Housekeeping: Your July Checklist for a Smooth-running Home
Easy tips and tricks to keep your home and garden ticking over so you can enjoy the sun
Clearing out and defrosting the freezer is never a fun job, but it’s slightly more enjoyable – not to mention quicker – if the weather’s hot. Transfer all your frozen items into a cool bag before turning the freezer off, then speed things along safely by putting bowls of hot water on each shelf to help loosen up the ice.
The appeal of a refreshing dip under the shower over a soak in the bath can be quite an enticement at the end of a humid day and, as such, the humble shower head can endure more than its fair share of use over the summer months.
Keep yours running to perfection by unscrewing the shower head and soaking it overnight in a bowl of white vinegar. If it doesn’t unscrew easily, work around it by placing the vinegar in a plastic bag and tying it securely over the shower head, allowing the vinegar to cut through the limescale.
Get expert advice on choosing the right shower
We often pack away heavy throws in exchange for more lightweight alternatives in the summer months, but have you thought about doing the same with your towels?
Consider lightening up your bathroom by swapping bulky bath sheets for lightweight fouta or hammam towels. Available in an array of colours, they can work within any bathroom scheme, and pack down small enough to easily transport into the garden or park for a spot of impromptu sunbathing, too.
It’s boring but true that the boiler always breaks down on the coldest of winter mornings. Attempt to avoid the inevitable by making sure yours has a service while the weather’s warm and the central heating is off.
If your engineer encounters any problems and you have to make do without hot water for a few days, it’ll be much easier to get by at this time of year.
As the weather hots up, keeping hydrated becomes even more important, though when you’re busy or rushing around it can be easy to overlook getting enough glasses of water down you.
Make things easier – and give yourself a pretty visual prompt, too – by ensuring you always have a jug or dispenser of chilled water prepared at all times. Fill it with sliced lemons, limes and oranges to add a refreshing citrus kick.
A bountiful garden relies on a good supply of water. Get around any hosepipe bans while doing your bit for the environment by installing a water butt to make use of otherwise wasted water.
Forget the ubiquitous green plastic ones, however, and shop around for a design more suited to your own garden style. From rustic stone models to clean-lined designs in vibrant hues, there are plenty out there to suit any aesthetic.
A vase blooming with jubilant hydrangeas makes for a simple yet stunning centrepiece, but they can quickly wilt in warmer weather. If you like to keep cut hydrangeas around the house during the summer, make sure you have a water spray bottle close by to spritz their water-loving heads throughout the day. They should last that little bit longer with the additional TLC.
Learn more about displaying fresh-cut seasonal flowers
The warmer days are the perfect time to wash or air any heavyweight items that only require the occasional clean, such as duvets, flatweave rugs, cushion inners and sofa loose covers. A sunny day is key here, to allow these bulky pieces to dry thoroughly out in the fresh air.
Also consider setting up a bucket at the same time and hand-washing all those delicate items that have been knocking around waiting for you to deal with them for ages – or is that just me?
One of the best things about summer is enjoying alfresco dinners, but even on the warmest of days, things can turn a little chilly after nightfall. Ensure family and friends don’t get driven inside by a temperature drop by setting up a basket of blankets by your back door, within easy reach of the table, to enable you to extend your time outdoors once the sun’s gone down.
To get the most out of the long summer evenings, try setting up a hammock in a cosy corner of the garden. Tying it between two trees or posts is the most obvious fixing solution, but if you don’t have either, opt for a model that comes with a stand.
Look for a design in a pretty fabric and dress it with coordinating or contrasting cushions to create a relaxing retreat, as well as adding an exciting splash of colour.
During July, your outdoor space can often become your main living area. Ensure it’s cosy and accommodating whatever the weather by investing in a fire pit. Not only does it provide extra warmth on any chilly evenings, it also gives your space a communal heart.
Look out for a dual-use model that can also work as a drinks chiller if you swap the coals for an integrated central ice bucket, and ensure you always have a supply of marshmallows in the cupboard for those all-important toasting sessions!
How will you be making the most of your home and garden this month? Share your tips in the Comments below.