heating system serviced. In particular, if you had any hiccups during the previous heating period you’ll want to have things ready to go without a hitch next autumn/winter. If you have central air conditioning, have a service technician check the thermostat, airflow, electric sequence and terminals, and ensure there are no refrigerant leaks. Staying on top of your regular HVAV maintenance schedule can save you a significant amount of money. Bunged up systems need more power, do not run efficiently and wreak havoc on the environment. Plus they can lead to carbon monoxide leaks and that’s something you definitely do not want. Especially in the middle of the winter heating period.
- Gardener: even if you love doing the gardening yourself, it’s a good idea to have an expert assess the health of your trees once annually. This, too, can save you a lot of money and trouble in the long term. Excavating a dead tree is pricey! Of course, you can also ask your gardener to take care of everything for you, including any lawn mowing if you have an actual plot of land.
- Glass: make an appointment with the window washer before he’s booked out for the summer! Washing windows in the glaring heat of high summer is no fun.
- Single-family home owners might need to add the following to their list:
- Pool service: book routine schedule for summer months
- Thatcher: annual rooftop inspection
- Landscaper: schedule summertime lawn mowing
I live atop a multi-tenant building and can thus only speak from the condo or home owners’ association perspective. If you own a single-family unit and do not belong to an HOA, then I suspect your list of to-dos to outsource to contractors is likely going to be a bit longer. I’d love to hear from you if that’s the case, just out of curiosity. Please consider dropping a comment below about what country you live in, and what your summer checklist looks like for all of this maintenance stuff!
Let’s move on to a relatively easy item to tick off the summer chore list: the closet. We’re not concerned here with a major clear-out, or with creating a capsule wardrobe, or even with organising. This pre-summer check is simply about making sure we have what we need for the warmer months ahead.
In particular, if your country or region permits travel again post-lockdown and you’ve made some holiday plans, make sure to sort through your summer wardrobe ahead of time. Declutter what no longer fits, and make a note of any replacement garments you might need to shop for. At the very minimum, you’ll want to try on your bikini and shorts. Check what fits, and make sure your beach and patio towels are also good to go.
Follow Up on Springtime Decluttering
Going hand-in-hand with the above closet task, now is also a good time to make sure you’re continuing any momentum you might have gained during a springtime declutter. If you did a big household clear-out like I did, you might still have some items to re-sell. During the summer months, continue to renew any listings for items in your local classifieds, on eBay or Vinted, or wherever you tend to re-sell. Set a deadline for yourself to have the items gone.
If you find that certain things are just not moving, you’ll want to either go down in price or donate them. Check out my previous post on getting rid of stuff for tips on choosing charities to donate to!
Get Organised for Summer Outdoors
If you have some outdoor space, it’s high time to get it ready for the warmer season if haven’t done so yet. From power-washing the patio and oiling teak furniture, to cleaning up the garden shed, here’s everything you should look at doing outside for summer.
Clean Drains and Gutters
Drains and gutters are often overlooked when getting things organised for the summer, but it’s important to pay them some attention. From the autumn through spring, they get full of leaves, weeds, and dirt, which can lead to clogging. Clearing them out can help prevent water damage. On balconies, patios and rooftops terraces in particular, you definitely do not want stinky puddles of water building up.
Get Yo’ Power Wash Game On
I’ll be honest: I love pressure washing. It’s fun. Fulfilling. Instant gratification. Dirt: adieu! I have a relatively large patio and I use this power washer from Kärcher with a surface cleaner attachment. There are many other models out there though, and if you have a larger space to clean, or want to use it on your home’s façade, your outdoor fire pit, or on your car, there are definitely more powerful models available than mine.
Whichever model you choose, you can use a pressure washer to clean any polypropylene outdoor furniture (see below), window or door ledges on the exterior, pathways and patio pavers. It’s literally a blast. If you’re on the fence about investing in one, I recommend renting one for the weekend from your local DIY superstore and just trying it out. Definitely make sure you’re using the appropriate attachments though. You don’t want to have a go at your car’s lacquer with a pavement brush!
