As I’m writing this, the UK is embarking upon yet another heatwave, and I keep lamenting over the fact we never installed that AC last year. It might be a bit too late now, I bet everyone is booked through to the end of the year.
Summer used to be my favourite season – a UK summer, that is. I am not one for extreme temperatures, and could never handle a high summer in France or Portugal, but I used to love the summers we used to get.
Today’s summers on the other hand are too hot, too stuffy and too damp. But there are those occasional days of absolute bliss, sweater and sandal weather, garden barbecues, family fun.
Before we (hopefully, fingers crossed), dive right back into the glories of summer, our homes need a bit of tending to. Here’s my checklist of the 11 tasks to get through to ensure your home is summer-ready.
Change Your AC Filter
If you have been clever enough to install an AC already, make sure the filter is clean (ideally change it) before we hit those very high temperatures again. Also make sure to wipe both the internal and external machinery, clear any dust, and make sure everything is in perfect working order.
The guys who’ve installed it for you will most likely also be able to do the maintenance too, unless of course you want to DIY it. Trust the professionals for these kinds of jobs, I always say, but it’s up to you of course.
Get a New Fan
Like most Brits I expect, we bring out the fan as soon as temperatures hit 24 degrees. Celsius, not Fahrenheit. A fan can literally be the difference between a good day and a very sweaty day, and having two is ideal.
Let’s face it, you’ll most likely need one for the bedroom and one for the living room. You can move it around of course, but save yourself the trouble. More importantly, different family members will want to cool down in different rooms at the same time, so save yourself the argument as well, and get two fans.
I’d recommend having one standing fan (we like this Schallen model, but it was also the only one we liked in stock at the time of purchase) and one smaller desk fan. This one is the one I liked, but it wasn’t actually in stock, so we purchased another one I don’t really enjoy to be honest – it’s not nearly powerful enough.
If you are already the proud owner of a fan or two, make sure to give them a good clean before you use them again. The simplest of tricks is to grab your hair dryer and take the fan outside. If you live in a flat, do it above the bathtub or shower, it will make a mess that is easier to clean.
Also Get a Dehumidifier
We tend to associate dehumidifiers with getting rid of mould and damp, but they are also very handy in the summer, when the air gets damp and sticky and when you would do anything for a fresh breeze. Not that it will generate a rush of air, but it will make the air more enjoyable to breathe.
I’d personally go for a smaller model, one you can move from room to room when you need to, and that is easy to clean. You can of course install larger ones into specific rooms, especially if you need to use them all year round.
Find a Way to Keep the Pests Out
If you plan on keeping your doors and windows frequently open, you should be prepared for some unwanted guests. Bees, mosquitos and bugs of a crawling disposition will all occasionally find their way into your home, unless you put up a net to keep them out.
When you do find a bee in the house, try to capture it with a net and release it again. In fact, try to spare the lives of all the bugs that happen to wander in, if you can.
In order to make your home as non-attractive to pests as possible, make sure you don’t leave any food lying about, get rid of all crumbs and titbits, and keep your surfaces and floors tidy at all times. This will minimise the chance of a complete infestation, but you won’t be able to prevent the occasional bug.
Clean Your Gutters
Now is also the perfect time to get rid of any debris in your gutter, if you’ve not handled the task back in the spring. You want to make sure to get it done before the fall, but do find a mild day for it, as you don’t want to get a heat stroke either.
Remove any leaves and other debris by hand first, and then pour a drain unclogger down the pipes, to make sure there is nothing piling up in there.
You should also make sure all gutters are in a decent condition, and make any necessary repairs.
Get Rid of Any Leftover Leaves
If you’ve not had time or willpower to rake up all of the leaves in your front and back gardens, now is the time to do so. You want to give all of your plants and grass a chance to flourish in the summer, so a couple of hours in the garden should ensure everything is nice and tidy.
Compost your leaves of course, as well as any of the weeds you may pull out, and any plants that may have died since the last time you spruced up the garden.
Rethink Your Garden Furniture
Whether you have a garden or a patio, or just a simple terrace, you want to be able to spend plenty of time out there when the weather is lovely. Consider the furniture you already own, and whether you may need to invest in a new piece.
I would advise investing in a sun lounger, if you have the space for it. You may think it’s silly, but trust me, you’ll love having it.
Chairs and a table are of course also a welcome addition, especially if you are doing a lot of grilling outdoors, and have the room for a lot of friends to come over.
A parasol or a gazebo that will protect you from the worst of the sun can be a good investment too, especially if it also comes with sides you can add for the wintertime. Hopefully we have seen our last lockdown, but you never do know.
Put Your Winter Items Away
Now is also the perfect time to store away all of your winter essentials, from clothing to decor. Even a simple swap in your storage units will help you reach your summer outfits more quickly, and you can at the same time take stock of everything you own.
The same goes for your shoes, bags and coats. Make sure you clean every item before you put it away, so it can be ready to wear as soon as the temperatures drop again.
The throws and some of your pillow cases can also be swapped out for something lighter, and you can put away the cinnamon candles and exchange them for something more fresh.
Move Your Plants into the Shade
Make sure your plants are not too exposed to the rays. As the days get longer and we orbit around the sun, what was once shade has perhaps become a scorching desert.
Regularly check on the sun’s position relative to your window sills or patio, and shift your pots as required. You can bring them in during the day and leave them out at night, if that’s what they need.
Be Prepared to Entertain
Summer also equals friends, so you should be prepared to entertain unexpected guests at a moment’s notice. I personally always have a lot of recyclable cups and plates ready, as well as bamboo straws and cutlery for those summer outdoor meals.
A quick recipe you can easily whip up also comes in very handy, as does a supply of ice.
You should also have some towels ready, a guest soap, and I also like to store some socks and clean t-shirts that I can lend someone if they need them.
Stock up on the Essentials
I’d also advise stocking up on some summer items, as well as on the items you know you will need, just to save yourself the trouble of lugging them from the shops if you can’t get a delivery slot.
For me, this means getting my laundry detergent, my dish soap and my fabric softener stocked up. We also buy large amounts of drinks, usually a lot of orange juice, zero-calorie Sprite, Pepsi Max and huge quantities of peach tea for making iced tea. We do have a basement where we store all of this, so consider your space before you make a huge order.
I also like to stock up on individual ice creams, freeze a lot of fruit for smoothies, and have plenty of crisps on the go.
Looking for the Summer
Let’s end with a Chris Rea line, shall we? I find it goes well with the Billy Idol in the title.
The eyes take on a certain gaze
And leave behind the springtime days
Go looking for the summer