Simplify summer chores; maximize fun

With the sun shining way past dinnertime, we find our families taking advantage of the extra light-filled hours to walk the dog, play ball, visit the park and even lounge longer at the pool.

Summer gives us additional time for the fun things in life, and for most of us that does not include household chores. While school may be out for the summer, the dust bunnies, smelly socks and mounds of dishes do not go on vacation. Here are a few tips for the family to balance the “have tos” with the “want tos” of summer.

Have one laundry basket for the entire house.

This will help you stay on top of the laundry, since multiple baskets can add up fast with dirty clothes that require prolonged hours to wash, dry, fold and put away. One load a day is easier to fit into a hectic schedule versus a marathon washing session.

Clear your kitchen sink of dirty dishes before bedtime.

This provides you an earlier start the next morning, without the guilt. Look for meals that require fewer utensils to eat (such as sandwiches, kabobs and hand-held desserts), and use disposable plates and cups. Wedges of watermelon satisfy a sweet tooth while saving a plate and fork (which require washing). Hands can be washed with the garden hose, while playing outside catching lightning bugs.

Stay on top of the paper clutter by throwing away junk mail immediately.

Make it a habit to process your mail daily in the same location. Use the iRAFT method – Immediate, Read, Action, File, Toss. Keep a garbage can and shredder nearby.

Ask for help.

When the family works together on age-appropriate tasks, you create a sense of teamwork with the reward of more time for summer fun.

It is fascinating how food, clothes and even household chores change with the seasons. In the summer, we look to simplify everything around us, from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the household tasks we manage. No one wants to clean out their garage in this heat; that is saved for the cooler, shorter days of fall.

Enjoy the longer days of sunshine because before you know it, we will be packing away the swimsuits and be back to the structure of more intense chores like that garage we have been putting off.