It’s summertime and the living is easy—or rather it will be with these clever summer hacks.
Here are our all-time favorite tips and tricks for entertaining, keeping the bugs away, summer fun, and staying cool and comfortable in the summertime heat.
#1: Cupcake liners for popsicles: Insert the stick of a popsicle or ice pop through the center of a cupcake liner and voila! There are no drips and no mess. The liner catches it all so your hands stay clean and dry. (Keep some extra cupcake liners for the tops of open drink cans to keep the bugs out!)
#2: Quick ice-cold drinks: Forgot to chill the beer, wine, or soda? No worries. Wrap a wet paper towel around the bottle or can and put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Have more time? Fill some water bottles halfway with water and lay them on their side in the freezer. When they’re frozen, fill them up with your beverage of choice. It will stay chilled for hours.
#3. Condiment carrier: Don’t throw away that cardboard six-pack carrier! Repurpose it to carry your mustard, ketchup, napkins, and fixings. Reinforce it and make it fancier by adding some contact paper to the sides and bottom.
#4. Unstick marshmallows: If you’ve bought a bag of marshmallows only to discover they’re stuck together, you’re not alone. Luckily, you can make them “s’mores ready” with this trick. Add at least 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the bag and shake it. It will absorb the moisture and unstick your marshmallows. Store them in a container for easy use.
#5. Clean your grill with an onion: Cut a raw onion in half. Stick a BBQ fork into the rounded part and rub the cut side along the grill grates. The onion’s juices will create steam and help to remove the bits of food residue.
BONUS TIP: Instead of putting out a whole spread to entertain your guests, try some simple Jarcuterie!
Keeping the bugs away
#6. Coffee grounds prevent ants: Coffee’s high nitrogen content actually burns bugs. Sprinkle some coffee grounds outside entrances to your home or other places where ants might enter. They won’t walk across it.
#7. A fruity bug repellent: Limes or lemons and cloves make a great natural mosquito repellent as well as a great table decoration. They also work for wasps. Simply slice the lime or lemon in half and press a few whole cloves into the inside. The scent will help to keep mosquitos away from your table, too.
#8. Burn sage or rosemary on your fire: The scent of sage and rosemary helps keep flying bugs of all sorts away. Buy a bundle of one or the other from your local grocery store. Both herbs will catch fire easily. You can put them on your fire pit or even on your barbecue.
#9. Debug your car: Summer often means sticky, smashed bugs on your car’s windshield and grille. Give your car a spritz of nonstick cooking spray and wipe them off easily.
#10: Take the plunge: If you’re searching for a place to hold the citronella candles that keep bugs away, look no further than your local plumbing store. A toilet plunger is the perfect candle holder. Simply put the plunger handle in the ground, and the candle in the rubber top. Use a new plunger, and then you can keep it for its usual use later.
Summer fun hacks
#11. Applique your kiddie pool: Kiddie pools can be slippery. Make them easier to navigate for little feet with bathtub appliques. Add some to the sides, too, for places to grip. Your kids can even help you to apply them!
#12. Camping trick for toilet paper: Bring an empty coffee can container along for your next camping trip. It’s the perfect size to store toilet paper and keep it dry, in high humidity or when it rains. It works for canoe and boat trips too.
#13. Brush off your beach chairs: Use a large clean and dry paintbrush to remove sand from your beach chairs, toys, and even the kids! Do it before you get in the car and you’ll have a lot less to clean up.
#14. Firefly collection hack: Kids love to catch fireflies. Instead of piercing holes into the metal lid of a jar, cut a 6-inch square from old pantyhose. Attach it with a rubber band. This will let plenty of air in and out, and be easier when it’s time to let the bugs go.
#15. Makeup blender sponge for sunscreen: Use a makeup blender sponge to apply sunscreen to young faces. This will help for a more even application and keep sunscreen out of their eyes.
Keeping your cool
#16. Change direction for your ceiling fan: Make sure your fan’s blades are rotating counterclockwise in warmer months. This will help push cooler air down.
#17. Make your own dehumidifier: Since lower humidity feels cooler, a dehumidifier will allow you to reduce the use of your air conditioner, thus reducing your cooling costs. Though not as effective as a dehumidifier, you can try DIY versions:
- A basket or can of charcoal briquettes can absorb humidity in a room. Replace it every 2-3 months.
- Rock salt or kitty litter also absorbs moisture in the air. Take two similarly size buckets. Drill holes in the bottom of one. Stack the drilled bucket inside the other bucket – making sure to leave a gap. You may wish to put an object in between the buckets to create that space. Fill the top-drilled bucket with salt or kitty litter. Then, check it every few days. Water will collect in the bottom bucket. Empty as needed.
#18. Freeze your pillow: Bunch up your pillow. Put it in a plastic bag and place it in your freezer for 10 minutes. You can also save some space and just freeze your pillowcase. Keep some extra pillowcases in the freezer if you want to switch them out.
#19. Window dressing: No air conditioning? Hang a damp sheet in front of an open window. The hot air will evaporate the water in the sheet and the result is a cooling breeze.
#20. Trade-in your ice pack for a rice pack: Ice packs are great but condensation can create dampness where you may not want it. Instead, fill a clean sock with rice and put it in the freezer. Bring it out whenever you need a cold pack that’s moldable to your body.
Have a favorite summer hack that’s not listed here? Share it with us!
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