Everyone wants to be outside enjoying summer, but all play and no work makes for a huge mess. And a crazy mommy, too.

The key to surviving the summer without being stuck indoors is to create a few simple summer systems.

1. Toy Lock Out

As in, try a toy closet or put most of the toys in an place where they can’t get them out. In the summer, we have outside toys, books and basic art supplies. If there is a rainy spell, we will bring out one item, but otherwise kids are to go outside or read. Better yet, do both :).

Doing this will make a whole house pick up 10 minutes. Seriously.

2. Self Service Swimming

Now that my kids are finally big enough to do things for themselves, I’m making swimming a self service affair.

Swim Bags

For trips to the beach (or pool), the kids are required to carry their own bags. Those freebie backpacks work great for holding towels, goggles, snacks, water, and your clothes when you get there. If they want beach chairs or toys, they must carry them or the can’t have them.

Post-Swim System

Whether we swim at home or away, we have a system for dealing with swimwear (and other wet items). They go straight in the washer. Even the two year old can put his in with help. You can even have them take your towels & run it.

I like to do the laundry right away so that we have clean swimsuits & towels ready for the next jaunt. If you prefer to do laundry another time, you can make your system to hang items on the clothesline outside or other designated area. Then do it. every. single. time.

Time saved?  Hours if you aren’t looking for clean towels & swimsuits on your way out the door 🙂

6 simple summer systems

3. Go Bags

Yours may look different based on the ages of your kids, but we have a park go bag & a picnic kit. Our park bag contains diapers/wipes, a simple first aid kit, and a towel to wipe down wet playground equipment. Our picnic kit varies slightly by year, but has most of these contents.

Time saved — 10 minutes per park date.

4. Summer Stock Up

Before the summer starts, I usually go through the bathroom closet and check expiration dates. Once that is done, I take an inventory of essentials for the things we may need this summer. This would include things like:

  • Sunblock
  • Sun burn relief
  • Bug spray
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Benadryl
  • Pain reliever
  • First aid cream
  • Bandages

Whether you use natural or store bought products, chances are you will use many of these over the summer months.

Time saved.  At least an hour.  Have you ever had a “quick stop” at a store for real?

5. Summer Staples

The last thing I want to do on a beautiful day is go to the store. Our local Meijer’s needs to be investigated for temporal anomalies. I swear I could walk in the door, turn around and walk out and 3 hours have passed.

Auto-ship = best friend.

While this is true for any time of year for me, if you’ve never tried it, this would be a great time to try it. I use Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program for things like toilet paper, dishwasher tabs, and various other pantry staples like granola bars or applesauce pouches that we use while on the go. ePantry is my go to source for green cleaning. I get cleaners, detergent, hand soap & bar soap that way. (You get $10 off your first order if you click on the link above.)

By using auto-ship, I can really cut down on the amount of time spent shopping during summer.

It depends how much you buy but the time savings can be huge.

6. Summer Routines

Finally, create an enjoyable summer routine. I am a huge fan of letting kids “be bored.” Because of this, I limit our outside fun to 1 or 2 days a week.

I also hate being pestered about when we are going to do this, that & the other so the kids know that Monday we clean up from the weekend, Tuesday is Library day and Friday is shopping day.



These are six summer systems we have in place so that we get things done AND have the opportunity to take advantage of summer fun, too. None of these are our master, but more of a guide. In fact, many times, I will check the weather forecast for the week and juggle to days to take advantage of good/bad weather and write the changes to our normal schedule on the fridge, so everyone knows the tentative plan.

Do you have a system that helps you take advantage of summer fun? I’d love to hear about it!

Jen S.

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