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June Mixed Bag: School’s Out

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school's out graduation caps

In the analogy of summer months as weekend days June is Friday. It doesn’t really get good until the back half but you can smell the proximity of persistently sunny skies, water activities and backyard barbecues. Everything is super green from all the spring rain and the flowers are showing off. And as school’s out for the bigs and the littles it’s wise to take a moment and properly transition your home spaces so you are ready for the full-bore summer-ness that’s coming in July. Here’s what I’ve been doing at my house that may apply for you too!

The Kids Are Home

The Powell kids are all home this month

I am in the middle of a lovely 2 weeks of having all three of our kids home. Thanks to the convenience of remote work, our son arrived for a visit shortly after our girls were finishing their semesters. Kids arriving home when school’s out reads like a pros and cons list. On the plus side there is hang out time, the ease of running into each other in the kitchen and having several extra pairs of hands for party prep. On the down side I notice daily how much more work is required with extra bodies in the house. More shopping, more cooking, and filling the dishwasher within hours. And my least-favorite task – reminding everyone repeatedly that the cleaners are coming tomorrow and could you please pick up your room!

Obviously the good outweighs the bad but I’ve learned that laying a few key ground-rules with the kids is effective. Mine are: clean up after yourself in the kitchen, no meals in your room, and be available to pitch in and stop at the store. They are way more amenable now than when they lived here full time! They haven’t yet graduated to unloading the dishwasher (that’s a lie, Brooks did it once) without being asked, but we have been able to mostly maintain the clean and tranquil empty nest feeling. That’s a BIG win!

Drop Zone Defense

Drop zone for keys and sunglasses

If there is one area in the home that helps avoid wasted time when school’s out it’s the Drop Zone. The Drop Zone is the place you put things that you need when you leave the house. Keys, sunglasses, handbags, wallets should have  a home in the Drop Zone. You should locate your drop zone close to your most used entry/exit. In our case it’s near the door to the garage (also a great place to keep caps!) It should be somewhere you can toss keys and glasses when you arrive home. And easily grab them again when you leave.

If you make it really obvious and easy your family will be more likely to follow suit. Drop zones are equally important whether your kids are small (because there is so much involved in leaving the house) or teen + (and sharing cars.) We waste so much time looking for things. ; a drop zone minimizes that waste. The bottom line is a designated, easy to see spot where the things you need to leave the house live. So if you don’t have a good one, get on that!

Party Prep

table full of party food

Since school’s out the party season is revving up! We just had a party to celebrate my husband Jay completing his Master’s Degree and I was reminded of how easy it is to host a crowd when you have your house set up for it. I like to put a lot of effort into my menu. That’s where I spent my energy; planning and cooking in the busy week leading up to the party. I didn’t spend any time planning the serving or cleanup even though we haven’t entertained in a while. That’s due to the systems I set up years ago that are still serving me today.

System is just a fancy word for a group of processes that work in harmony (check out this post for why they make your life easier.) In the case of entertaining you’ll want simple systems for paper products, table linens and serving ware. I’m realizing as I write that this topic deserves it’s own post so consider this a teaser and tune in next week for the full scoop!

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