Garage & Shed Tidying
If you have a garage or shed, it’s also a good idea to get it organised for the summer months. Put away your wintertime tools and bring your summer gear like hedge clippers, fertiliser, pool nets and the like to the forefront where they’re in easy reach. Now’s also the time to bring out any outdoor furniture and sunshades you had stored in the shed or garage.
Clean and Treat Outdoor Furnishings
Do you love the look of wood outdoor furniture? Teak in particular is an all-time favourite, and rightfully so. It’s durable and gorgeous, and suits many different decor styles. To get the most out of your outdoor wood furniture, you should treat it every year. Clean the furniture with soapy water once you’ve taken it out of its winter storage, and let it dry. Then apply an oil or wood treatment. Check the type of wood you’re dealing with, and make sure you’re using a suitable product. If you have any doubts, do a test first on a small surface not visible, such as a corner underneath the seat of a chair. Wait a day and see if you’re happy with the result.
If you’re treating new outdoor furnishings for the very first time, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and adhere to the drying times in between applications, because you’ll most likely be applying more than one treatment that first time out of the box. You can find a variety of teak, Danish, and linseed oils online.
Wicker furniture for porches and balconies needs special care, and you should avoid any abrasive, harsh treatments. Use a hoover or handheld vacuum to get rid of any dust, and then wash with mild soapy water. Make sure the furniture can dry well. Excessive water will cause wicker furniture to develop mildew.
Outdoor furniture or sunshades made of metal should also be washed with a mild soapy solution, and patted dry. Check for any rust. If you spot any, lightly sand them with sandpaper. Then apply a bit of primer, let it dry, and touch up the area with all-weather paint suitable for metal surfaces. WD40 can be used on any gliding parts that need oiling.
PVC and Polypropylene
I have to admit that after having had different pieces of teak, metal, glass and wicker patio furniture over the years, polypropylene is hands down my favourite material. It looks more modern and serves as a natural extension of my contemporary interior. Plus it’s super easy to care for. I leave it outside all year round and it doesn’t need any special storage storage solutions. In addition, it’s lightweight so it’s really easy to rearrange all by myself or bundle up when a hurricane is on the way.
For deep cleaning at the start of the season, I give my polypropylene furniture a once over with the power washer. Then, over the course of the summer, I keep it dirt-free with a soft brush from Gardena that simply attaches to the garden hose. It really couldn’t be easier to care for!
Clean Your Grill Station and Inspect Outdoor Storage Units
As the mercury begins to rise and summer approaches, it’s essential not to overlook your outdoor cooking station when you get organised for summer. The grill, often the life and soul of summer gatherings, needs to be primed and ready for your inaugural summertime cookout, evoking the classic flavors of the season.
To start the process, focus on cleaning your grill thoroughly. You can find numerous step-by-step instructions available online to guide you through the process, depending on your specific grill type. Whether it’s a gas grill, a charcoal grill, or even an electric grill, each has unique cleaning needs and methods. The process generally involves removing and cleaning the grates, wiping down the inside, and making sure all the components are functioning correctly.
Alongside the grill itself, it’s just as crucial to give attention to the surrounding area – the grill station or BBQ cart if you have one. Years of grilling can accumulate grease and grime in the overlooked corners of your station. A comprehensive scrubbing not only maintains cleanliness but also adds an aesthetic appeal to your outdoor cooking space, making it a more inviting spot for your guests.
Once your grill and its surroundings are sparkling clean, turn your attention to the protective grill cover that braved the harsh winter months. Carefully inspect it for any signs of damage. Look out for rips, tears, or any potential leaks that might have occurred due to the unforgiving winter elements. Before packing it away for the sunnier season, make sure it is clean and dry to prevent any mould or mildew growth. If the cover shows signs of significant wear and tear, consider ordering a new one to ensure your grill remains protected when the cooler months roll back around.
