Just a Thought, Storage & Organization & Hacks

Survive Summer with These Helpful Hints

Summer is here! It’s time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. I’ve gathered together some handy dandy ideas that will help you get some of those chores out of the way so you can do just that.

Grilling Outdoors


I love grilling outside. Something about the flavor of the food, it’s so flavorful! This is one home cooling tip most homeowners can get behind. When temperatures soar, step outside and grill your meals as opposed to using the oven, which can raise the temperature of your home considerably. From pizza to roast beef, there are numerous ways to cook a meal on the grill—so get outside and experiment with the very best meal options summer has to offer!

2 Chores in 1


Before I mow, I usually go around and pick up fallen twigs and other debris. Inevitably, I miss some and have to stop and pick it up. To solve the problem, I attached a wastebasket to my mower. Now when wrappers, cans and sticks suddenly appear, I can stuff them into my basket and keep moving.— Jared Reiners

Mosquito Control



Having accessible water sources around your home will draw in mosquitoes. Why? Because mosquitoes actually lay their eggs in standing or slow moving water. By cutting these water sources, you are cutting the number of mosquitoes laying eggs around your home—and in return, having fewer mosquitoes around the house in general.

Now water can accumulate around your home easier than you think. Some of the biggest culprits of water sources include unused tires, cans, pools and pool covers. Any plastic containers or ceramic pots for planting that are empty and collect water should be removed. Make sure to clean out your gutters as much as possible, and always keep an eye out for water build up around the house. Bird baths are also an easy target for mosquitoes!

Maintain  A/C Unit


Even if you’ve got a built-in air conditioner, it may not be working at capacity if it hasn’t been maintained every season.

  • Change/Check your air filter in your furnace. It traps dirt, pollen, dust and other particles during both cooling season and heating season.
  • HVAC systems are complex and should be serviced at least once a year

 Best DIY Gnat Trap


Tired of the annoying gnats around your home? Gather a few small jars and pour in 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and whirl in a few drops of liquid dish soap. With the lids off, place the jars wherever you see the most gnats. The gnats will be drawn to the smell of the apple cider, but once they land in the mixture, the soap makes it difficult for them to escape. These non-toxic traps work like a dream. I set them out one night and the next morning, all the gnats were in the jars!

Weed Bucket


Photo Family Handyman

Remember not to throw away those plastic pots from your potted plants. With a rope handle attached, they make great weed buckets to carry with you as you tend the flower beds or vegetable garden.

Heavy Duty String Lights


Isn’t that fireplace gorgeous! If you want to host the ultimate backyard barbecue, then you’ll surely plan for guests to stay past sunset. In that case, hang up some heavy-duty string lights for a festive look that will keep the party going.

Mowing More Comfortable


My mower is now a pleasure to use thanks to the pipe insulation taped to the handle. I used to get numb hands and blisters (we have a big yard!) from the bare metal handle. Make sure the insulation doesn’t interfere with your auto-shutoff bar, if you have one.

Clean Your Gutters


If you did not get your gutters cleaned in spring, be sure to get this essential task checked off your list as soon as possible. Leaf- and debris-clogged gutters can lead to leaks and siding damage with summer storms.

 Oil from Lemon Eucalyptus


No, it’s not a myth! The oil from lemon eucalyptus is actually recommended by multiple government sources as an insect repellent (including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention). It doesn’t just have to be DEET! If you’re looking for a more natural remedy for how to keep mosquitoes away, this oil will do the trick.

Close Your Blinds


If you have windows that receive direct sunlight at any part of the day, you’ll benefit from keeping the blinds closed or curtains drawn for at least the sunniest part of the day. For rooms on lower floors, try turning your blinds upwards to prevent rays (and heat) from sneaking through.

Shop Vac Use


I love my shop vac. I use it all the time in the garage for cleanups. But did you know it also makes a great air pump?  Just pop the top off a plastic squeeze bottle and fit the top to your vacuum’s hose. You may have to use duct tape. Once the top is secured to the hose, attach the hose to your vacuum’s exhaust port. It’ll blow up your inflatables in no time. To deflate, attach the hose to the vacuum port and suck the air out.

Trees and Foliage



Did you know that planting shade trees and foliage around your home can help stop heat from seeping in through the windows and roof—and the result is pretty too! The cost of planting will certainly pay off in a few seasons.

Hack for Large Umbrella Stand


This movable umbrella is  a DIY fabulous deck idea . If you need a stand for your large shade umbrella for your patio. Purchase a large resin flowerpot and filled it about a third full with concrete. While the concrete was wet, insert a short length of PVC pipe that was just slightly larger in diameter than the umbrella pole. Then you cover the bottom of the pipe with duct tape so it wouldn’t fill with concrete. Then drill a few drainage holes above the concrete, filled the pot with potting soil and planted some shade-loving plants. You now have a windproof umbrella stand and a beautiful pot of flowers in one! I always keep one of these by the pool near the steps. It shades the pool steps and provides a shaded area for my grand daughter to play!

Inflatable Island


If you have friends and family who spends lots of time in the pool, this is lots of fun! Everyone can get in on the fun with this inflatable island. It fits up to eight people or 650 pounds. Lay back and relax or use the openings to swim through. “Teens had so much fun playing with this on the lake,” said one buyer. “They floated in it, wrestled on it, played whack-a-mole, even paddled it across the lake and back.”

