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April 16, 2012

Getting Organized for Summer


Summer is coming! We’ve definitely been talking about it here at work as this will be my first summer working at simplify 101. Between Aby and Jay’s two kids and my two kids, there are a lot of summer activities, plans and vacation schedules to figure out. But when my daughters’ friend happily told me there are 23 days of school left before summer vacation, I hyperventilated. OK, no, not really. But I definitely got that super-panicked feeling because I have a whole lot to figure out and not a lot of time left to do it in!


What I’d really like to do is sit Aby down and just ask her all my questions. After all, she’s done this dance of balancing her business and spending summer with the kids at home for years, so I know she’s got some wisdom to share!


What are you wondering about in terms of getting organized for the summer? If you could use some help figuring out how to structure your summer, now’s your chance to ask Aby. Whether it’s about organizing your summer schedule, making travel plans, identifying your summer priorities, keeping the kiddos occupied, or more, just post your questions in the comments below. Aby will try to answer as many as possible in upcoming blog posts! 


Happy Organizing!

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Petra from NL

No question about balancing summer and work.
No kids here so we just keep working ;-).
I would love tips on organizing a little garden closet. We have a bigger garage but not with direct access from the garden. We are planning on getting a smallish closet type of thingie to keep gardening tools we use often, lanterns etc.
Thanks Aby!


Thanks, Petra! Check out this post I did on organizing our tool shed. Then, let me know what other questions you have. Thanks for posting a question. :)
~ Aby


No Kids, but new puppy here. This is my first puppy ever and my 2nd dog. When I married my husband he came with a grown dog. While he was good he did have a few issues regarding training at time. Seems so simple in comparison.

But anyway around here we will be trying to have fun outdoors while puppy learns the ropes. After having him for a week now he likes the back yard and wants to explore while on his leash, but I fear a visit or 2 with some cacti will not go well for either of us once he is off leash. How do I limit this? How do I organize back yard to make it puppy fun so he doesn't hear the word "NO" all the time?

Puppies are like babies everything must be tested via the mouth.. Weeds, rocks, you name it. Going to be fun but he is darn cute.

Yvette Yasui

My son attends day camp for about 4 weeks of the summer; we do a family trip for about 3 weeks of the summer.

My question is, I'd love to get some projects done while my son is in summer camp (9-3 like school hours). It seems like a "bonus" time that I should use for projects like:

house projects like hiring painters or roofers or landscapers;
cleaning out attic;
doing a big clean-up of our office (we have a small business)

Course most of that does not sound fun. How do I organize/prioritize my time to be more productive during the summer when I'm really just dreaming of lying on the beach!

Rhonda H

I'm with Yvette. Planning family time and work time while the kiddos are occupied, and working a vaca or two in there. I guess I'd better get my calendar and a notepad first!


We are grandparents who have permanent guardianship of two grandchildren, a boy, 10, and a girl, 7. We would like to groom them toward home schooling in middle school and would like to take this summer to start a study/reward schedule/chart to intersperse chores, reading, computer practice and short trips to the museum, water park, library, etc. These kids are both ADHD and need a very structured schedule. Do you have any ideas for creating or downloading a chart and/or organizing materials for the scheduled activities?


I am 22 years old and finally graduating from college this year! I am nervous about the prospect about finally moving home for good this summer. I have always stored my school things during the summer so to cause as little anxiety as possible that comes from packing and unpacking every summer.

Now that I am finally moving home I have no idea how to incorporate my school things. I moved in with my fiance last summer into the house that he has lived in for the past three years.

My question is first what is the best method for going about unpacking all of my things and how do I incorporate it in with my fiance's things. I want to do this in a timely manner but honestly have no idea where to even start. Help please lol!


To the grandparent that has custody of the two grandchildren. You might go in to on the internet and read about his program. There was a nice program on this subject on 60 minutes a couple of weeks ago and I found it to be very interesting and helpful. Some schools are now using this young man's programs because he is able to teach in a way that the children understand. Also, I have a daughter in law that uses the Kumon Learning Centers in her area with her children's homework. It seems to keep them at their grade level.


We have two active girls (9 & 11). I started working this year after 11 yrs staying at home. We can hardly wait for weekends and holidays (to me it is time to get things done that didn't get done during the week). My children are convinced that I do not understand the meaning of the words "holiday" or "vacation" because we are always cleaning or sorting...BORING! They do each have a weekly chore schedule and are a big help. I would love to just have a fun summer with my kids for a change but the guilt of trying to finish unpacking after 2 yrs bothers me. It seems we don't have enough time to finish unpacking (and the realization of how much we stored in our garage in our last home...eek! We don't have a garage or the built in cupboards that we used to have.) I'm stuck in a cycle of unpacking, sorting, not knowing where to put things and NO FUN! =( There is no balance in our family right now.


