9 Summer Organizing Tips: Prep Now for Fun in the Sun

How to organize the whole family for a relaxing summer

A summer break sounds idyllic on paper. But when you have a family to look after, the kids being out of school is anything but a break! Summer organizing on the fly can even be stressful. Packing for travel plans, keeping the kids entertained, and juggling their summer activities can be a lot.

Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare for the summer season so that you can relax and actually enjoy it. In fact, we’ve got 9 summer organizing tips to help you do just that.

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Watch a quick demonstration of how easy it is to make your own custom labels right from your desktop.

1) Summer organizing tip for kids’ closets

Seasonal closet organization helps combat clothes clutter year-round, but summer organizing has a couple extra benefits for mom. First and foremost, we can’t ignore that summer is the perfect time to pack away winter items. In fact, we’ve got some great tips for organizing kids closets year-round that cover the topic.

Secondly, the end of the school year is a great time to take inventory of “school clothes.” Some items may be the right size and condition to pack away for the fall, while others can be relegated to summer activities. Doing so means you don’t have to worry about school clothes getting destroyed during outdoor adventures or messy art projects.

Organize your kids’ summer clothes in clear bins with labels by activity or occasion. Not only does this method make it easy for kids to find the right clothes (without having to ask you), but you’ll also find it much easier to quickly pack for summer trips. For labeling clear bins, we love matte clear labels because they have a “frosted” effect that makes text easy to read without totally blocking out the contents of the bin.

For most medium to large bins. we prefer 2″ x 7″ matte clear labels, like these ones sold by the sheet (94243).

In fact, matte clear labels by the sheet can be ordered in nearly endless size and shape combinations, so you can find the perfect label for your containers.

If you’re not sure what size you need, check out our helpful article to help you choose the right label size.

2) Be ready for anything with an “adventure bag”

An “adventure bag” is simply any backpack, satchel, purse, or belt bag that you can stock with essentials for spur-of-the-moment fun. The best part is that making one doesn’t have to be a summer organizing task just for you. Get the kids involved by having them contribute to the list, gather items scavenger-hunt style, and pick out their own bag or backpack.

Start your adventure bag list with small travel necessities. After the small stuff, move on to tech. Next, focus on beat-the-heat necessities. Don’t forget to include a reusable water bottle, sunblock, sunglasses, a spare swimsuit, sandals, and a hat and/or hair ties.

Then gather items for low-stakes emergencies, such as adhesive bandages and non-perishable snacks. A face mask is also great to have on hand during a trip to try and reduce the chances of everyone getting the same cold if someone starts feeling sick. Finally, end with overnight items, including a toothbrush, basic toiletries, underwear, and a light layer.

No-iron fabric labels are perfect for labeling traveling items, from bags and clothes to shoes and water bottles. Just write on the label, then stick it on!

Our favorite is this combo pack with various sizes and shapes (40700), but there are many more to choose from to suit your needs.

3) Plan a summer reading challenge for kids

A big part of summer organizing for parents is managing to keep kids entertained when they’re not in school. A summer reading challenge is great because you can organize it into several enriching summer activities.

First, have each kid make a list of topics or genres that interest them. If you need a starting point, this summer reading resource from the American Library Association (ALA) is a great resource. Then, plan a library trip to explore topics, check out books, and add to lists. Boom, one fun and enriching activity down!

Next, have your kids design their own bookmarks to track progress. Our free online software and Avery printable tickets make it easy. Let the kids pick out a design to personalize or design their own bookmark from scratch using the in-software tools. Then print on your regular laser or inkjet printer. Or, you can make the bookmarks a quick project instead. Just use our ready-to-print summer reading challenge template.

Finally, get creative with a reward system for your summer reading challenge. Rewards don’t have to be physical. They can be anything from extra device time to choosing the movie or board game for a family game night.

Customize this design online, then print it out yourself on Avery 16154 tickets using a laser or inkjet printer.

Or, finish customizing, then choose “Let Us Print for You” to order custom-printed tickets.

4) Create summer chore charts for kids

In contrast to “adventure bags” and reading lists, sometimes summer organizing means tackling less fun projects. In particular, focus on setting up a system so that kids can clean up after themselves at home.

Even if you already have a solid family cleaning schedule in place, it’s worth updating your kids’ chore charts for summer. If you don’t have a family cleaning plan, check out our article for some great tips to get started. Regardless, summer is a great time for some deep cleaning projects.

Moreover, there are some chores that increase in the summer or need to be added to the household list. For example, cleaning the pool, watering plants, and lunchtime dishes all increase during the hot summer months when kids are out of school.

Use 9″ x 12″ self-adhesive laminating sheets (73601) to protect any 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet. You can print or write out any chart or to-do list you like. Or, use our printable chore chart and print on the 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper or cardstock of your choice.

5) Summer organizing hack for packing lists

Make a reusable list of essentials that you will need no matter where you’re headed. It’s a total game changer, trust us. Once you’ve compiled a list of essentials that you can reuse, all you really have to do is think about the specific clothing that you’ll need for the destination.

It’s a good idea to make one packing list for each family member and update it at the start of each summer. You can laminate them or stick them in sheet protectors and store them in a binder—whatever works for you.

When it’s time to pack, hand out the list and some dry-erase markers, and send the family off to gather the items on their list. Even if you have to pack the luggage yourself or find some of the items, it’s better than leaving it all to mom or dad!

When it’s time to pack, hand out the list and some dry-erase markers, and send the family off to gather the items on their list. Even if you have to pack the luggage yourself or find some of the items, it’s better than leaving it all to mom or dad!

Whether you have a packing list or chore cart, covering the paper with a self-adhesive laminating sheet instantly makes it reusable. Simply write on it with dry-erase markers and wipe it off as needed.

