7 Ways to Use Summer’s Long Days to be Better Prepared

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As the seasons change, there are certain preparations that are best done at specific times. With summer fast approaching, it’s time to make the most of the warm and sunny days that lie ahead. Here are seven ways you can focus on summer preparedness.

image: summer preparedness with golden flowers under hot sun

1. Plant Something!

Can we even talk about summer preparedness without talking about gardens? They’re an obvious choice, but what about shrubs and trees planted in strategic locations? The longest growing days are ahead, and now is the time to think ahead two or three years in your planning for food security, home security, and off-grid cooling options.

Gardening for Food

To get started, I suggest taking my Gardening Self-Assessment. Armed with that valuable info you can consider your next step. When gardening for food you need to:

If you’re planting from seed, check your seed packet for the number of growing days that are required. Is there enough time to grow the plants to harvest before your first frost date? You might need to consider quick growing produce.

You can combat this by purchasing plants from a local nursery, instead of growing from seed, and by extending your harvest by using row covers. Many early spring plants (like cole crops) can be replanted in the late summer and grow during the fall.

For the most successful results, review our master gardener tips here.

Landscaping for Home Security

Landscaping for home security might include:

  • Planting prickly or thorny plants around your property’s perimeter to deter intruders. Examples include cacti, holly bushes, and thorny roses.
  • Using dense shrubs or trees to help create a natural barrier around your property. This can make it more difficult for intruders to access your home.
  • Installing motion sensor lights around your property’s perimeter and at entrances to your home. This can help deter intruders and alert you to any potential threats.
  • Building a fence around your property can be an effective way to deter intruders and provide an added layer of security.

Off-grid Cooling Options

Cooling options that don’t go down when the power goes off could be:

  • Planting shade trees around your home can help keep it cooler during the summer months. This can help reduce the need for air conditioning and lower your energy bills.
  • Building a shade structure, such as a pergola or awning, can provide shade and help keep your home cooler during the summer months.

Ok, some of those aren’t exactly planting something, but they are useful possibilities.

2. De-clutter Something!

I can’t over-emphasize the importance of de-cluttering your living space. We think that things bring us comfort, but the opposite is true. We can get easily overwhelmed by our belongings and their maintenance, and soon they own us!

Have you ever wondered why a stay at a hotel or resort is always so relaxing? One reason is that we’re not surrounded by things we have to clean, dust, arrange, insure, secure, fix, and worry about.

Start with the room or part of the house you use the least. Even if it’s a closet or a set of cupboards, if you rarely access them, chances are their contents have little importance to your day-to-day life.

Here’s a free preview of a great online book to get you going, The Get Organized Answer Book.

3. Clean Stuff!

Since it’s time for spring cleaning anyway, why not begin using all-natural, homemade cleaning products? It’s much safer, easier, and cheaper to stock up on ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice (or lemon powder), dish soap, and baking soda.

A few essential oils, such as tea tree oil or orange blossom, will make your new solutions fragrant and pleasant to use. Here’s some to get you started: Recipes for natural cleaning products.

4. Motivate Someone!

Kids will soon be out of school with lots of spare time on their hands to dig into summer preparedness opportunities. This is the best time of year, then, to introduce them to a new skill or hobby or mindset. If it’s a practical skill that could become important to your family’s preparedness, so much the better.

Even little ones can have their own gardens, with each plant and herb labeled. Older kids can help with canning, pickling, and jelly making. (Pickling cucumbers are in season right about now.)  Think about all the skills you wish you knew.

Now, why can’t your family and friends learn them together?

5. Get Outdoors!

Nothing teaches the importance of self-reliance and outdoor skills quite like a camping trip, even if it’s just spending the night in the backyard! Everyone quickly learns the importance of water, food, shelter, and how to solve problems creatively.

I also believe it’s important to get kids outside and away from constantly being inside. A day hike through a park, a visit to a State or National Park, even a picnic where kids learn they have to pack everything they’ll need and then pack out all their trash, teach important concepts.

6. Unplug something!

I admit this next suggestion isn’t for the faint of heart, but what could your family accomplish if the TV and video games were unplugged for a week? Attempting this feat in summer is easier because nasty weather isn’t keeping everyone cooped up inside. There are many more outdoor opportunities available.

It’s a scary thought because parents have to set the example, but when my family did this for two weeks (the TV was turned off every night), we re-discovered Family Reading Night.

You’ll discover lost hours that can be used to organize, de-clutter, clean, play, plan, read, and have fun!

