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Summer Cleaning

Maybe you waited a little too long for spring cleaning, or maybe the warm weather and outdoor activities set back all your progress. Either way, use these tips to try to conquer the clutter and survive the summer. Clean out your fridge [caption id="attachment_57" align="alignnone" width="225"] https://www.flickr.com/photos/jacopast/[/caption] When you are piling up the meats, plates and condiments for a backyard barbecue, take stock of what you are bringing outside, and what you are leaving. Can't remember how old that bottle of mustard is, and whether it is from this summer or the one before? Ditch it and pick up a fresh bottle, you and your guests' taste buds will thank you. Did you buy that jar of relish for a family member who was in town, but no one in your house will touch the stuff? Ditch it. Check the fridge and freezer for items that have seen better days, odds are that you'll never use that frozen chicken breast from 2014. Make sure your tools are up for the job. At the end of last summer, maybe you left out your barbecuing tools, or just a stray spatula or pair of tongs. Depending on where you live, the fall and winter might have left your tools warped, rusted or broken. Now it's time to treat yourself to some new tools. This also applies to any other gear that may have spent the winter outside and has been rendered unusable. If your grill has succumbed to rust, it might be time to get a new one. [caption id="attachment_61" align="alignnone" width="150"] https://www.flickr.com/photos/gspiccies/[/caption] In the same vein, look around your kitchen and house for things that may have seen better days. Is there Tupperware or other food storage containers in your fridge or cabinet that might have taken on some funky odors? Are your other containers a jumbled mess of missing lids and mismatched pieces? A simple refresh of your food storage containers can help you become more efficient and safer when it comes to your leftovers and packed lunches Prepare for mosquitoes and flying pests While not technically summer cleaning, everyone knows the warm weather brings an increase in flying pests. Whether they are out for your food or your blood, use these tips to try and keep them away. The easiest way to get rid of mosquitoes is to eliminate the places they can breed. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in and around standing water, the bugs need only a small pool or puddle (around 6 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch deep at a minimum). Look for and drain any flower pots, decorative buckets or dishes, and even tarps that might cover your grill or yard items; if the tarp is loose, water can pool in the folds. Using essential oils, or burning a candle loaded with essential oils, is a time-tested method to keep insects away. Look for citronella or lemon eucalyptus oils, available as an oil, a spray or in candle form. If you find that mosquitoes and flies are becoming an unbearable nuisance, a lot of experts are offering up a simple solution: an electric fan. Mosquitoes and flies are not particularly strong fliers, so a ceiling fan or rotating fan should be able to disrupt them on their path to you or your food. The fans also help dissipate your human odors and the carbon dioxide that you breathe out, two ways mosquitoes know where you are. Finally, that fan will provide a welcome breeze to get you through even the hottest days.