Living

Keep clean and carry on with summertime living

Assigning a tote to each of the children will keep those niggling big and little items contained.
Assigning a tote to each of the children will keep those niggling big and little items contained.

From bugs to sand and dirt sneaking in via flip-flops and furry paws, hot weather can throw even the neatest home for a loop.

Here are some expert cleaning methods and organizing tips to help you keep calm and enjoy summer.

CLEAR THE VIEWS

Bare windows feel fresh and let in more light. Now’s the perfect time to launder heavy drapes and store them until fall.

GIVE SEATING THE SLIP

Leather and wool stick to skin when it’s hot; plus, stronger sunlight can fade them faster. Use crisp, machine-washable cotton or linen slipcovers on sofas and chairs.

ROLL UP RUGS

Wood floors feel cool underfoot and don’t trap dirt, sand or grass, says Ruth Soukup, author of “Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind & Soul” (Zondervan, 2016). And speedy pass with an industrial-size dust mop will keep them gleaming.

KEEP THE OUTSIDE OUT

If you store a soft-bristled brush and dustpan by the door your family uses most, you can whisk up debris before it invades. They’re also handy for brushing down outdoor items, like beach chairs, before putting them away.

GATHER EVERYONE’S GEAR

Personalized go-totes assign a home for summer strays, says Dana K. White, author of “How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind” (Thomas Nelson, 2016).

“When goggles come back from the pool, they stay in the bag, not on the floor,” White says.

Pack totes with essentials — a water bottle, sunscreen or leashes — so everyone has what they need to grab when they dash out the door.

Source: L.L.Bean Custom Boat and Tote bags, in Natural, from $40 each, llbean.com.

TIP: Avoid a flip-flop pileup with a smallish basket for them, says Marissa Hagmeyer, co-owner of the Neat Method organizing service. “That way, it won’t become a catchall for everything that enters your house.”

SET A STYLISH TRAP

Banish bugs naturally — and in an attractive way.

To capture fruit flies, decant leftover wine or soda (or  1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 cup water) into a vase, then add a teaspoon of dish soap, says Melissa Maker, author of “Clean My Space” (Avery, 2017). “It reduces the surface tension so flies sink.”

Fashion a cone from parchment and set the vase on the countertop. To repel mosquitoes, Soukup adds lemon or citronella essential oil to a diffuser.

LET NATURE PITCH IN

A moisture‑resistant rack lets wet towels air out so mildew doesn’t stand a chance, Hagmeyer says. (A retractable clothesline works, too.) Also, swap terrycloth towels with faster-drying Turkish hammam ones.

Sources: Pottery Barn Outdoor Shower collapsible towel rack, $129, potterybarn.com. The Turkish Towel Company peshtemal (fouta) towels, in Gray and Beige, $36 each, turkishtowelcompany.com.

SEQUESTER BAD SMELLS

Half-eaten burgers and hot dogs can’t easily be composted — and they don’t smell as irresistible as they do on the grill. A heavy-duty, hands-free kitchen bin minimizes odors and trips to the curb.

Source: Rubbermaid Commercial Defenders trash can, from $130, homedepot.com.

MAKE IT RAIN

An outdoor shower can be more than a pipe dream. The only equipment you need to install a spa-worthy eucalyptus-wood version is a screwdriver, a spigot and a garden hose.

True, the water won’t be hot, but a cool rinse in your own back yard is practical, refreshing and a sure way to keep dirt where it belongs.

Source: Wildon Home Noah freestanding outdoor shower, $347, wayfair.com

Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

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