7. Update something!

This is the season to update all your emergency kits. The Bug Out Bags, the 72 Hour Kits, the Get Home Kit…they all need to be updated twice a year, and now is the time to do it. If you need a refresher, review this post about three layers of preparedness.

Check to make sure that food hasn’t spoiled and that liquids haven’t leaked. Are all the shoes and clothes still the right size? Can you reorganize anything to make the kit a little neater? How about adding an inventory sheet to the Kit, or add to your Survival Mom binder, so you always know what is supposed to be in each kit?

Final Thoughts on Summer Preparedness

Summer is a great time to get better prepared, with longer days and more daylight hours giving you more time to tackle projects and tasks. And summer will be over before you know it. Hard to believe, but every year it seems to get shorter and shorter. Jump into action this week and make the most of these long days that seem to never end.

What would you add to our spring into summer preparedness list?

Originally published May 12, 2017; updated and revised by Team Survival Mom.





15 thoughts on “7 Ways to Use Summer’s Long Days to be Better Prepared”

  1. I am trying out my green thumb for the very first time, seeing if I can keep a tomatoe plant alive. Wish me luck.

  2. Don't forget about planting medicinal herbs!!! I really want to plant chamomile so I can make my own chamomile tea (to help with sleeping), but it's definitely an annual here.

    1. rightwingmom

      I'm working on growing chamomile and mint.
      Combined they make terrific Tummy Mint tea…add a little raw local honey and your ready for upset stomachs.

      1. If you have a yard (as opposed to a manicured lawn), check into the uses of wild-growing clover, plantain, and dandelions. You can explain to your neighbors that the reason you’re no longer cutting the grass is because it’s your new herb garden!

  3. first i like to reed your blog. I will try some more medicinal herbs.we will have a large garden' after who can bye all the food to feed a family any more.

  4. I bought basil plants yesterday-5 for $2.99. Repotted into bigger containers and we will have basil all summer and into the fall. I still have parsley from last spring.

  5. What does this "de-clut-ter" even mean? I don't understand. I am entirely unable to do this. Aaarrgg! Every time I take things out of the house, more comes in. Somehow. I'm not doing this– am I? Apparently, I am. I'm a hopeless case. LOL from the over-stuffed hamster nest.

    1. I faithfully take things to Goodwill on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I’m more faithful about bringing home more than I took!

  6. Yeah, I just pulled half of my squash plants. We’ve got cutworms. The good Lord has blessed me so far with more than enough squashes from other peoples gardens, enough to sustain us for the year. And bonus I just canned 20 quarts of pickles. Actually about 40 I donated half to the local food pantry. Up next, visiting the local U pick to can quarts of tomatoes, salsa, and for the first time spaghetti sauce. My kitchen looks ridiculous. I have a string from a hook in the ceiling to the top of the cabinets. Its strung with lots of different herbs that are drying. Once canning season is over operation clean house will commence. My children’s rooms are so overrun they can’t be cleaned. I’ve got 2 heavy duty shelves on order for the office. These will hold long term food storage, camping supplies, my grandmothers lead crystal. Well, I’ve chatted long enough. My hubby worked all day and is right outside cutting grass. He’ll likely want dinner when he comes in. Is it terrible to be so busy canning/harvesting that there is no room to cook dinner? Sandwiches for the 5th night in a row is ok right? How did pioneer women do it? They cleaned, canned, worked in the yard…

  7. To “guest” who bought the basil – very nice buy! A good companion plant is rosemary. Such a lovely scent. You can season pork and chicken with it, or simply brush the bush with your hand for a lovely refreshing scent. It’s very hardy. And, a pinch of leaves crushed between your thumb and finger and rubbed across your skin will repel mosquitos for a short period.

  8. I am cleaning out sheds, garage and rooms in the house. If I want to be prepared for whatever happens in the futures, the extra stuff has to find a new home and not with me. We inherited items from several family members who passed away and our home is bulging at the seams. My sister and I are cleaning out our homes.

    No, I do not shop at Good Will, I would be temped to drag home stuff I really do not need.

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  10. Also, consider scheduling regular AC maintenance before the season starts to warm up. After all, no one wants to be stuck in a hot, sticky house during a heatwave. Besides, not only is it uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous for young children and elderly family members.

    1. The Survival Mom

      That’s a great tip, Ace. Get ready for hot weather before it’s hot — get ready for cold weather before it’s cold!

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