Summer terrifies me. I have 3 kids (13, 11,6). My 11 year old is ADHD and contribues to a chaotic household. My ADD makes me very unorganized, unstructured and a poor planner. I need help with a schedule, chore charts or any advice. We have never had a schedule and chores are done by only ME! Before my 6 year old went to kindergarden this year, I pictured my house to be totally organized and clean. The year is almost up but I was never able to get ahead. I feel like I am drowning. It causes problems in my marriage too. I know my husband would love to come home and feel relaxed but he just can't.


This will be my first summer at home with a child, my daughter will be 7-9 months this summer (I am a teacher and also have my own online business). Next year I will be working part time in order to grow my business and I am very excited. So, when summer starts my job as a full time mommy and entrepreneur is truly kicking off.

My questions relating to the above are:
-What are some tips for working from home with children - Aby, how do you divy up your time... Spend some daytime with them and work more at night after they are in bed, etc?
-With summer, comes cooking 3 meals at home. What are some meal prep / fast snacks and meals for summer on the go that we could have on hand?
-Do you recommend having a home office or working "around the house" so you can multitask at home with kids and be where they are playing.
-Summer cleaning routine- What are ways you keep a house where everyone is home all the time? Clean one time each day? Clean as you go? Same with dishes, do them as you go, or spend one lump sum of time doing the dishes each day. Which is more time effective.
Ok-Hopefully that is enough to ponder. Thanks for doing this, I am excited to see all the responses.


Hi Aby - Great post! Here is my dilemma about summer. I have an 8 year old boy and a 3 year old girl and would love your advice on how to gently create household routines with them that keep things organized here but still allow them to feel the joy of long carefree days. I hate the idea of a rigid to-do list but also find in the summers that the house can easily look like a bomb went off and routine chores can get back-logged fast. Thanks for your help!

Jen Pugh

I have the typical working mom's dilemma: love summer schedules and the ease in the routine but feel guilt about being at the office while they will be home. The will be home with Grandma while I work. I want them to have a fun and productive summer but don't want to overwhelm my mother-in-law with my agenda of what I think that should look like while I am at work. Would love to hear other thoughts / recommendations.


I love having my children at home in the summer holidays and enjoying time together, but I usually find by the time they go back to school, I spend the first week or so trying to get the house back into some sort of order! How can I prevent that this summer? I need some sort of Summer Schedule for basic house maintenance, so I can enjoy both my children and a clean house! Thanks!

Holley Jacobs

I have a son with disabilities and due to him getting into trouble for truancy issues; I have had to register him for ALL KINDS of different programs for the summer. As I completed his "calendar" that helps him see what is coming, I realized "When am I going to find time for me to work on my education?" I am an online student and this summer fills so packed jam full of things for my child; short of NEVER SLEEPING; I don't know how to get everything done. HELP PLEASE!! Thanks so much for ANY and ALL advice :)


As a stay at home mom of preschoolers, summer does not really bring much change other than the loss of three preschool mornings. I elarned last summer that instead of no plans, I or I sould say my preschool daughters need some scheduled activities to provide some stimulation other than waht I can offer and so they can have a little break form each other. On a differnt note, my cousin, a high school vocational instructor, struggles with summer freedom as she is so structured during the school year. She actually experiences some anxiety about not having a plan and loose boundaries in each day. I offered up some ideas on making a fun daily chart for her peschooler to be in charge of to give them some structure wihtin each day, but can be flexible as well. the idea is that mom can have a visual reference of a daily routine and feel ther's a purpose in her day, but freedom to change it around- a privelage of summer.


My challenge with my children (3 boys 12,9,6 and I girl 2) is getting them to continue with the systems I put in place. I make places for things, organize game closet and video games, their closets and dressers, sports equipment all to look like I never did a thing, and find games and clothes just thrown in the closets. I struggle with not getting angry about it. How did I get them to follow through. I just feel like I am on a mouse wheel going and going and not getting anywhere. I am in desperate need for help!!


like Jessica ~ this will be my first summer with baby daughter (she'll be 8-12 months) ~ and I really want to enjoy it to the fullest before other life demands come back into my life (like work, nursery education etc). Right now I can be 100% focused on her and homelife.

my image of summer is idylic ~ long hot sunny days. but I live in England and guess what... RAIN! so I want to get some ideas on how to create the summer when having to stay indoors due to weather.


I take one day a week off to do things with my daughter and while we have long kept an idea list, I have found that if I don't pencil those ideas onto calendar dates, they don't seem to happen. We actually do much more when activities are on the calendar, even when they have to be moved around. There is also an air of anticipation knowing this activity is coming rather than just 'what should we do today?'

Angela Dikes

I work from home and will have a 7 year old who will be with me at home a lot this summer ... He says he just wants to play Legos all summer...I'm guessing the fu. Of that will wear off eventually so I'd love ideas for entertainment while I work ...and oh yeah ... He hates arts and crafts" :(

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