Installing Screen Doors


If you use them, now is the time to take down the storm doors and put up screen doors to let the summer breezes pour in. Be sure to inspect screens carefully, patching holes as needed – even a tiny hole can be enough to let in a mosquito.

Saw Dust Filter Fan


For all you diy’ers and handyman out there, here is one I use in my garage/workshop.My garage of course doesn’t have air conditioning, and it gets pretty hot in there when I’m working.  I attached a furnace air filter to the back of the fan using hook-and-loop fasteners. This made a such a big difference! Don’t use a super-high-performance filter, as it could cause the fan to have to work too hard.

Install a mini split


Popular in Europe, a mini-split air conditioner is a mix between a built-in unit and a wall unit, providing whisper quiet operation, and a small footprint so it won’t detract from your decor. A mini-split system can be mounted anywhere and is an economical alternative for ductless home. Mini-split AC systems don’t require duct work and can be run to one or more rooms. Their small size, quiet operation and individual zoning let you cool only the room you’re using, which can save energy and money.



Remember when I told you TP rolls stuffed with lint from your dryer makes great fire starters? Well so do your wine corks! Fill a mason jar with wine corks and rubbing alcohol, and let the corks soak. The corks will burn ok in a couple days, but for best results, soak them for a week. Be sure the corks are natural, not synthetic.

The Rice Pack

HANDYHINTS_07232018_018If you’ve never heard of a rice pack, you’re in for a treat. A rice pack can be used as both a heating and a cooling pack. Second, rice is readily available and cheap. Who doesn’t have a bag of rice in the kitchen? Third, rice is flexible—so you can shape the pack around whatever body part is hurting.Making a rice pack couldn’t be simpler; just fill a sock with uncooked rice. Tie the sock shut with a piece of string, or just knot the sock itself.For cold therapy, freeze the cooling pack for at least two hours. Then, place it between bed sheets to stay cool while you sleep or use it to sooth a headache.

Keep Your Interior Doors Open


Keeping your interior doors open, particularly if you don’t have an open-concept living space. This simple step is critical to helping your home stay cool. By keeping doors open, you are allowing air to circulate freely, which eliminates hot spots and regulates the temperature within your home.

Use Muffin Tins for Condiments

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The next time you host a barbecue or a patio party, pull out a muffin tin. Rather than using it to bake muffins (although you can do this later too), fill the cups with various condiments and barbecue toppings. This way your condiments are easy to access and your buffet lines will move along quickly. You will also dramatically increase your table space, and cut down on the separate serving bowls to clean up afterward.

Install a Ceiling Fan 


It’s no secret that moving air makes you feel cooler. By installing ceiling fans, you can create air movement that will help you cool down while avoiding the cost of dropping the thermostat temperature any further. In summer months, run your ceiling fan counterclockwise to draw the cooler air upwards. Additionally, you can run your bathroom exhaust fans during the summer months which will help expel the rising warm air to the exterior of your home.

Installing a Programmable Thermostat


f you’re looking to save some money with your home updates, installing a programmable thermostat is the way to go. Programmable thermostats let you set and control the temperature in your home based on your schedule, which prevents energy use when you aren’t home. This can result in as much as a 5 to 20 percent decrease in your homes energy bills.

Getting Rid Of Bugs


Bugs will come, and you need to be prepared for them. Tiki torches can ward away a few insects and may help deter the wasps. For mosquito’s, the only natural solution that has been proven to work is extract of eucalyptus, which you can sometimes find in candle or spray form (you definitely don’t want chemicals like deet around your food). It’s also helpful to keep the backyard barbecue away from any standing water.

Open Those Windows


Now’s the time to take advantage of those breezy summer evenings and open your windows at night. Opening your windows will promote a cross-breeze that will help you and your family sleep better. The cooler air will circulate all night, allowing you to start fresh with a cool home in the morning.

Giving Your Ducts a Boost


With its easy plug-in-and-power-on design, installing a duct booster fan can draw more cool air into a room that’s too hot. Simply choose the design that’s right for you, place it in the register vent and plug it in for a quick and easy way to cool your space.


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Shade Shelter


When I built this pergola for an outdoor seating area, I found there was still too much sun shining through. So I purchased a sun shade cloth and cut it in half. I zigzagged the shade in and out of every two rafters. On each end I attached shade cloth with clip fasteners and a nail. I was so proud of myself when I came up with this easy idea. I had quotes into hundreds of dollars doing it professionally. It worked out really great. The shade cloth lets the air through without 95% of the sun. My hummer loved swinging from the chandelier all day long!

Apply Heat Reducing Film

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With roughly 30% of ambient heat coming into your home through the windows, one quick and easy fix to keep your home cool is to apply a reflective, heat-reducing window film to regulate the temperature.

Remember when I came up with my window privacy idea last year for my window? It was such an inexpensive idea and it works and is so easy to use.

I wish you all a fabulous Summer!

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22 thoughts on “Survive Summer with These Helpful Hints”

  1. Great tips to face summer and enjoy it. The picture of mosquitos is excellent. Did you take the photograph and how did you manage to capture the bug?


  2. Those are some fsbulous tips Kelley. I’m definitely going to be trying the eucalyptus oil and the rice sock. We’re currently experiencing a bit of a heatwave and, without air conditioning, doing everything I can to keep the flat (and me) cool.


      1. We get hot, mostly dry heat in the summer too, usually in the high double figures but a few days throughout the summer where it reaches triples. I love the heat though so it suits me. Perfect for me is around 90°f.


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