Now is also the perfect time to inspect any storage units you have on the balcony, patio or terrace. Cushion boxes and small tool sheds: are they still waterproof and dry inside? Give their exterior a wash down with the pressure washer when you’re cleaning the outdoor furniture, and get rid of any cushions that have developed mildew over the winter.
Smart shopper tip: If you you do need to replace any outdoor storage units due to weathering, leakiness or age, I recommend waiting until September. Once the summer season winds down, you can namely find these items at a sensational 50-70% discount!
Back indoors again, May/June is a good time to review the winter staples in your pantry. Use up anything that is expiring soon, and dispose of any goods which expired over the winter/spring. Keep in mind that you’ll usually be eating lighter in the summertime, so you’ll likely want simpler foods in your pantry or cupboard such as olives, anchovies, nuts and seeds, as opposed to wintertime staples like dark chocolate, red wines, and tinned goulash.
Don’t neglect all your little (or big) green buddies indoors just because you’re spending more time outdoors! They still need your love and attention during the summer, too. May is still a perfectly fine time to do any re-potting, re-staking, topping up of soil, and fertilisation of houseplants.
Remember to keep all your plants watered on a regular basis over the summer, especially if it gets hot in your region. If you’re going on holiday for more than a week, ask a friend or neighbour to pop in and water them while you’re gone. (They can empty your letterbox, too, while you’re away!)
Pro tip: your houseplants will love you forever if you let them enjoy an occasional summer thunderstorm outdoors. Blitz and donner rolling in? Set your green friends on the balcony or patio for them to partake. They love the sudden humidity and natural light shower, plus it cleans their leaves.
Irregular Household Chores
Depending on how much progress you made with your spring cleaning, you might still have a few random tasks left on your to-do list to get your home organised for the summer. Some of these chores are things you might only do once yearly, and some are likely already on your list of heavy rotation for once monthly or quarterly. Here’s what I have on my list to get organised for the summer:
- Dust and wash baseboards
- Wipe light switches and doorknobs
- Deep clean rugs
- Rotate and/or flip the mattress
- Remove scuffs from walls (I like to use magic erasers for this)
- Dust ceiling fans
- Dust lampshades and light fixtures
- Wash windows
- Wipe down doors and cabinet fronts
- Scrub or powerwash floors of balcony, terrace, porch, patio, deck
- Swap out any heavy winter bedding for lighter summer bedding; wash winter bedding before storing
- Wash blankets and sofa throws
- Defrost freezer and make room for popsicles!
- Wash curtains
- Dust blinds and shutters
As a final box to tick on the summertime household organisation checklist, I don’t want to leave out household appliances. Do a walk-through of your place if you’re not sure off the top of your head what you have. I don’t have an awful lot of appliances myself, but this is what my appliance cheat sheet for summer looks like:
- Ceiling fan: set to summer mode (so cool air is pushed downward, as opposed to winter mode which pulls cool air upward)
- Clothes dryer: clean out vents
- Washing machine: clean out main filter and detergent compartments
- Ventilators: fetch from basement and make sure they’re clean and working
- Rooftop filters: if they’re loud and whistling, it’s a sign they’re dirty and need to be cleaned
- Garden watering: turn on mains, hook up hoses
- Dishwasher: clean filter, rubber seals, and rims
- Oven: deep clean
- Dehumidifiers/humidifiers: clean filters
How Do You Get Organised for Summer?
Whew, that was a lot. Remember though, you don’t have to do it all in one day. You can use the above checklists as a rough guide from spring into summer.
What’s on your list of household tasks for this summer? I’m a huge fan of doing regular bursts of decluttering and tidying. But it also feels really good to get these seasonal chores out of the way. Leave a comment if you have any tips, or if I missed something on my list!