The middle of the year is an optimal time to do a little planning to have a great summer ahead. Whether you've already been to the beach a few times this year or you haven't even thought about your summer plans yet, cleaning and clearing out these six areas of life and home just might be the secret to a more carefree summer.
It's not just the physical stuff that we accumulate throughout the year that can weigh us down; mental clutter can sometimes get in the way of enjoying vacation. Though you could set off on summer travel and leave your cares behind (to be greeted by them not-so-warmly when you return), you could instead buckle down a bit and wipe off a small, doable to-do-list of tasks that will leave you with less cares to run away from this summer.
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To have a more carefree and full-of-fun summer season (and rest of the year) consider doing these six things:
1. Clean out a closet
Is there nothing more metaphorical than taking a dark, cluttered, recessed part of your home and taking what you don't need out of it? This isn't about taking all of your closets from messy to catalog-ready. Who has time for that when the weather gets warm and enticing? It's about taking a closet in your home that may have gone from functional to "never open when guests are over" and making it a little less packed to the gills. Pick which ever closet makes you cringe anytime you open the door (or even just walk past it). As you clean out items to donate or throw away, visualize your home feeling lighter and cleaner.
A bonus of doing this sort of task this time of year? You might come across some items you'll be able to use for summer fun (one year I found three kites, four Frisbees and a badminton set hidden so deeply in the back of my clothes closet I had completely forgotten I stashed them there).
2. Make your bedroom feel better
You might not have the money, means or even desire to spend your entire summer in exotic hotel rooms, but the one thing hotel rooms have that your bedroom may have lost somewhere in the past six months is a good handle on a regular cleaning schedule, a pleasant feeling that greets you when you wake up and the promise of adventure for the day.
So if in the past six months you've let your bedroom become a clutter corner, take out everything but the essentials. Quickly vacuum behind the bed and dust the nightstand. Cull the pile of reading books to an essential list of titles that will bring you joy this season whether you read the bedside or beachside. Bring in some flowers, let in some sun. Lighten the spot in your home you wake up to and fall asleep in each day, even (especially) if you'll be doing some waking up somewhere else this season.
3. Clean out an important spot to you
You want to clean out an important-to-you area that's a spot you want to use more, but haven't been able to because it's gotten a little out of control. Maybe it's your home desk. Maybe it's your spice rack. Maybe it's your entryway. Again, focus not on spending the whole weekend labeling and organizing down to the inch; focus on cleaning out, getting rid of stuff, moving misplaced items to their actual home and lightening the amount of stuff you have. Focus on clearing out an area to make it feel fresher, lighter and more inviting so you feel pulled in by it.
4. Check in with life/bill/house/stuff
That utility company you keep meaning to call because the bill has been wrong the past four months? That doctor's appointment you've been avoiding making? Even if you're able to forget about these things for a little while, do you really want those thoughts creeping up on you while you're out trying to enjoy a trip or a little R&R? Compile the un-crossed off items on your daily to-do-lists that have been piling up for awhile. Since it's the weekend, you might not be able to do some of these things until Monday, but gather phone numbers, paperwork and get yourself ready to fly through some things you've been avoiding.
5. Do something that's been bugging you
Some of the above options may have been bugging you, so if you took care of them, you've taken care of this item on your carefree summer to-do list. But if there's still something left — tackle it! Maybe it's a loose doorknob. Or a sticking door. Fixing a window screen so bugs don't come in when you open it. It doesn't have to be something dramatic or time-consuming, and you don't even have to do everything. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine you're on vacation...can you think about what thing around the house might creep in as a "oh I need to get that done" thought? Try and eliminate the biggest one of those.
6. Make your home a bit more secure
If you will be traveling this summer and you are a worrier, cut that worry off now by doing a mid-year security check of your home. Checking locks, making sure the outside is well-lit, buying timers, asking neighbors to check in, maybe even getting high-tech with security — take any steps you can to make your home feel more secure so you don't worry about it as much while you're away.
The point of this post isn't to get your home and life to a (frankly, unreachable) level of perfection; the idea is to chip away at the things that might get in the way your carefree-ness this summer. Do you have to accomplish any of this in order to have a good time this summer? Nope. But cross-off some of these things and you may find your mind and body feeling a little lighter as you travel and find adventure.
Re-edited from a post originally published 6.21.2015 - TW