If only getting ready for those afternoons at the beach, park, pool, or even your own backyard were as relaxing as the lazy days themselves. But heading outside doesn't have to be an organizational ordeal. With a little prep and our easy cleanup tips, you'll be coming and going at the drop of a (cute, wide-brimmed) hat.
Here are some strategies to plan for (and quickly recover from) excursions:
Stash these must-haves in your summer tote so you can head to the shore or park on (next to) no notice:
1. Spillproof sunscreen Go for the spray kind or, if it tends to dribble, seal lotion in a zip-seal bag. (Skip SPF-soaked wipes, which are hard to apply evenly)
Related: 10 Necessities for the Perfect Beach Lunch
2. An empty makeup bag It'll hold your wallet and cell phone so you can quickly go mobile - like when the ice cream truck beckons - without hauling a purse
3. Extra undies Someone always forgets them
4. A carabiner hook Use it to clip your keys to the bag strap (no
Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping
If only getting ready for those afternoons at the beach, park, pool, or even your own backyard were as relaxing as the lazy days themselves. But heading outside doesn't have to be an organizational ordeal. With a little prep and our easy cleanup tips, you'll be coming and going at the drop of a (cute, wide-brimmed) hat.Read More »from 9 Packing Tips for Outdoor Summer Fun
Go ahead, take the plunge - these figure-fixing styles streamline, support, conceal, and contour to boost your body confidence all summer long.Read More »from 5 Tricks for Finding a Slimming Swimsuit
Trick #1: Flirty Flourishes
Yes, the full-coverage, forever-classic one-piece can still make waves. Just check out the flirty flourishes on this universally flattering trio, including, from left, a cleavage-accentuating adjustable neckline, bust-booster pads, and waist-whittling side shirring. A few tips to help you find the right cut for your body type: a high cut leg gives you a leaner line; a low-dipping scoop neck balances out a broader bottom half; and a crisp graphic print draws the eye away from full hips or a belly bulge.
From left: Magenta one-piece, $76, Talbots. Blue one-piece, $126--$128, Aerin Rose. Polka dot one-piece, $88, Christina.
Related: Flattering, Figure-Fixing Swimsuits for Every Body Type
Trick #2: Pintuck Pleats
Don't draw a line in the sand against a two-piece until you've tried this forgiving fool-the-eye combo.
Made of strong-yet-supple plastic fibers, all-weather rugs can brave the elements and are a cinch to clean (hello, hose!). Use one to pull together the look of a porch - or even a high-traffic indoor zone - in a hurry.Read More »from 5 Great Outdoor Rugs
Style-wise, this vibrant, verdant tree-motif rug (4'6" by 6'6") by Company C suits both classic and contemporary decor. Meaning? It'll flatter an array of spaces. $240
Related: Front Yard Landscaping Ideas
Inspired by traditional Tibetan patterns, Home Infatuation's reversible rug (5'11" by 8'10") blends fiery orange and red with subdued gray and purple. $108
A chunky chain print gives this CSN Rugs floor covering (3'6" by 5'6") a decidedly mod air, while anyone can love its neutral slate-and-brown palette. $119
Related: Outdoor Entertaining Essentials
Beachy bands of blue, green, brown, and cream make this rug (4' by 6') from Dash & Albert just the right thing to add breezy flair to a sitting area or busy entryway. $138
With airline baggage fees, confusing security measures, and grumpy passengers, air travel is getting trickier every year. As a professional organizer and frequent traveler, I know these organizing strategies will help you enjoy your trip as much as possible - and get there in a good mood!
- Think through your trip. Consider each activity and decide what you'll wear now instead of throwing several pieces in and hoping for the best. Assume you will get at least two wearings from each pair of pants or skirt, and choose a basic color scheme. Wear your bulkiest shoes on the flight, so you can save room in your suitcase. Related: Best Ways to Pack for a Trip
- Start with the right suitcase. Make sure carry-on bags meet size regulations to avoid disappointment, hassle, and expense. You are allowed one large bag, which must fit in the overhead bin, and one smaller bag, which must fit completely under the seat in front of you, as well as a laptop - though hopefully you won't be
In my family, I was the chubby child between a skinny brother and sister who nicknamed me "the Blimp." "Sturdy" was my dad's name for my physique, which was round and squat and showed no signs of shedding baby fat once I grew, as the pediatrician had promised. At school, I was the shortest and second-plumpest person in the fourth grade, a fact made painfully clear by our group class picture.
The day it came in its semi-sheer wax envelope, tucked among my grinning mug shots, I took it home and showed my dad as he sipped his martini.
"Hmm," he said, peering hard through his glasses in the lamplight. "What do you think?"
