Every season there’s a little somethin’ somethin’ we need to do around our homes to get it ready for the upcoming months. In the fall we rake leaves and put away our summer essentials. In the winter we close up the house and tell everybody to shut the door, we don’t live in a barn and you're letting all the heat out. In spring, we get to cleaning. In the summer, well, we open our windows and dust off our patio furniture, fire up our grills and rev up the lawn mowers.
Summer Hacks For Your Home & Garden
This handy list of hacks for helping you care for your home and garden in summer is a useful guide for some of the more typical things that we tend to encounter each summer season. Let me know what you find most helpful!
Porch & Patio
⚫Got a dirty grill? Make a paste of equal parts baking soda and water. Apply paste to your (cold) grill using a wire brush. Wipe clean, and dry with a cloth.
⚫Use colored toothpicks in your steaks to identify rare, medium and well done steaks. Want to impress your guests? Use the frilly kind!
⚫Use cooking spray on your grill before cooking (and dear God, before you light that fire). After, when the grill is cool to the touch, scrub the grill with a wire brush. The spray should allow any residue to come off easily.
⚫Sprinkle about a 1” layer of kitty litter around the bottom of your grill to prevent any embers from igniting. I can't guarantee your cat won't dookie in it, but it is a good way to prevent a lawn fire.
⚫Hate the ear-bleeding noise your patio chairs make as they scrape across the concrete? Cut a 2” slit in 4 tennis balls and put one ball on the bottom of each chair leg. Voila, noise eliminated. This also works to prevent the legs of a chair from falling through deck slats as well.
⚫Have dirt build up on your outdoor plastic furniture? To clean it, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, wipe clean and let dry. Afterward, spray Armour All on it and wipe clean with a dry cloth. The Armour All gives it a nice shine and will prevent dirt from sticking to it.
⚫To deodorize a stinky cooler, fill with 1 gallon of water and 3/4th cup liquid bleach; rinse. To make it smell better, saturate a small cloth with vanilla or other essential oil and wipe down the inside.
⚫To naturally remove stains from clear plastic containers, rub lemon juice over the inside and let sit in the sun for the day. The lemon juice and sun should bleach out the stains.
⚫Clean out your big Thermos bottle by filling with water and dropping in 4-5 Alka-Seltzer tabs. Let sit for about an hour, then rinse.
⚫For a nontoxic way to kill ants, pour 1 teaspoon dish washing liquid into a 16 oz. spray bottle. Fill with water and spray the suckers, then wipe away.
Your Yard & Landscape
⚫Here’s a fun one if you have squirrels eating your birdseed: Grease the pole to the birdhouse with shortening, cooking oil or petroleum jelly. Or you can secure a slinky to the bottom of the feeder and let it hang down the pole. A squirrel is no match for slinkies and oil.
⚫Got trash pandas? Sprinkle a few tablespoons of epsom salt and/or black pepper around your garden and trash cans. Apparently raccoons don’t like to season their garbage before they eat it.
⚫To eliminate weeds and grass growing between the cracks in your walkways, pour undiluted laundry bleach over it. If you are worried about pets and children eating your bleached weeds, you can also do the same with white vinegar. Try pouring salt directly on them as well, as it’s a natural corrosive.
⚫To fill bare patches in the lawn, place moist tea bags on the spot and sprinkle with grass seed. The wet tea provides moisture and nutrients and the tea bag itself will naturally degrade.
⚫Have a cat? Have moles? Pour used kitty litter into mole, gopher or groundhog tunnels. Once they get a whiff of their natural enemy, they are outtie.
Around The House
⚫For ants that are an issue inside the house, draw a thick line of chalk around windows and doors outside your home. Apparently they know not to cross the line. You can do the same with baby powder (which I hear also works well for keeping birds from pooping on things, since they don’t like the feel of the powder on their little bird feet).
⚫To keep ants out of your pets’ food bowls, sprink a little ground cinnamon around them. Much like chalk, ants don’t like cinnamon.
⚫Wet sneakers are bound to happen in the summer time. Insert the nozzle of a hair dryer into the sneakers and blow warm air into them for five minutes. You can also insert crumpled newspaper into your kicks and let sit overnight. The newsprint should absorb moisture from the shoes. In the morning, remove the crumpled newspaper.
⚫Stinky sneakers? Take clean knee-his and fill the feet with clean kitty litter, tie with a knot, and place inside sneakers. The litter will absorb moisture and odors. Who knew kitty litter could do so much?
⚫Prolong the life of those freshly cut flowers by adding either 2 Alka Seltzer tabs or 1 teaspoon baking soda to your vase along with a quart of water.
⚫If you’re going on vacation and you put your houseplants outside, before you bring them back in do the following: Add a drop of dishwashing liquid to a trigger spray bottle and fill with water; shake well. Spray the leaves and soil of the plants well to kill any insects.
⚫To label your golf balls, apply a smidge of colorful nail polish on them so you can easily identify them out in the rough.
⚫To clean a golf club, rub the shaft and head gently (I said golf club, geez) with a dry steel wool pad. To clean a golf ball, use a pink eraser. Both the steel wool pad and the eraser pack easily in your golf bag, too.
⚫To break in a new baseball mitt, try a little witchcraft: rub the center of the glove with foaming shave cream. Put a baseball in the mitt, fold the glove around it, secure with rubber bands, and tuck the glove under a mattress overnight. You can also use corn oil instead of shaving cream.
⚫No WD40 handy? You can also lubricate a bicycle chain with cooking spray (this also works on squeaky hinges too, btdubs).
Do you have any life hacks, tips, tricks, ideas or suggestions that you use in the summer? I'd love to know--let me know in the comments below!