(image via here)
The get-it-done list for July... straight out of the "gentle reminders" section of my 5 years of Martha Stewart Living magazines. Started late? Check out the other months here.
- Before you leave for a vacation, make arrangements for someone to mow your lawn (if you'll be away more than a week) and tend to pets and houseplants. Stow valuables in a safe. Ask the post office to hold your mail; it will stop delivery for up to thirty days. Also have newspapers held. Lock doors and windows, and dispose of perishable foods. And be sure you have enough nonperishables on hand for the night of your return.
- Dust blinds weekly to avoid a more difficult cleaning job later. Flatten the slats and go over each side with a soft cloth or feather duster. Once or twice a year, wipe wooden blinds with a few drops of gentile wood cleaner on a nearly dry sponge. Aluminum blinds can be washed outdoors: Place them on an old sheet on a slanted surface, and scrub with water and a noncorrosive cleaner. Use a hose to rinse well, then dry the blinds thoroughly with a towel to prevent rust.
- Raise the lawn mower blade height 1/2 inch in hot, dry weather. This encourages turf grass to root deeper and shades the soil, protecting the crown (where the stem and root meet) from heat stress.
- Just in case. Additional time spent outdoors can mean more scrapes and bruises. Prepare for minor injuries by assembling a first aid kit that includes assorted bandages, sterile gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, and pain relievers.
- Vacation photos. During your summer travels, photograph things that could provide ideas for future decorating projects. You may find inspiration in an interesting piece of furniture you see in a hotel lobby, or a color you discover in a seashell or other natural object.
- Make sure your house number is clearly visibly from the street, especially if there are first-time visitors on your guest list. A colorful bow fastened to the address plate is often enough to draw the eye.
- Keep cool. The best way to cool your house is to create cross ventilation. Open windows on opposite sides of a room or floor, and, to increase air speed, make sure that one window is open at the top and the other cracked at the bottom.
- Lights out. When entertaining outdoors at night, turn off interior lights. You'll not only save energy but also discourage insects from lingering around doors, where they can easily enter as guests come and go.