I sagged under the weight of his attention. In a low voice I admitted, "I look fat."
He frowned. He was the parent I most resembled, moody and mercurial, sarcastic and judgmental. My sweet-natured mom was my comforter. But at times like this, when I wanted more than reassurance, my dad, the ex-Marine, could be brilliant.
"What we need," heRead More »from A Father-Daughter Diet Success Story
Her intense new job is in L.A., but her family's in North Carolina. Here, how Angie Harmon made the hard choices that ensure her marriage is rock solid, her kids are grounded, and her values are firmly in place.Read More »from Angie Harmon on Faith and Family Values
On leaving L.A.:
"I'm happy that we moved. One day, my kids are going to say, 'Remember when we sat in the yard [in North Carolina] and fed the geese?' I'm so proud that I can give them these memories. And I'm more grounded and centered in North Carolina because it's a slower way of life. We go bike riding or go to the ice cream parlor."
Related: Read the full interview with Angie Harmon
"My biggest insecurity is that my personality is too much, and as I get older, it's just getting bigger," she acknowledges. "I was scared that the women in North Carolina might not like me. I get so excited about things - maybe too excited. I definitely come on strong. So I tried to rein myself in."
On being a working mother:
"When I feel like I'm not doing what I am
- Good Housekeeping | Shine Food – Thu, Jun 9, 2011 6:16 PM EDT
In our grilling cookbook, we offer the ultimate recipes for the basics of grilling - veggies, ribs, chicken, and the perfect Father's Day dish: burgers.Read More »from How to Make Deliciously Decadent Bacon-Wrapped Burgers
All the recipes for burgers are straightforward and simple, but the deliciously decadent bacon-wrapped cheeseburger was the only one that had a slightly unique preparation.
Here are 5 helpful tips for making these tasty burgers:
1) Parcook the Bacon: Microwaving the bacon for a couple of minutes is enough to render out some of the fat, which will minimize flare-ups that result in a decidedly untasty burnt flavor. Since it's only partially cooked, the bacon slices remain pliable enough to wrap around the burger. Related: Tasty Burger Recipes
2) X Marks the Spot: Criss cross two slices of bacon and lay your perfectly formed patties in the center of the X. As you lift the ends of the bacon slices over the sides of the patty you'll notice they don't meet perfectly, but that's okay. Place the wrapped patty with the ends of the bacon down
As the most delicate of delicates, bras require special care to keep their shape. But let's be reasonable here: Who has the time to hand-wash their bras after every wearing? Here are a few tips for keeping the convenience of machine washing, without stretching and distorting any of your undergarments.
- When you're separating your clothes for laundry day, hook the back of each bra, so the hooks don't snag any fabric.
Related: Finding the Best T-Shirt Bra
- Be sure to wash your bras in a lingerie bag. This should minimize stress on the garment during the wash cycle. Follow the instructions on the label to make sure that you've selected the correct water temperature for the cycle, too.
- Be sure to use a mild detergent when you wash bras. (Our Cleaning Products Lab recommends a detergent like Woolite that's designed for delicate fabrics.) Stronger detergents can deteriorate the fabric (so your bras will look less pretty the more that you wash them) and degrade the Lycra or
We often recommend that, when organizing a room, you create a very accessible space for something to be used regularly, and then make a "backstock" area for the spares of that item, stored somewhere less accessible. For example, you might have your daily toothpaste and floss in your top bathroom drawer; extra toothpaste, floss and toothbrushes can be kept in a cabinet in a bin labeled "Dental."
Related: Organizing Help You Can Really Use
A very workable rule-of-thumb for most situations is to keep one item in current use and one as a spare. When you open up the spare, put that item on your shopping list and buy another spare. Any more than that is probably too much for most situations, unless the item is hard to come by.
Related: Get Organized to Make Summer a Breeze!
Some people's idea of a backstock gets out of hand. Here are some considerations to help you think through your needs:
- How much do you use this item? Daily, weekly, monthly, or annually?
- Does one person use this,
cell phonesElectronics are big-ticket items, so it makes sense to do everything you can to make them last as long as possible. Here are my tips for extending the lifespan of cellphones:
- Don't charge your battery any longer than it takes to reach a full charge. Otherwise, you risk overheating and a reduction in power capacity.
- If you have a spare battery, alternate it regularly with the one that's in your phone. Leaving it unused will reduce its life.
- If you have to replace the battery, buy one that's authorized by the manufacturer of your phone.
- Set your screen so that it turns off after a period of inactivity
- Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you don't need them.
- Avoid using your phone in poor reception areas.
- Turn your phone off overnight or when you won't be using it for a long period of time.
- If your mobile drops in the pool (or toilet!), take the