8 Items You Should Declutter Before Your First Beach (or Lake, or Pool) Trip

published Jun 5, 2021
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Summertime, for me, means fun in the water. From my yearly childhood trips to a mountain lake in California to today’s setup of a plastic tarp my husband bought to make a Slip ‘n Slide in our backyard for the kids (with many beach days and spring days and pool days in between), water is a big part of each of my summers, and I bet it is of yours, too.

Of course, enjoying the water comes with a lot of gear. Some folks might have larger watercraft like kayaks or paddleboards, but everyone has their usual things that keep themselves and their loved ones safe and happy — the kinds of things you toss in the beach bag or keep in your drawer of seasonal clothing.

Before you trek to the community pool or the lake or your water body of choice this year, take some time sort through your gear. That way, you won’t be rifling through seven sunscreens to find the face stick that doesn’t have scratchy sand on it while your kid is bouncing from foot to foot, eager to cannonball into the deep end.

Here are some items to consider decluttering before you head out to the water this year:

Credit: Bhakpong

Expired Sunscreen

Don’t take chances with sun protection. Sunscreens are required to last for three years. Anything past its expiration date or anything that seems separated or “off” in some way, toss it.

Some of Your Swimwear

Take out all your suits and take stock of your collection. Get rid of suits that are stretched out or worn from years of sun, surf, and chlorine. Donate anything that no longer fits. Keep only what you feel good in.

Extra Flip-Flops or Sandals

You probably reach for the same pair or two every time you head out to the water. Do you really need the rest?

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Extra Towels

Beach towel collections can get out of control. Keep two for each member of the family, max, so you can have one that’s being washed and one that’s available to use (or extras for guests).

Rusty Beach Chairs

These are a nemesis of mine. If you don’t carefully rinse off your beach chairs after a day at the beach, expect rust eventually. And if you don’t pay attention, you could sit on it and end up staining your swimsuit or coverup. Get rid of them before they cause a problem.

Extra Coolers

There are so many sizes and so many kinds! It’s easy to end up with a surprisingly robust collection before you know it. Again, the best way to see what you have, what you truly need — and what you don’t — is to pull everything out and take stock. Include those cooler bags and ice packs in your assessment!

Some of Your Beach Toys

You probably have a pretty good idea of what gets used most. In our family, it’s the simple shovels and buckets. Keep a few of the very best molds and sifters and tools and consider donating the rest. Definitely toss anything that’s broken or cracked so no one gets hurt. Having fewer beach toys will simplify cleanup and make beach days even more fun.

Miscellaneous Gear

This means goggles, bags, hats, pool toys, floats, water shoes, floats, wet bags, etc. Knowing exactly what you have tells you what you don’t need to buy more of this year. Get rid of anything that hasn’t been used in a year or two, doesn’t fit, or is broken.