Whatever summer adventures you have planned—to 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!
No. 1: Pack a Fitted Sheet
Take a fitted bed sheet with you to the beach. Do this as soon as you locate your spot. Spread out the sheet, turn up the corners and place something heavy on each one (the cooler, food basket, etc.) This will keep it spread out and all of your gear—and you—corralled and free of sand without having to make sure you’re lying on a small towel.
No. 2: Barbecue Cover
Fold an old vinyl tablecloth in half and sew up the sides to make a cover for your outdoor barbecue grill.
No. 3: 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. This also makes for a pretty addition to the table.
No. 4: Fire Starters
You’ll never worry about getting your campfire started when you pack a few of these nifty, absolutely free fire-starters. Just 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.
No. 5: Seashell Bags
Use mesh laundry bags—or even a mesh onion sack—for gathering shells at the beach. They’re strong and 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.
No. 6: Sand-Free Electronics
Stick your smartphone, iPad, CD player, or other electronics inside a zip-close plastic bag and close it up. This will protect your phone from sunscreen, water, sand, and all other outdoor hazards. Now, whenever that device lands in an environment that’s probably not great for phones, it will be safe. The touch screen works well even when it’s in the bag.
No. 7: Feet, Too
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. A quick rubdown will leave all of that sand at the beach and none of it will be in the car or house.
No. 8: Pocket Safe
Sew a coordinating washcloth to a beach towel along three sides and use hook and loop tape fasteners—such as Velcro—to close the fourth. Now, you and your kids have an instant pocket for keys, coins, or suntan lotion.
No. 9: 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. Yes, corks float.
No. 10: Crystal-Free Ice Cream
This isn’t 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 zip-close 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!
No. 11: 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.
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com