We love this assorted pack of pen-style dry-erase markers (24481) for the bright rainbow of colors, but you can use any dry-erase markers you like!

6) Using your planner for summer organizing

Pre-summer organizing in your planner is awesome to help you prepare for school letting out and how that will change schedules and routines. Not to mention how using all your fun summer planner stickers will put you in a sunny state of mind.

Let’s start with how to layout your planner. Traditionally, summer in North America is considered June to August, or from Memorial Day (in May) to Labor Day (in September). However, in reality, it’s probably more practical to block summer in your planner according to your kids’ summer break.

Once you’ve marked your summer season, get all your trips on the calendar. Next, fill in summer camps, activities, and classes. Then define summer goals and projects. Once you’ve filled in that info, add some summer lists. For example, summer shopping for swimsuits, sunblock, etc. and at-home family activities for when the kids say, “I’m bored.”

Our student planner sticker pack (6784) has tons of super cute summer designs for your planner. There are also many more planner sticker packs to explore, or you can make your own DIY planner stickers.

7) Kids’ travel activities binder for road trips

Creating a travel activity binder is a quick and easy organizing task that will pay dividends all summer long. It’s a low-tech, inexpensive way to ensure that no matter where you go, you have something to entertain the kids. Beach, park, museum, picnic, road trip—you name it, and the binder is battery-free and ready to go.

Begin with a new binder or simply reuse one from the school year. We recommend a binder that’s one to two inches wide so that it’s easy to tuck in the pockets on the back of the seats in your car. Specifically, we’ve found that durable and heavy-duty binders work the best for kids because they hold up to wear and tear the best. Additionally, heavy-duty binders have One Touch boosters that make the binder rings easy to open, which is perfect for tiny hands.

Once you’ve picked out a binder, simply add coloring and activity pages using a hole punch or sheet protectors. We really like these heavy-duty sheet protectors with secure tops (76000) because they protect and store multiple pages. You can also use sheet protectors to make pages reusable with dry-erase markers. Finally, add a binder pencil pouch with a variety of markers, pencils, and crayons.

Our favorite binder for kids travel activities is this white 2-inch heavy-duty view binder (79192). It holds up on the road, and the OneTouch booster is easiest for kids to open and close on their own.

8) Organizing hack for wet and/or sandy gear

Organizing outdoor summer equipment that gets wet or sandy can be super tricky. On the one hand, solid plastic storage bins and anything wicker or cloth are breeding grounds for mold. On the other hand, metal will rust.

Regular old plastic laundry baskets are the answer, and it couldn’t be simpler. The key is that they’re plastic and ventilated. Which makes them perfect for storing pool toys or using as a “catch all” by the backdoor for wet or sandy gear.

Waterproof labels for beach or pool toys may seem pretty obvious, but did you know that our waterproof UltraDuty® GHS chemical labels are engineered to last in the ocean for up to 90 days?

They also resist damage from abrasion (think about all that sand), chemicals, and UV rays; you know they’ll last all summer!

9) Picnic and grilling caddy for dining outdoors

Of course, barbecues and picnics are iconic summer activities. Save yourself some time this summer by organizing all the supplies you need for outdoor dining ahead of time. DIY grilling and picnic caddies are so easy to assemble.

Fill one caddy with grilling tools and the other with non-perishable condiments and utensils. Our waterproof labels can be wiped down with common household cleaners, so your caddies can be used and cleaned all summer long.

For messy items like barbecue and picnic supplies, waterproof labels are a must. Not only do they last longer outside than paper labels, but you can also wipe them clean with household cleaners.

For this project, we used 3-1/3″ x 4″ waterproof labels sold by the package (5524), but you can also order the same labels by the sheet (94215).

You can also order custom-printed waterproof labels. As a matter of fact, ordering custom-printed labels through our Avery WePrint® service is more affordable than you may think.

Getting organized early for summer means more chill vibes for you

To sum up, summer should be fun, not a mad dash to get ready for summer activities. Fortunately, there are a few main organizational areas you can hit in advance of the summer.

First, tackle closet clutter by downsizing and organizing summer clothes so they’re easy to find and pack. Next, get organized and pack for impromptu summer travel by packing “adventure bags” and a travel binder for the kids, and creating a reusable packing checklist for yourself.

While you’re at it, get organized for summer chores with a reusable chore chart for the kids or the whole household. This is also a great time to update your personal planner with everyone’s summer activities and family trips.

Finally, use a simple laundry basket and industrial waterproof labels to organize wet and/or dirty outdoor gear. You can also use waterproof labels to make your own grilling and picnic caddies for outdoor dining supplies.

Looking for more ways to get a head start on summer? Check out our DIY Fourth of July ideas on Pinterest and share your summer projects on Instagram with #averyproducts.

Author: JoJo Mrgich

JoAnn (JoJo) Mrgich is a copywriter and SEO content writer who began her copywriting career in 2011. A musical theater major at the time, JoJo began writing blog articles, product descriptions, and other online content for a dancewear brand. Since then, she has gone on to write in a variety of fields, from essential oils and natural beauty to fashion and swimwear, finally landing at Avery, which she affectionately calls her "forever home." At Avery, JoJo writes content for the Avery blog, covering everything from organization to party planning, as well as contributing to other online content for avery.com. She is also a technical and content writer for Avery Industrial, where she writes in-depth articles that span a wide variety of topics, from safety compliance to 5S lean practices. In her personal life, JoJo is a big fan of fantasy and science-fiction works such as Lord of the Rings and Star Trek (especially the original series). She also loves going to Disneyland and runs a non-profit social organization of 600 members that brings fans of "nerd culture" together for meet-ups and events in Southern California.