Preparing an organized “summer basket”

As summer approaches, we’re getting ready to spend the season at home with the kids and occasionally welcoming out-of-town guests. It’s also time to round up the accoutrements that allow us to enjoy nice weather and time spent outdoors. Sunscreen, beach towels, snorkels, and so on get a lot of use between June and August, which means these items also have the opportunity to become misplaced or just plain lost. Rather than have this stuff lying around like a bunch of clutter, we’ve devised a simple solution. We place a very big basket right next to the back door of our house — a large, wicker basket. Inside we store all sorts of summer goodies:

  • Sunscreen
  • Snorkels
  • Swim masks
  • Towels
  • Sandals
  • Bug spray
  • and a few dollars for the ice cream truck (it is summer after all)

It all works pretty well, but it can be improved. This summer I want to make some changes to our “summer basket.” Let me know what you think.

First, it is convenient that all of the items are in one place instead of spread all over the house. However, once you get a certain amount of stuff in the basket, finding what you want requires a bit of searching around. My solution for this problem takes inspiration from my hobby: board games.

Many of the games I love come with a lot of components and little pieces, which I keep organized with foam core inserts. While you can buy fancy wooden ones like this one from Broken Token, I prefer to make my own out of foam core. For the summer basket, I think four large pieces will divide the contents into specific categories very nicely.

Next, I want to make some “go bags,” one for each activity (beach, park, car, etc.). It will save time when departing — just grab the one bag that you need. I’m considering sorting go bags by child. That way, we won’t have to go on a hunt for our son’s swim mask or our daughter’s goggles, etc. But I’m not sold on that idea, sorting by activity might be most effective.

Now I’ll ask you, dear readers. Do you have a similar setup in place and, if so, how do you keep it all sorted? Happy summer!

3 Comments for “Preparing an organized “summer basket””

  1. posted by Marie on

    I give each child an inexpensive beach bag. I use a luggage tag as a “bag tag.” The bag tag has their name and my name and phone number, along with a list of what the contents should be : towel, sunscreen, goggles, money, snacks, water bottle , etc. Now they have their own bag they can grab quickly whether going to the pool with friends or family. They know where to put their stuff and what to check for before they leave house. Works great! We do the same for sports bags, etc.

  2. posted by Ann on

    I like the idea of having a bag for swimming. Having a bag like that in the car would lend itself to an impromptu stop for swimming if the situation presents itself while traveling or doing errands.

    Last year we had a bag that had sunscreen, mosquito repellent, wet wipes, anti-bacterial hand soap, anti-itch medicine (in case of a bug bite), Bandaids, and other items that are often needed when spending time outside.

  3. posted by Angie on

    yes, we have a summer “beach/pool” bag as well. It is a big tote bag, I keep there sunscreen, googles, pool toys, towels, swim suits, couple of plastic bags for wet clothes, sun hats, sometimes even change of underwear or extra t-shirts. It gets very easy when we decide to go to the beach or pool to just grab this bag and go. Whenever we come back and wash/dry towels and swim suits I put them right back in the bag. We have separate plastic tote bag for beach toys, it has holes so it is easy to wash/shake the sand out of it. I also have baskets for winter hats, winter gloves and scarves. I have two closets, one near the entrance we use, another near the entrance we do not use. I cycle summer/winter clothes and bags between those closets.

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