Over the last few years, the British summers seem to have split themselves in half, with the first half arriving in the spring and the second making an appearance just after the schools have gone back for the autumn term. In the middle, we seem to have developed a ‘rainy season’.
Based on previous experience, I am determined that, this year, my family and I will be ready to embrace the summer whenever it occurs.
To do this means keeping weekend work and jobs around the house to an absolute minimum, leaving us free to hit the beach at the drop of a sunhat, so I have gathered together a few tried and tested tips to help make this happen:
1. Keep on top of the cleaning and tidying: never leave a room without taking something with you that doesn’t belong there; keep baby wipes and tissues in every room so you can quickly and easily clean up after eating or anywhere you see stray dirt; do little cleaning jobs while you are waiting for something else, such as wiping down the kitchen surfaces while waiting for the kettle to boil, or cleaning the rest of the bathroom while the kids are in the bath. Most importantly, encourage everyone to join in!
2. Keep on top of paperwork: instead of putting it all to one side through the week and then needing a whole weekend to sort it all out, deal with paperwork as soon as it enters the house. If you can’t immediately act on those that need attention, make a list and try to do it during your lunch break or make phone calls on your way to and from work (providing you’re not driving!). Also, make sure you have an accessible filing system so you can put things away and find them again easily without having to spend the weekend looking for them!
3. Combine garden jobs with a day in the sun. Unless it is your hobby, having to spend a dry day gardening when you would rather be elsewhere can be annoying. But if it must be done, why not make a day of it, complete with stylish floppy hat, gardening gloves, ice-cold lemonade, radio and kids playing in the background. Start early while it’s not too hot, then you can sit back for a lazy afternoon spent admiring the results of your efforts from the comfort of your sun lounger.
4. Put DIY jobs on hold for rainy days. If you really can’t wait for the autumn or winter to get that wallpaper stripped, at least confine it to one day at a time by tidying everything away at the end of the day, so that if tomorrow turns out to be a scorcher, you can leave it ‘til next weekend to finish off without having to pick your way around piles of tools and debris until you get round to finishing the job.
5. Be prepared: keep a bag of ‘day-out’ essentials packed and ready to go, or keep a list of everything you will need so you can get it ready in record time if you wake up to a sunny weekend.
6. Be flexible: be willing to go where the wind (or sun) takes you, and don’t put extra pressure on by attempting to throw together a four-course picnic at the last minute. Keep the essentials like picnic blanket and suncream to hand, throw in some fruit or raisins for easy snacking, then grab some pre-packed sandwiches and drinks from the petrol station on the way – easy!