Turning Your Backyard into a Clutter-Free Oasis

Jessica DeSiato, Founder, Thoughtfully Organized LLC

Focus on quality and order when designing your outdoor spaces.

I like to apply the same organizational principles to outdoor spaces as I do to indoor ones. Just like in playrooms and pantries, everything needs a home.

The importance of cleaning up

Making it easy for kids and family members to put away toys, games, and BBQ equipment is critical for an organized outdoor space. Organize your kids toys in durable plastic containers close to the ground so it's easy for them to reach and store away -- it is important that they know that clean-up is part of play time.

 Outdoor tips

For the outdoor furniture you select, quality is critical as nature will surely test its limits. My favorite material for outdoor furniture is aluminum as it is durable, light, rustproof and you can spray paint it different colors as tastes and styles change.

Don’t hesitate to invest in a high-quality set of furniture — it is better to buy something that will last 10 years instead of something that will look worn down and in need of replacing in two. I even have an aluminum furniture set in my backyard that was purchased by my husband’s grandparents 30 years ago.

For Americans, the Fourth of July is a day of celebration that brings together family and friends. And while it’s satisfying to a see a big turnout at your backyard barbecue or pool party, it’s important for everyone to think about the environmental impact of these events — which often results in a lot of plastic waste, excessive water consumption and higher-than-average energy bills. Here are some tips for how to keep your party sustainable:

1. Say “no” to plastic

Don’t waste plastic. Put out reusable cups, plates and silverware that you can clean and use again for your next party. It can be more work than buying cheap plastic options to discard in the trash, but it makes a huge difference for the environment.

2. Load up the dishwasher

Washing by hand wastes more water than using an energy-efficient dishwasher, so it’s actually more economical and environmentally friendly to invest in a quality appliance.

3. Buy biodegradable

If you really don’t want to do dishes, though, find non-plastic, biodegradable options that are environmentally friendly and will break down on their own when they go into the landfill. There are many biodegradable options available when buying plates, napkins, straws and more.

4. Enjoy the outdoors

Keep the party going outside in the backyard to lower energy costs on your home. When it starts to get dark, bug repellent lights are nice way to keep guests comfortable and bite-free in the summer air.

5. Highlight recycling

If you do have plastic products at your party, make sure they are recyclable and encourage your guests to place them in the appropriate recycling bin.

6. Ditch paper napkins

Choose washable cloth napkins over paper napkins for both a creative and sustainable look. You can even repurpose old fabrics to save money with a DIY option.

7. Send digital invitations

Instead of sending paper invitations, spread the word with an evite or online event page. It will cut down on paper waste before the party and it’s a convenient way to keep track of how many people are attending your shindig.