Whatever summer adventures you have planned—the beach, pool, campground, or even your own backyard—these cool summer tips, tricks, hacks, and DIYs will bring a smile to your face and perhaps even a sigh of relief. There’s still plenty of time to get out there and do summer like a champ!
Pack a Fitted Sheet
Take a fitted bed sheet with you to the beach. Do this first thing once you locate your spot. Spread out the sheet and turn up the corners and place something heavy in each one (the cooler, food basket, etc.) This will keep it spread out and all of your gear (and you, too) corralled and free of sand without having to make sure you’re lying on a small towel.
Fold an old vinyl tablecloth in half and sew up the sides to make a cover for your outdoor barbecue grill.
Natural mosquito repellant
Here’s a charming way to persuade mosquitos to stay away from the picnic table. Cut a lemon or lime in half then press whole cloves into the cut surface of each half. Place the studded citrus around the food. Mosquitos hate that spicy fragrance, but you and your guests won’t. What’s more, this makes for a pretty addition to the table.
You’ll never worry about getting your campfire started when you pack a few of these nifty absolutely free fire-starters: Tightly stuff the empty cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper with dryer lint! That’s it. Dryer lint catches fire easily and the cardboard roll will keep it lit long enough to start the firewood, too.
Use mesh laundry bags or even a plastic mesh onion sack for gathering shells at the beach. They’re strong, waterproof, and they sift out most of the sand by themselves. Rinse the bag and its contents under an outdoor faucet and you won’t get a speck of sand in the car or house.
Stick your smartphone, iPad, CD player, or other electronics inside a zip-type plastic bag and close it up. This will protect your phone from sunscreen, water, sand, and all manner of other outdoor hazards. Now, whenever that device lands in an environment that’s probably not great for phones, it will be safe. The touchscreen works well even when it’s in the bag.
Keep a container of baby powder in your beach bag. Before the kids get back into the car or walk into the house, sprinkle a bit on their legs and feet. Now just a quick rubdown will leave all of that sand at the beach with none of it in the car or house.
Sew a coordinating washcloth to a beach towel along three sides and use hook and loop (like Velcro®) tape fasteners to close the fourth. Now you and your kids have an instant pocket for keys, coins or suntan lotion.
Will It Float?
Attach a cork to your key ring when you go boating, or to any other lightweight item you’d rather not sink to the bottom of the lake should you accidentally drop it in. Answer: Yes, corks float.
Crystal-Free Ice Cream
This is not only a summer hack but one you’ll use year-round. Before you put that container of ice cream into the freezer, put the whole thing with the lid securely in place into a gallon-size ziplock freezer bag and zip it shut. For some unknown reason, even if the container is only partially full, it will not form crystals. No freezer burn!
Cold as Ice Water Bottles
Tired of trying to melt ice cubes to get them to fit into your water bottle before heading outdoors? Do this: Fill your bottle partway with water the night before. Put the bottle in the freezer, but instead of standing up, lay it on its side. Now you’ll have all the ice you need inside but plenty of room to add fresh water to fill it up.
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