Coastal Summers: How To Keep Sand Out of the House and Keep Cool in Summer | Apartment Therapy

One Simple Trick: How To Keep Sand Out of the House | Apartment Therapy Chicago.

One Simple Trick: How To Keep Sand Out of the House


It seems like an inevitable part of summer — at some point, sand will get tracked inside. Then it will find its gritty way absolutely everywhere. When a friend recently shared her aunt’s secret for getting sand off everyone before they come inside, I knew I had to try it for myself.


Her aunt’s trick is to make pouches out of flannel, fill them with cornstarch, and use them to wipe down sandy legs and hands. She keeps one in her car for beach trips and another by her backdoor for trips to the park and sandbox.

Since I remembered the tip right before my friends came in from the beach, I improvised quickly, cutting out the pockets of an old, stained work shirt, filling them with cornstarch, and rebuttoning. They worked perfectly and the sand brushed right off.

If you only have a piece of fabric, rather than a pocket, don’t worry — it’s a quick sewing job. Just cut out a square of flannel, sew up the sides, twist the top and tie it off with some ribbon so you can refill later. It works best if you use a single layer of flannel, so the cornstarch can come through easily. Of course, craftier people can also make refillable drawstring pouches like this one from Skip to My Lou.

Either way, it’s a lot better than hauling out the broom or vacuum after every beach trip.

Images: Kathleen Luttschyn

8 Tips For A Cool Night’s Sleep (Without the AC!)

After a collection of heat-wave-days getting a good night’s sleep can be almost impossible. Even if it cools down in the evenings, some homes remain infected with a lingering warmth, making dream time a bit of a nightmare. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up to help me cope, but please share your own —for the summer has only just begun!

Clearly, there is no A/C in my humble apartment, so scratch that from the list. What I have done to beat the heat is the following:

  1. Use 100% cotton bedding, preferably the crisp vintage kind.
    2. • Wear loose cotton PJs, or none at all.
    3. • Take a quick cool shower before bed.
    4. • Fill a bucket of cold water to dip my (clean) feet into periodically throughout the night (and to water the garden with in the morning).
    5. • Wet washcloths or hand towels with cold water and drape them over the hot spots. (Does anyone else’s lower back seem to emit an inordinate amount of heat?) Recharge the cloths in that bedside bucket of water.
    6. • Keep widows open and unobstructed. I will sacrifice the privacy of curtains for max air flow on the hottest nights.
    7. • Bring on the fans. I actually subbed out an overhead light in the bedroom for a simple stainless steel fan. As hard as it is to navigate the room in the PM, I certainly do not regret the decision!
    8. • Floor-fan fort: Okay, this is a bit ridiculous, but on one of the hottest days last year we rigged a floor fan at the foot of the bed and clothes-pegged the sheet to the top of it, creating a billowing bedding wind-tunnel. Not entirely practical, though the cats rather enjoyed this approach!

Related Post: 9 Tricks To Beat the Heat Without Turning Up the A/C
(Image: Tina & Lizzy Sawdon for Apartment Therapy)


Tricks to Beat the Heat (Without Turning Up the AC)


We’re coming up on summer, and if you’re not getting out of town, chances are you’ll find yourself fighting a battle with the heat between now and the fall. Maybe you’re like us and you don’t have air conditioning, maybe you’re trying not to rack up big bills, or maybe you’re trying to be more environmentally-friendly. Here are some tricks we’ve accumulated through years of grinning and bearing (baring) it.

  1. Keep the curtains or the shutters closed: Keeping the sun from streaming directly in helps keep your place a little cooler.
  2. Hang a wet sheet in front of the window: when the air passes through the damp cloth, the moisture cools it off.
  3. In the same vein, try a bowl of ice in front of a fan: Let the cool air blow over you.
  4. Turn your fan around to face out: And blow the hot air out of the house. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it so it spins in the opposite direction and blows the hot air up and out.
  5. Arm yourself with a spray bottle filled with chilled water: Douse yourself liberally. As the water evaporates, it cools you down. You can also try plunging your hands into a bowl of ice water.
  6. Turn off (and maybe even unplug) your appliances: Your computer, your tv, your chargers — all give off heat, as do your dishwasher and your clothes dryer. Try drying your dishes and clothes the old fashioned way (air drying and line drying). You’ll save energy and keep the house cooler.
  7. Switch to CFLs: not only are they good for the environment because they use less electricity than conventional bulbs but the bulbs don’t get nearly as hot.
  8. If you have a white noise machine, try rain or waves: The cool sounds will help you feel cooler.
  9. Strip your house of its rugs, throws and knick-knacks: Try filling it with plants instead. It’s a visual trick that, like the aural trick above, works to fool your mind; bare surfaces look cooler which in turn makes you feel cooler.

(Image: Flickr member Ctd 2005 licensed under Creative Commons License. Originally published 2009-07-08 – CB)

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